OpenStack Now Powers 75 Public Clouds Worldwide

While a lot of attention is paid to the big three public cloud providers, OpenStack is continuing to find a broad global audience.

OpenStack public clouds

BERLIN—While there is a lot of talk about large public cloud providers and other open-source cloud efforts in the media and elsewhere, the OpenStack Foundation continues to move forward, albeit with less hype than it once was able to muster.

On Nov. 13, the OpenStack Foundation announced that it is rebranding its OpenStack Summit event, which is running here Nov. 13-15, to the Open Infrastructure Summit, as part of the open-source organization’s continued movement to look beyond just its own core open-source cloud effort.

On the other hand, even as the OpenStack Foundation looks beyond its namesake project for the future, the present reality is that OpenStack is quietly powering a lot of cloud infrastructure. Although OpenStack is not thought of among the big three public cloud providers—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure—it does power more than 75 other public cloud providers worldwide. At the OpenStack Summit, multiple operators and vendors including Huawei, Deutsche Telekom and OVH detailed how they are scaling increasingly larger cloud platforms, all powered by OpenStack.

OpenStack is an open-source effort that got started in 2011 as a joint effort between NASA and Rackspace. The organization has expanded over the last seven years and now benefits from the participation of more than 100,000 individual members and 675 participating organizations.

In addition to the core OpenStack cloud platform, the OpenStack Foundation now hosts four pilot projects as part of its broader open-source infrastructure mission. The four pilot projects are Kata Containers, Zuul project management, Airship deployment and StarlingX edge compute projects.

OpenStack Growth

Mohammed Naser, vice chair of the OpenStack Technical Committee, said during the keynote that OpenStack is currently running more than 10 million compute cores around the world. He commented that contributions to OpenStack come from all over the world and not just the U.S. Naser also noted that 60 percent of OpenStack deployments are between 100 and 1,000 nodes and 31 percent are under 100 nodes.

"We know the deployment tooling is making it easier to deploy systems at that scale," he said.

Naser also said that OpenStack has gone beyond its roots as just being about virtual machines (VMs) and bare metal machines. The OpenStack Magnum project enables operators to deploy Kubernetes clusters on top of OpenStack, he said. Kubernetes is an increasingly popular open-source container orchestration platform.

"Over the OpenStack Rocky release cycle, Magnum became a fully certified Kubernetes installer by the CNCF [Cloud Native Computing Foundation], which means that it deploys a fully compliant Kubernetes cluster that is fully integrated with the OpenStack cloud that it is running on top of," Naser said. 

Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, said in his keynote that there were 70,000 changes over the past year in the core OpenStack platform. OpenStack has had two releases in 2018, including the recent OpenStack Rocky milestone that became generally available on Aug. 30. 

"Just to give you an idea of the velocity, that's 182 changes every single day and that includes weekends and holidays," Bryce said.

In a press conference following the keynotes, Mark Collier, chief operating officer of the OpenStack Foundation, said OpenStack is one of the top three open-source projects globally in terms of code contributions, behind the Linux kernel and the Chromium web browser.

"It dawned on me that all three of those projects [Linux, Chromium and OpenStack] are not at the peak of the hype cycle," Collier said. "It's the nature of hype cycles that they are forward looking and that they will eventually achieve something, but the three tools that lead contributions are all widely adopted and things that people rely on for production. So, it's interesting to look at the trend lines versus the headlines."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.