OpenStack Summit Atlanta was attended by more than 4,500 people, nearly 100 times the roughly 50 who gathered in a small room four years ago in Austin for the first summit. This is a clear illustration that OpenStack has taken a strong hold in the cloud world. At the Summit, thousands of developers, operators and users got together for five days to discuss and share the incredible strides made possible in their world due to OpenStack. Here are some of the themes that I heard over and over again during conversations and presentations:
- Speed and agility equal success. Users feel empowered by OpenStack because of the agility and flexibility it brings to their business. They are impatient to innovate and OpenStack provides them a means to get to market faster. Several users at the conference said that their top requirement is the need to develop, test and deploy their apps faster. The cloud provides them the agility to innovate swiftly; but users aren’t drawn to just any cloud. They choose OpenStack because they feel empowered to be a part of a community where they can participate, influence and ultimately drive it forward.
- OpenStack has found inroads in the enterprises. OpenStack Summit Atlanta brought together a solid blend of business users and contributors. Large enterprises said they understand the value and want to enable their developers by giving them an agile platform on which to innovate. As Chris Launey, Director of Cloud Services and Architecture from Walt Disney put it, shadow IT actually helps determine the gaps in our environment. Banks, educational institutions and many others have either adopted OpenStack or are actively considering deploying OpenStack in their environments. The fast penetration of OpenStack is further proved by the need for storage vendors like HDS and NetApp to have OpenStack-enabled drivers in their storage boxes. This is because their customers are constantly seeking ways to have their dedicated infrastructure interact with a private cloud OpenStack deployment. It was refreshing to see many organizations acknowledge that OpenStack empowers their businesses to be more nimble.
- There is a lot of buzz about how to interoperate across different environments. Many attendees at OpenStack Summit Atlanta said they are looking for a hybrid solution that bridges private clouds and public clouds. There is a lot of interest among users for creating that interoperable environment, but not many have successfully implemented it. Panelists and presenters all talked about how important it is to think about this across the lifecycle starting from when you architect your application to when you deploy it. A deep understanding of how the components fit in, how to create a secure network and how to define policies and rules to communicate across the environments are some of the important tenets to make interoperability a success.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to drive greater OpenStack adoption. And there are some critical projects underway that will fuel it. I am excited about how far this community has come since it first started and how many users across different organizations are benefiting from OpenStack.
Check out the rest of our coverage from OpenStack Summit Atlanta.