OSCON 2012: My Head’s in the Clouds

OSCON 2012

Last week, I traveled to beautiful, funky Portland, Oregon for OSCON 2012, O’Reilly Media’s annual gathering of open source geeks and gurus.  They involved a record crowd — roughly 3,000 registrants.  I felt quite at home, and enjoyed seeing a few old friends who straddle the worlds of open standards and open source. Most of my time was invested in talking to people about “The Cloud” and OpenStack.  Read on  …

Slides from many of the presentations are on the conference site.  I would recommend you to watch Tim O’Reilly’s keynote, which talked about his belief in working on “stuff that matters”, the clothesline paradox, and the incredibly under-appreciated contribution of open source to the world’s economy.  When you think about Linux, Apache Web servers, WorldPress, Firefox, Drupal, etc., and the businesses that these gems help to drive, it is less hard to fathom.  Tim recently co-commissioned and co-authored a paper on the subject: “Economic Impact of Open Source on Small Business“, which you should read.

My focus was on the state and future of cloud computing.  Going back to my days architecting and deploying a global nuclear test monitoring system, I’ve been a fan of leveraging networks to separate clients from compute/storage-intensive services, and a believer in the advantage this has in terms of experimentation, implementation, evolution, load scaling, cost and robustness.   The cloud has come a long way since then.  Amazon Web Services is the clear market leader in the public cloud space, with a head start of many years (10?). VMware, Citrix (CloudStack), Eucalyptus, and recently Google and Microsoft, are investing substantially in developing public and/or private cloud capabilities.

OpenStack was the buzz at OSCON.  The meeting hall for OpenStack Day was over-flowing.  The recent infographic (see below) suggests that the interest in OpenStack is more than just open source buzz.  It is on a main stream fast track.

Major players (e.g., AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing, Yahoo! and tens of others) are putting their weight behind OpenStack and the new OpenStack Foundation, and are hacking code for, and providing services based on, the open source effort.  You can join the new Foundation too!  Most importantly, OpenStack has a large, growing and enthusiastic cadre of top-calibre developers working under a fair and open process to code and feed releases.  Can’t do this without the people.  Their next release, Folsom, is scheduled for the fall (see slide 8 of Lew Tucker’s OSCON slides) and will provide users with a significant step forward in terms of capability and deployability.

I look forward to keeping an eye on this dynamic space

Rackspace® — Happy 2nd Birthday, OpenStack! A Look At Two Years Of Growth [Infographic]
Rackspace® — Happy 2nd Birthday, OpenStack! A Look At Two Years Of Growth [Infographic]

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