Archive for July, 2010

What People Are Saying About OpenStack and What They Should Be Saying

I am a bit irritated at some of the criticism and, to be honest, some of the praise the OpenStack project has received.

Lets deal with the criticism first:

Vaporware: I have seen the project called vaporware in several forums.  This doesn’t seem to be an appropriate use of the term, and smacks of FUD, but may just be ignorance or unfamiliarity with Launchpad, where we host our code.  Some links to help you get to things.

Nothing is usable: I’ve seen this too, usually followed by a statement implying that it might take years, for it to be production ready.  The OpenStack Objectstore is already in production at Rackspace holding many dozens of petabytes across multiple data centers.  Please try to install it and give us feedback.  Now, the compute side is a slightly different story.  I believe that NASA has a version of this runnig in production, but development is moving so quickly, unless you want to help us develop or test it, I recommend that you wait until our first release in October.  Some examples of the quick development of OpenStack Compute’s first two weeks:

This is just a marketing/PR move: I can say that this is not true for Rackspace.  I can’t know the motivations of everyone involved, but I was a part of the team that convinced Rackspace to do it and none of the technical or business people involved mentioned PR or marketing as a reason to do this. This was not an easy decision and needed to be explained to the organization from top to bottom.  We told them the same thing we are telling everyone else.  “It is the right thing to do”.  Then we made the following guarantee: Rackspace will sell just as much software next year as it sold last year: None.

OpenStack will not kill open core: OpenStack is a project, not an idea or a philosophy.  We have no plans to take on any way of thinking.  We only got involved in this debate because I feel very strongly about it and wanted to make sure that OpenStack’s position was understood.  We are strong supporters of open source and the ideals it stands for. We feel like open core, as it is most commonly implemented, is a bastardization of those ideals, however, OpenStack is not Don Quixote and we don’t feel like charging at windmills.  Our real goal is to level the playing field in the IaaS ecosystem and no longer allow people to act like creating a IaaS fabric is some kind of super secret magic.  Let’s do it once, give it to everyone, and move on to more interesting things.

Now the Praise:

OpenStack will kill open core: Please see above.  Killing or not killing open core is not one of our goals, however, not being open core is one of our goals.

OpenStack takes on Vmware/MS/Amazon: We are not doing this as a tactical move against any specific company, but because it should be done and there is no reason not to do it.  Our mission statement from the wiki:

The OpenStack Open Source Cloud Mission: to produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

This is as big as the beginning of Linux or Apache: We are all excited, but please don’t set us up to disappoint.  I really hope we do something great, and both of these projects inspire me, but let’s remember how long it took for these projects to become the giants that they are.  I don’t want to down play what we are trying to do, but let’s do it first and let the results speak for themselves.

What would I like for people to say?

Well the truth, good and bad and with out hype or malice. Here are some examples:

The bad (well not so bad, but do you blame me?):

OpenStack needs to organize quickly: We are getting a huge response and we need to make sure we can handle the influx of developers and code.  The most important things to me is that we maintain quality and that we deliver when we promise.  If we can do those things we will be successful.

OpenStack needs to  publish it’s governance: We do.  This is valid criticism.  We are working on it based on feedback from the community. Once it is done, it needs to be approved by quite a few parties.

OpenStack sucks because it should have feature a,b, and c: Should we?  Well write it if you can or pop into #openstack on freenode and ask us to write it.

The good (or what we would like to hear):

Wow this is great code: Thanks.  We do the best we can.

We really like the open way you are running OpenStack: Thanks, we feel that to be successful we need to have an open collaborative process.

I want to help: We would love your help.  Can’t code?  Come help with community or write documentation.