OpenStack 2016 – What To Expect?

I am not a big fan of annual predictions or self-applauding score keeping (though I admit there is some kick :)). This blog post summarizes highlights of 2015 and lists what I expect to happen in 2016 in OpenStack land.

OpenStack 2015 Highlights

defacto Private Cloud

OpenStack continued its momentum as a private cloud platform, establishing itself as the defacto private cloud platform (mostly due to lack of viable alternatives and also due its own merits). It also saw increased user adoption across many verticals. Even major analyst firms showed some love to OpenStack (Gartner, ForresterIDC).

Containers

OpenStack community embraced the container phenomenon well – what appeared to be a major threat in 2014 was well embraced and adopted by OpenStack in 2015. OpenStack community was able to turn the conversation from “Why OpenStack when Containers” to “How to enable Containers with OpenStack“. Check out OpenStack project Magnum to enable Docker and Kubernetes with OpenStack.

Enterprise & NFV

OpenStack Community focused on Enterprise and Telco needs with dedicated working groups. 2015 saw OpenStack gaining lot of mind-share and traction among enterprise customers. Efforts such as Product Working Group made a lot of progress towards incorporating customer feedback in to features. It also brought in lot of clarity in to product road map which was well welcomed by enterprise customers. Interestingly, this year also saw OpenStack as the platform of choice for NFV innovations.

Consolidation

Though consolidation among OpenStack players has started in 2014, 2015 saw further more consolidation with few successful exits (and one unfortunate exit). Past year also saw larger players (like Red Hat, HP, IBM) taking dominance within OpenStack eco-system over startups. All the while, we also saw raise of some startups within OpenStack eco-systems (such as Platform9, ZeroStack, AppFormix etc.).

I haven’t included some efforts such as DefCore and Big Tent that happened/ materialized within OpenStack eco-system last year. While they add the value they aimed to provide, in my POV, they don’t provide the value that OpenStack customers care the most.  I haven’t included them here.

 OpenStack 2016 – what to expect?

End of Distro Wars

This year will see the end of distro wars among OpenStack vendors. It is becoming increasingly difficult for commercial distributions to provide value without straying far away from OpenStack trunk and openness. Also, lot of other factors such as support, reliability of the vendor, existing investments etc. weigh more than just the feature set alone while picking an OpenStack distribution.  Due to these reasons, I am expecting to see more efforts from the vendors towards OpenStack trunk than to their proprietary distribution.

Considering these, along with the raise in awareness about hosted private cloud services/ platforms, I also expect at least one major OpenStack vendor (if not more) to discontinue their commercial distribution this year.

Adoptions

Though we have been hearing this from 2014, this year will be the year of adoption for OpenStack. This is because waiting is over for many that played ‘wait and watch’ game and are ready. It is also to be noted that whole bunch of POCs that happened in the last two years will be moving to production (unless they had been catastrophic). Don’t forget the love from major analyst firms either, which continue to influence decision makers among enterprises. Finally, I also see this year as a make-or-break year for OpenStack.

 Containers, take 3

With Magnum, OpenStack has a good answer to enable Containers. While it cannot match container orchestration engines such as Kubernetes in orchestrating thousands of containers rapidly, OpenStack enables one thing exceptionally well – Infrastructure as Code. It also has an established eco-system of solutions and tools. This along with ‘Container Cliff‘ of involved in moving Containers from POCs (where the current hype is) to production, will see OpenStack being increasingly used along with Containers.

NFV

With major Telcos such as ATT, Verizon, DT investing heavily on OpenStack for their NFV/ VNF needs, expect to see more Telcos using OpenStack for NFV/ VNF workloads this year.

Few other things I would like to mention are the shift in messaging towards hybrid clouds from almost every OpenStack vendor and the on-going debates on being everything to everyone. I expect these trends to continue.

Overall, 2016 is going to be an exciting year for OpenStack. Please let me know of your comments or would like to chat more. For those who plan to attend the Austin Summit, let me know if you would like to meet me there.

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