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Right on schedule, the OpenStack Foundation last week announced that the latest release (Havana) has gone live.  Check out the press release here.



As usual the marketing folks at the OpenStack Foundation have done a stellar job packaging the news and lining up some early reviews.  Particularly useful is the slideshare presentation, and the demo video on the Havana web page.  If you want to net out the key new features and milestones represented by the new release – this is must-read material.



Early press commentary includes:



If you’ve been following my Standards Watch blogs about OpenStack over the past year and a half -A Big Year for OpenStack; and NetApp and OpenStack, and OpenStack Ready for Deployment? - you’ll know how impressed I am by the momentum of this initiative.  Of particular note are:

  • the health, robustness and continued growth of the developer community;
  • the ability of the initiative to maintain a predictable 6-month code release cadence while increasing QA coverage;
  • the relentless expansion of the feature set that has taken OpenStack from a science experiment to an infrastructure suitable for production deployment in such a short period of time; and
  • the growing commitment of end-users to the platform.


The Havana release showed significant improvement in each of these areas:

  • Community (Over 910 contributors from 145; a 76% increase from the previous release)
  • Release quality (more than 20,000 patches merged during in the Havana development cycle)
  • Feature set (nearly 400 new features across the platform)
  • User base (users in more than 72 countries and 358 cities, with more users contributing to the code base, including CERN, Comcast, Intel IT, NeCTAR, PayPal,      Shutterstock and Workday)



In the past year I’ve become convinced that OpenStack is the most high-impact open source initiative since the emergence of Linux.  The code base and feature set are rapidly moving from adequate to sophisticated, and the list of companies committing to OpenStack for their cloud infrastructure is becoming quite impressive.  I’m hoping to hear much more on the latest user stories at the upcoming OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong (November 5-8).



It goes without saying that NetApp views OpenStack as important to our agenda – that’s why we’ve been a regular contributor in the OpenStack community, and why we signed up as a Gold member when the OpenStack Foundation was formed. Check out our booth at the OpenStack Summit for more information on our history of contributions, and our plans for future releases.




This week, the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) announced that NetApp has joined their Governing Board – see press release here.


NetApp has been a member of the OVA, an industry consortium committed to fostering the adoption of Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) as an open virtualization alternative, since 2011.  Upgrading our participation in the OVA to governing member level marks an increase in our commitment to the KVM ecosystem.  This blog attempts to put that commitment into context.


NetApp recognised the importance of server virtualization environments more than 5 years ago. We also recognised that scalable virtualization solutions require considerations in the area of storage, and made investments in the close integration of the leading server virtualization solutions with NetApp storage.  This led to closer and more in-depth partnership activity with the vendors of those solutions – principally VMware and Microsoft.  In the case of open source virtualization solutions, integration means participating in the upstream code development communities, and working with the downstream open source distributors.


Consequently, we became an active participant in, an open source community focused on creating the software components required to support enterprise-class KVM-based virtualization. We have had a NetApp representative (Jon Benedict, aka Captain KVM) on the Governing Board for several years. We have also been working closely with Red Hat around their virtualization solutions.


As the virtualization market has expanded and matured we have increasingly encountered customers looking for an open source alternative for building cloud solutions. KVM solutions are becoming increasingly popular in these areas. For example, a recent survey of companies deploying OpenStack indicates that 71% favour KVM as their hypervisor of choice. So now is the right time for NetApp to join the OVA founding members (HP, Intel, IBM and Red Hat), and help drive adoption of KVM, grow the ecosystem of third-party solutions around KVM, and increase overall awareness and understanding of KVM.


NetApp’s commitment in OVA is reflected in the experience and seniority of our representatives in the organization.  Dimitrios Dovas, Senior Director Cloud Solutions, is NetApp’s representative on the OVA Board, and Denise Ridolfo, Manager Industry Association Marketing, will be our representative on the OVA marketing committee.


Last week I was in Santa Clara, CA for the Flash Memory Summit. 


I’ve been attending this event for the past few years (see my Flash Memory Summit Highlights blog from August 2010), and have always been impressed by the energy and excitement of the presenters and attendees and the breadth of topics, but this year was better than ever. 


Over four days, the conference managed to pack in 180 presentations and more than 14 panels across 7 simultaneous tracks.  In addition there were 14 keynotes, and a pre-conference day of tutorials.  So, an incredibly comprehensive body of information was presented.  Check out the program and the session descriptions for details.


Attendance at the event has been growing rapidly from year to year.  This year attendance was around 4500 - up more than 30% over last year. That makes it significantly bigger than any other industry storage event.


Each year at the event there is considerable focus on the problems with NAND Flash – reliability, cost and limited headroom take advantage of smaller process geometries.  But each year we hear about new innovations around NAND that mitigate those issues.  In 2010 it was the concept eMLC; this year it was 3-D NAND.  In fact, my favorite presentation from the entire conference was the keynote by ES Jung, EVP at Samsung Electronics and General Manager of their Semiconductor R&D Center, announcing Samsung’s V-NAND Flash.  The technology clearly has legs.


Standards were well represented in the agenda, with a standards track and standards topics creeping into several other tracks.  Much of the discussion was around the various standards activities focused on PCIe-attached storage, and next-generation programming models for storage class memory. NVMexpress, the INCITS T10 work on SCSI Express, and the SNIA NVM Programming initiative all featured in multiple presentations.  Each of these standards is moving quickly, and fortunately the industry is now starting to view them less as conflicting efforts, but more as a portfolio of standards all of which are needed to drive a healthy ecosystem.


A couple of things really struck me this year.  The first is that the entire industry seems to have really grasped that non-volatile solid state memory is the biggest architectural discontinuity the industry has ever seen.  In 2010, I did a tutorial on the topic at this event and half the audience was clearly skeptical.  That’s no longer the case.


The other thing that struck me was that every vendor now has a comprehensive story and vision about the technology.  In many cases it’s more story than shipping product, but every keynote and many panel sessions featured vendors explaining how broadly they were embracing the technology.  Consequently I expect the pace of new product releases in this space to greatly accelerate in the course of the next 12 months.


Bottom line – for me, attending the show was time well spent. If you were not able to be there, but there’s something you want to know about solid state storage, I’d recommend you download the proceedings … it’s a veritable treasure trove of current information.


I’ve written three Standards Watch blogs on the topic of OpenStack over the past year: A Big Year for OpenStack; NetApp and OpenStack, and OpenStack – Ready for Deployment? This is my fourth. For me this represents an unusually large amount of copy on a single topic, reflecting the impact (both potential and real) that I feel the initiative is having on the deployment of private and public clouds.




Tomorrow is OpenStack’s 3rd birthday.  See the OpenStack Foundation’s announcement on the birthday celebrations for details.  And my blog post today is simply to wish the initiative a happy 3rd birthday.  The project has come a long way in 3 years, and every member of the developer community is to be congratulated for maintaining their commitment, pace of development and enthusiasm.




NetApp is proud to be an OpenStack Foundation Gold member and an active contributor to the community.




In each of my previous posts I’ve tried to capture my impression on the state of the initiative, with a little detail about the latest functionality and deployment readiness.  Fortunately the OpenStack Foundation created a great birthday slideshare presentation summarizing the initiative’s achievements to date. This is a must-view piece for anyone with even the slightest interest in the cloud.







Over the past 9 months or so, I’ve written two Standards Watch blogs on the topic of OpenStack: A Big Year for OpenStack; and NetApp and OpenStack, which I posted around the time of the OpenStack Summit in October 2012.  Since then I have the impression that the initiative has advanced dramatically.  The code releases are continuing on their regular 6-month cadence;  the hype hasn’t abated in fact it seems to have gained momentum; almost all customer conversations about internal cloud infrastructure include the topic of OpenStack; and now we are hearing more about production deployments.   Consequently I’ve have been looking forward to this week’s OpenStack Summit in Portland.




Beth Pariseau wrote a good pre-show piece in SearchCloudComputing focused mostly on the new features in the latest release of OpenStack (named Grizzly), but I wanted to assess the whole thing for myself.  In particular I was looking a sense of the commitment of the OpenStack Foundation member companies, the state and quality of the latest code release (Grizzly), customer engagement and the velocity of deployment growth.




OpenStack Foundation Member Commitment


At the last Summit, the OpenStack Foundation has only just recently been launched, but much of the focus of the event was on the development community, as it had been for previous events.  Apart from the fact that Platinum and Gold Members had shown their commitment to the Foundation by paying the hefty dues, it was tough to figure out what their adoption plans were. 




This week’s event was quite different.  Most of the Platinum and several of the Gold member companies made extensive presentations about their commitment, productization and/or deployment plans for OpenStack.  In addition a wide range of member companies talked about their contribution plans in the panel sessions.




With almost 4000 people in attendance, most of them developers, this commitment also made this the biggest OpenStack Summit yet.  There’s no question in my mind that a broad range of companies are committed to making OpenStack the most ubiquitous cloud platform in the industry. I didn’t have that sense before.




The Grizzly Release


At the last Summit, much of the buzz was on the much-anticipated new features of the latest release (Folsom).  Some of the reason was that previously there had been big gaps in functionality that were a barrier to deployment.  For the latest release, there is interesting new functionality, but most of it is not filling critical gaps, but bolstering scalability and availability, and broadening the range of OpenStack-enabled products  – features that may not matter so much in pilot deployments, but do matter for production deployment.  Interestingly, though, there was an equal amount of buzz on code quality and resiliency.  The OpenStack Foundation has dramatically increased the focus on QA in the development process, with numbers like a 600% increase in code test coverage being mentioned.  The community is getting serious about releasing production-deployment quality code.




OpenStack Deployments


This is where this week’s Summit was dramatically different from the previous one.  At an analyst panel during the October event, a recurrent question was “where are the deployments”.  The same panel this year was saying “OK – we see the deployments, what workloads are missing”.




The OpenStack overview said there are now 100 production deployments of OpenStack around the world.  The conference agenda featured case studies from (in no particular order) HubSpot, Samsung, Best Buy, PayPal, RackSpace, MercardoLibre, NSA, CERN, Bloomberg, Comcast,, KIO Networks, IBS Datafort, NTT and EIG.  Many of these are production deployments; some are on the cusp between pilot and production.  I believe that this represents a critical mass that will accelerate customer interest in OpenStack.




However, deployment isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s complicated.  You’d be advised to have an excellent team well-versed in open source, good partners, engagement with the OpenStack development community, and a phased deployment strategy.  But I expect to see a dramatic increase in deployments in the coming 12 months.




Bottom line on all of this … I see more and more evidence that OpenStack could become the most ubiquitous means of building open cloud environments.  It’s still early days – 100 production deployments doesn’t make it mainstream – but the pace of maturity and acceptance over the past six months has been truly impressive.