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Mark Shuttleworth on OpenStack: HPE layoffs prove 'big tent' approach has failed

Tamlin Magee | Nov. 1, 2016
OpenStack is not failing, it's just bullshit as a service that's failing, said the Ubuntu founder

"If you do these things the old fashioned way with Puppet, Chef and Ansible, they can be incredibly expensive because now you need the experts for everything," he says. "If you do them with Juju and Charms, you're sharing the cost of operational code with everybody else using those Charms."

According to Shuttleworth, there are parallels that can be drawn between the rise of software like OpenStack and the evolution of ever-increasing amounts of big data. Over the years, data itself slowly got bigger and bigger, and more rich and diverse, he says, and the complexity of it all grew until businesses understood they needed new ways to interpret, understand and use it.

"In the same way, the complexity of software has grown steadily and smoothly - microservices, cloud-scale, cloud-native architectures, none of these things happened overnight," he says. "There has always been one extra service - Hadoop went from two pieces of software to four pieces of software to seven pieces of software. OpenStack went from five pieces of software to nine pieces of software, all one step at a time.

"But there comes a point when the old way doesn't work anymore, and that's big software," he explains. "OpenStack was just the first. Now we have Kupernetes, we have IBM Watson, all the machine learning stuff - all the interesting stuff on the cloud is big software. You can't be successful with it by just understanding one part and automating one part.

"You have to understand 20 parts, and you have to understand them now because in six months they will have updated - it is the integration burden," he says. "If you do it the old way, that means hiring, training, writing code. That takes time. If the software has changed by the time you get through that process you are by definition failing."

While he remarks that, with companies like HPE you "reap what you sow" Shuttleworth is overwhelmingly positive about the OpenStack landscape and the community. It is clear, he says, that OpenStack has won the battle in terms of the open platform - and it's also evident that the big players in the entire technology industry are rallying behind it as a platform.

"The experts are here," he says. "If you think about a VM on-demand - I think Intel, IBM Power, ARM, those are the experts for how you should get a VM on demand. And they are here. If you think of disks on demand - EMC, Seagate, they are here. And if you think of networks on demand, Cisco, Brocade, Broadcom, they are here."

What is next for OpenStack in an environment that is trending towards multi-cloud, and where does OpenStack sit in the wider cloud landscape - next to public cloud, and so on?


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