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April 19, 2013
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Field Report: OpenStack Summit – The Hadoop Bizarro World

portland2PORTLAND – The Rose city is a great place and this week it got even more interesting with the OpenStack Summit in town. I am more a data geek and very rarely do I venture down the stack into infrastructure, but wow, there is something cool going on with the OpenStack community.  I couldn’t help but to get wrapped up in the excitement.  Not only was the enthusiasm palpable, it was also very familiar. I don’t know if it was the organic buzz of Portland or not, but I felt a little like I was in Hadoop bizarro world.

Hadoop on OpenStack

Hortonworks was the only “app” vendor on the show floor and our story was well received.  When you partner with the leading code contributor (Red Hat) and the leading system integrator (Mirantis) and have existing relationships with the founders (Rackspace) of OpenStack, you get some relative street cred. But honestly, the attendees I spoke with were incredibly happy to see us at the event because they saw our joining the community was about contributing serious code and Hadoop experience to Project Savanna.  This is characteristic of a vibrant community of developers.

It really didn’t take a lot of explaining to open the eyes of the audience to the reality that “Hadoop is the Perfect App for OpenStack”.  These guys and gals get it.  They are looking for the right application to drive adoption of OpenStack and Hadoop with its new workloads for an enterprise fits the bill. We look forward to seeing some crossover audience at Hadoop Summit when we roll out the first wave of our efforts by demonstrating the ease of deployment of Hadoop on OpenStack via the new Savanna project.

We were pretty busy on the show floor and were also invited by our friends at theCube (@furrier & @jefffrick ) to speak about Savanna and how Hadoop is good for OpenStack.  The video and corresponding article were great coverage.  Also, among a range of other press outlets picking up the story, the Register had a great summary of Project Savanna from the show floor.

Socialism v Capitalism

Being an Apache guy, I was curious to how the OpenStack community is governed.  With all these vendors in the building, it seemed there was a lot of powerful players involved.  Who is in charge? I had a few conversations about this and it seemed to me that there is a healthy democracy with some very powerful parties and lobbyists involved.  Sounded to be a bit like capitalism to me, which led me to a comparison with Apache….  Perhaps we are Socialism and OpenStack is Capitalism.  😉

I met and spoke to a few of the committee members for OpenStack, including Devin Carlen (Nebula) and Josh McKenty (@jmckenty & PistonCloud).  Both are founders of OpenStack, founders of companies and have contributed significantly to the project.  They were amused by my theory.

OpenStack Summit Growth: Enter Sales and Marketing into the Community

The show has historically been mostly a “real” summit where developers got together to discuss, design and code.  There is still a lot of that going on, but the influx of “business” was overwhelming.  The growth of the show demonstrates the importance of the project. To quote Rackspace, “Between OpenStack’s Folsom and Grizzly releases, OpenStack experienced a more than 50 percent growth in contributions. According to some of the businesses closest to the project, OpenStack isn’t just about writing code; it’s about creating an infrastructure everyone can use. It’s about creating something amazing.”  Enter business.

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 8.56.06 AMWith some help from Chris Horne (@fpcguru) at CloudScaling and Fresh Perspective Consulting I was able to analyze (no data science here, just marketing guy stuff) the attendee list.  Out of 3000 registered, I would say close to one third were from the leading vendors in this space.  This seems to be a pretty mix for the show (and the community for that matter) and shows a vibrant range of adoption beyond the large players.  There are some big names involved and we can only expect the countdown has started and OpenStack is set to take off.

The Third Coming

One of my most interesting conversations this week was with a financial analyst at the show who characterized OpenStack as the “The Coming of The Third Generation of IT”. (Oh, I forgot to mention that they were all over the show as well.  It seems everyone wants to know who this helps or hurts and which small company is gonna crush it.) This led me to explore what exactly were gen 1 and 2.  Perhaps the old world of mainframes and PC in the 70s, 80s and early 90s was the first generation IT team.  They were a group of pencil protected, flannel shirt wearing guys with big glasses who walked around with disks and screwdrivers.  Mid nineties, we shifted into the second generation with client server and the Internet.  Data centers grew up and a shift towards SaaA started.

Today, the third generation is becoming reality.  The Cloud hype over the past few years provided us with PaaS and now with OpenStack, we may really see widespread adoption of IaaS.  We know one thing, in order to fuel adoption of OpenStack and this new infrastructure, an application must come along to spur adoption.  Funny enough, at the same time, Hadoop has established itself as the driver of net new workloads in an organization.  This is the exact greenfield opportunity for the OpenStack enthusiast to help drive adoption.  Hadoop is the Perfect App for OpenStack in this “Third Generation of IT”.


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