BOSTON — OpenStack has long billed itself as an integration engine enabling organizations to plug into different technologies. At the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Collier, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation, explained and demonstrated in a keynote address why it's important to embrace composable and cloud native infrastructure.
"Composable means built to work together with other components of the system," Collier said. "Cloud native means every project is built with the assumption there will be programmable infrastructure that applications can rely on."
OpenStack has multiple elements that can be integrated as part of a composable stack, which also includes non-OpenStack elements. At the core of OpenStack are capabilities for bare-metal provisioning (Ironic), Compute (Nova), Storage (Cinder), identity management (Keystone) and Software-Defined Networking (Neutron).
The OpenStack Foundation now wants to make those projects more accessible to be used as individual projects.
"It's really not just infrastructure as a service; it's about infrastructure for ideas or tools for decision making," Collier said. "The world has realized that computing is the best path forward so we have to build the right infrastructure for ideas."
He added that users are already tying together different components and it's important that OpenStack help to enable different tools to work with each other. One barrier though is complexity of dealing with many different components, and another challenge is dealing with what Collier referred to as "not invented here" syndrome.
"Something in human nature drives us to want to re-invent things, and sometimes that's the right thing, but sometimes that's a waste of time," Collier said. "We have lots in common with other open-source communities; we are going to use stuff from other communities and try and make it all work together.
As a demonstration of how different things can work together, the keynote included a multi-vendor interoperability demonstration. Multiple OpenStack vendors were all able to set up a cloud and then tie in resources to a separately provisioned CockroachDB database that was being managed by a CoreOS-powered Kubernetes cluster.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.