As interest in cloud technology grew, the cloud washing trend emerged. Many vendors began labeling their solutions as cloud-enabled without delivering core cloud benefits. This trend has dissipated somewhat as business units become more aware of what the cloud is capable of and what separates true cloud solutions from simpler virtual environments. A similar trend has surfaced in regard to the OpenStack platform, but as ITWorld's Nancy Gohring recently noted, The OpenStack Foundation plans to address the problem in the near future.
The OpenStack Foundation has a clear set of interoperability guidelines that prevent heavy reliance on vendor-specific solutions. As Gohring noted, even some pioneers in open cloud technology may not specifically follow these provisions. Josh McKenty, CTO of Piston and an OpenStack Foundation, said the organization plans to wait until the next version of OpenStack before cracking down, a decision intended to keep momentum for the technology going.
Some of the challenges in delivering OpenStack-powered solutions comes from the momentum of the platform itself. Rackspace's Troy Toman recently addressed the OpenStack cloud washing concern in a blog post. While he admitted that some aspects of the company's offerings are "out of sync" with common practices, it is still dedicated to the open philosophy.
"One notable success for us included getting Cells merged into the Grizzly release of Nova," Toman wrote. "Cells is the level of host abstraction that will enable us to scale to tens of thousands of nodes behind a single API endpoint. Having it in Grizzly trunk eliminates the major difference between our deployment and trunk and also makes cells available to all OpenStack deployers. A big thanks to all who helped in making this happen."
Companies that wish to deliver OpenStack solutions can benefit from following a similar evaluation and improvement process. Just as awareness regarding traditional cloud infrastructure grew, the expanding OpenStack community will likely push demand for interoperable solutions and transparency from providers.