Open Source

Massive growth market for open source phenomenon OpenStack

This week than 5,000 attendees from over 50 countries have gathered together in Barcelona for the Autumn OpenStack Summit. The big message is just how far this movement – and its summits – have come since the inaugural event in 2010 was attended by just 75 delegates.

In a very short space of time OpenStack has become the global movement for the open source development of the cloud. The community comprises of over 30,000 individual members worldwide and in terms of the kind of rapid dominance it is only really analogous to the early days of Linux.

A rather well done animated video, which plays before the first keynote this morning, highlights the numerous areas where it is now quietly powering clouds behind the scenes. This includes significant users like CERN – which now runs roughly 90% of its compute power on OpenStack – and the Square Kilometre Array project which is looking to solve the mysteries of the universe with the help of cloud technology.  

The summit itself is vendor neutral, and so aside from small individual announcements from partners who want to plug their latest releases, the main story is growth. This includes a surge in uptake for the new certification training programme along with independent research from 451 Group which shows 80% of those using OpenStack now come from outside the technology industry and suggests the OpenStack market will hit $5 billion by 2020.    

This high growth activity centred on a strong engaged community means what is most noticeable at the summit is the enthusiasm. This is the forefront of the open source movement with the latest (and 14th) iteration Newton built with contributions from 2000 developers worldwide. Interestingly, the highest volume of these came from Asia, followed by North America, then Europe.

“It is really hard to get behind the curtain of open source,” suggests John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, which is one of the founding fathers of the movement. Companies aren’t sending employees to many events on Linux or MySQL anymore, while this is growing at a ferocious pace. It gives individuals the chance to really lift the lid on what is going on. 

“The community is very welcoming,” explains Jonathan LaCour, VP of Cloud at DreamHost. This is difficult technology. It not easy to get started, the process is complicated, it is hard to get a patch accepted and “sometimes projects can get committed to death”. The OpenStack Foundation does its best to manage this, he stresses. And as an active member of the community he sees this as “more of a self-criticism” than anything else. 


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