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Is OpenStack the New Linux? 185

Posted by timothy
from the interesting-tools-find-interesting-uses dept.
snydeq writes "As the self-proclaimed 'cloud OS for the datacenter,' OpenStack is fast becoming one of the more intriguing movements in open source — complete with lofty ambitions, community in-fighting, and commercial appeal. But questions remain whether this project can reach its potential of becoming the new Linux. 'The allure of OpenStack is clear: Like Linux, OpenStack aims to provide a kernel around which all kinds of software vendors can build businesses. But with OpenStack, we're talking multiple projects to provide agile cloud management of compute, storage, and networking resources across the data center — plus authentication, self-service, resource monitoring, and a slew of other projects. It's hugely ambitious, perhaps the most far-reaching open source project ever, although still at a very early stage. ... Clearly, the sky-high aspirations of OpenStack both fuel its outrageous momentum and incur the risk of overreach and collapse, as it incites all manner of competition. The promise is big, but the success of OpenStack is by no means assured.'"
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Is OpenStack the New Linux?

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  • Done. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday June 07, 2012 @02:59PM (#40247931)

    ...projects to provide agile cloud management...

    Whenever I see "blaw...blaw AGILE blaw...blaw", I stop reading.

    • Re:Done. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:04PM (#40248015)

      Needed webscale and enterprise value there. Agile alone isn't agile enough.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Whenever I see a question mark in the headline I stop reading.

    • Re:Done. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:12PM (#40248111) Homepage Journal

      I got that with "cloud".

      How open can the system be when it runs on someone else's hardware under someone else's control?

      OK, maybe potentially big news for cloud service vendors, but I can't the average Linux hobby coder giving this a lot of time or effort

      • Re:Done. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @04:06PM (#40248765)

        I dunno...

        We're already hearing about "local clouds" - essentially building a small-scale cloud for your own large company. So, say, Hewlett-Packard could, instead of renting cloud space, could build a small "cloud" just for themselves.

        Once that becomes relatively common, someone will come up with the "personal cloud" - a small home server, that "does" "everything" "the cloud" "does". I actually expect IPv6 may help with this - if you can access "your" cloud from anywhere, what advantage does "the" cloud have?

        And then, once that becomes common for nerds and the tech-savvy wealthy, someone will decide to do it in software instead of a dedicated hardware appliance. I expect they shall call it a "desktop cloud".

        And then the loop begins AGAIN!

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          We're already hearing about "local clouds" - essentially building a small-scale cloud for your own large company.

          The difference between mainframes + thin clients and "local clouds" is.... the number of servers?

          • Re:Done. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by aix tom (902140) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @05:31PM (#40250053)

            So at which number of "servers" does it become a cloud?

            Up until about 2-3 years ago we had about 50 or so "Hardware" servers at our company. Which we replaced one after the other with two bladecenters with 24 blades in total, in two different buildings plus NAS clusters, running everything on virtual machines. Those are advertised by IBM as "IBM BladeCenter for Cloud", so at least THEY think that already is "the cloud".

            I, personally, have come to think that once you run something in a virtual machine, clustered in a way that one hardware box going down has no effect of your "Application" running it is basically "The Cloud". Of course that has been around for decades "The Cloud" is only a new marketing speak that has come up.

            • Re:Done. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by radish (98371) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @07:12PM (#40251083) Homepage

              I think "Cloud" is less about physical architecture and more about feature set. When I think "Cloud" I think dynamic, quickly reconfigurable, essentially "limitless". Where I work we're moving away from a traditional model where applications are installed on their own dedicated servers with dedicated DB and FS storage to a Cloud model where VMs can be dynamically allocated in seconds, cloned from images and ready to roll. Storage is via EC2 style no-sql object storage and doesn't need to be pre-provisioned. For a small shop this probably doesn't sound very exciting but when you're in an environment with tens of thousands of machines and are used to multi-week wait times for approval, purchasing and install of new hardware it's a pretty big shift.

              So it's not the redundancy, or even use of VMs that's interesting, it's the pooling of resources - having compute & storage be essentially utilities you can take as little or as much of as you need. Places like Google have been doing this for a long time, but it's only recently becoming mainstream in other orgs.

            • by martyros (588782)

              I think "cloud" has to do more with the separation of managing the physical aspect of things from managing the software. Think about it: What does IT involve? It invovles both managing the physical aspect of things -- monitoring disks as they wear out, sorting out physical places to put servers, power and cooling, plugging in cables, configuring network switches and KVMs / serial consoles, &c &c. It also involves managing the software aspect -- installing operating systems, configuring servers, u

          • The difference between mainframes + thin clients and "local clouds" is.... the number of servers?

            I don't think this has to do with the number of servers. Typically, a mainframe would be bought from a big vendor (let's say IBM), would have a proprietary API (if there's an API at all), and would run on that vendor's hardware. A "local cloud" would run on commodity hardware (eg: any cheap PC...).

        • by yahwotqa (817672)

          Personal cloud? Oh, you mean owncloud.org

      • At first I tried calling 'cloud computing' time-share 2.0. The name never caught on with the younger developers, but got some laughs from the guys who were a bit older than I am, and a raised eye-brow or two. (I'm in my mid 30's, but my parents worked around the computers in the glory days of room sized main frames).

        Cloud computing can be useful. We're using a CDN to serve up the relatively static HTML/JS/CSS client and "cloud computing" for the web services layer to handle traffic spikes. On major eve

      • by dissy (172727)

        How open can the system be when it runs on someone else's hardware under someone else's control?

        You sound just like the old greybeards
        "Why on earth would you ever want to use Unix?! I mean it's not even your computer under your control!"

        Just as one can install any flavor and distro of unix on their own hardware at home or work, so too can it be done with "cloud" management software.

        I have three systems running in my basement all running as virtualization hosts. Each and every one of those is owned by me, and is run by me.
        The only thing missing to make it a "cloud" is the management software, which a

      • Well, that's the whole point of it. Previously, we had stuff like AWS, where you had nothing but an API to play with, and everything else was closed source. Now, we do have Openstack, and you aren't forced to run your stuff on someone's else hardware. Moreover, if you still don't want to use a public cloud, but don't want to be locked-in, you will be free to move from one provider to another, and it's going to be easy to do so, because everyone will be using the same cloud core. So yes, it's very open, and
    • by Frnknstn (663642)

      Re: your sig:

      Dark Matter is the Phlogiston of Contemporary Cosmology

      Does that mean that quantum field theory is the luminiferous aether of modern particle physics?

  • yup (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've HURD this before.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Somehow I just GNU there would be a smarmy AC cracking puns.

  • Meta-engineering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:05PM (#40248031) Homepage Journal

    As a general rule, the only way to build something large and complex that works is to grow it from something small and simple that works.

    • by morcego (260031) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:12PM (#40248113)

      As a general rule, the only way to build something large and complex that works is to grow it from something small and simple that works.

      As a general rule, something simple that works will grow into something large and complex that doesn't work, and no one can figure why.

    • As a general rule, the only way to build something large and complex that works is to grow it from something small and simple that works.

      Which is why the Saturn V booster used in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon was built out of Legos.

      -- Terry

      • I'm pretty sure his qualifier "as a general rule" makes your post absurdly meaningless.
        • I strongly disagree that it's a general rule.

          I find that a lot of people I would not ordinarily view as idiots have this absurd idea ingrained in their psyche that it's possible to incrementally get from thing ABC to thing XYZ. Mostly I have to believe that these people have never had to reverse engineer anything.

          One of the places this happens most often is in Open Source software, where people have drank the Eric Raymond kool aid about "The Cathedral and the Bazaar". Sometimes you need to build a cathedr

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:06PM (#40248039)

    OpenStack is a Linux distribution organized for deploying a compute cloud. Linux is the new Linux?

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:07PM (#40248057) Journal

      In other words "We have a new distro, how can we get some free advertising..."

    • by Vairon (17314)

      I don't think it's even a Linux distribution because the install guides for the different types of OpenStack nodes start with instructions for Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, RHEL.

      http://wiki.openstack.org/InstallInstructions/Nova [openstack.org] (Compute node)
      http://wiki.openstack.org/InstallInstructions/Swift [openstack.org] (Storage node)
      http://wiki.openstack.org/InstallInstructions/Glance [openstack.org] (Image server)

      • It's not a distribution, it's just that stupid marketing people call it "operating system for the cloud", which adds lots of confusion. They do that also because "Open Stack" can be shortened into OS (which is same as operating system). But in fact, Openstack isn't an operating system, nor a distribution, it's just a bunch of Python scripts which are, by the way, pretty hard to ship into decent packages (I can tell because I'm partly working, as a Debian Developer, on the Debian packaging myself). Compared
    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:34PM (#40248377)

      OpenStack is a Linux distribution organized for deploying a compute cloud. Linux is the new Linux?

      No it's not. It's a virtualization management platform with appropriate interfaces for clients that you can deploy on pretty much any Linux server.

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:44PM (#40248481) Homepage

      OpenStack isn't a distro. It's a collection of utilities for virtualizing and managing compute and storage resources to build clouds. Putting Apache, PHP, and MySQL onto a linux box doesn't make the LAMP stack "Linux" any more than putting OpenStack services (Nova, swift, etc) onto a Linux distro makes OpenStack Linux.

      • Putting any other application stack on a Linux Box - LAMP based or not - doesn't make that application the new Linux, either.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      As i was reading this, i was thinking the same thing. Besides, you have to have a client to get there...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sp1n (99710)

      OpenStack is a virtualization and object storage infrastructure and management system. It is not an operating system or a Linux distribution. It's an application. Rackspace is a major sponsor of the project, and eats their own dog food. Nova is the VM side, and supports (to varying degrees) pretty much every hypervisor. Swift is the object store that Rackspace Cloud Files is based on.

      This should not be compared to kernels, Linux or anything of the sort. "...a major threat to VMware, Citrix and Parallel

      • Rackspace is a major sponsor of the project, and eats their own dog food.

        That's only right for Swift, not for Nova. Rackspace has yet to do the switch, because they don't have good enough guys to do the packaging on Debian stable, which is their target. I believe that by this time, they must have more or less stopped the effort, and will be waiting Wheezy (just a guess here based on previous packages I saw).

        Nova is the VM side, and supports (to varying degrees) pretty much every hypervisor.

        That's "pretty much" what they want to let you believe. The reality is harsher than this. For real, Nova supports KVM and XCP (Xen Cloud Platform). The later pushed me to wor

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:06PM (#40248051)

    It sounds very exciting until you look at the code. Then you realise that the quality in the project is entirely in the marketing, and there's nothing of worth code-wise at all.

    • by martyros (588782)

      It sounds very exciting until you look at the code. Then you realise that the quality in the project is entirely in the marketing, and there's nothing of worth code-wise at all.

      In may ways, it's the opposite of Linux. Linux was started by a lone programmer who had *something that worked*. That something attracted other people to work on it, and eventually became the massive development project it is today. But from then until now it has worked on the "benevolent dictator" model, where a single person has

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:07PM (#40248061)

    And something that does everything, no less. In general, this means it does nothing well. Big egos are just the hallmark of failure. Lets see whether anybody even remembers this in 20 years. Personally, I doubt it.

  • Just applying the rule I saw somewhere: if the title is a question, the answer is "No".
  • by hxnwix (652290) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:10PM (#40248091) Journal

    Is there some deficiency in Linux and the various BSDs that OpenStack is intended to remedy?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is there some deficiency in Linux and the various BSDs that OpenStack is intended to remedy?

      Yes: Not enough free advertising on Slashdot.

    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:17PM (#40248171) Journal

      Its not intended to be a replacement for an OS. If you read the article its basic a set of software to allow you to roll you own cloud solution. Basically Amazon EC2 in a box. You'd still need to install OSs on the virtual machines.
      No no its no the new Linux, the Title is misleading.

    • I was misled by the summary. This isn't a whole new OS from the ground up - it's a Linux distro with some python code included.

      Is a Linux distro with some python the new Linux? Umm... yeah... how about no.

      • by Vairon (17314)

        I don't believe it's a Linux distribution because it's intended to be installed on Fedora, RHEL, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.

        http://wiki.openstack.org/InstallInstructions/Nova [openstack.org]

      • by MattW (97290)

        It's meant to be syllogistic.

        As in:

        Linux:Operating Systems::OpenStack:Cloud

        At this point, though, OpenStack is still pre-1.0, perhaps equivalent to Linux circa 1993. Whether it can polish up and continue to deliver what is needed is yet to be seen.

        The impetus behind cloud right now means that this will be a lot more high profile than Linux was in 1993. There's all sorts of politics (eg Why Citrix Left Openstack [forbes.com]) at play, and no one has an OpenStack cloud of any significant size running. OpenStack has been t

        • by cas2000 (148703)

          I work for a .au university on an openstack cloud service providing compute infrastructure as a service for researchers. we currently have about 2000 cores on 84 compute nodes (plus swift storage and volume storage and nova-api and database and so on) and about 700 users (and anyone with a login at any australian university can have a login with a small allocation of cores/memory/cpu-time, with larger allocations on request), with another 2000 cores ready to go as soon as the regions/zones/cells (or whatev

    • by Vairon (17314)

      OpenStack runs on Linux.

    • We have a stupid research group that is always chasing after the latest trend. "The cloud" is their new shit and they want OpenStack bad. They don't know why they want it, they just do. Of course when our Linux guy sets it up for them, they can't use it because they have no idea how. They don't like the idea of just using VMWare for some reason. It isn't cool enough to them.

      • I have read many of the same kind of statements. Mostly, it's from people who don't understand what's going on (and you're of course one of them). No, "the cloud" isn't just a marketing word. It's a reality, and it has features which real people use to do real things. Do you want a simple example? Rebuilding all of the Debian packages at once in less than few hours, and sending out report to every package maintainer when there's a FTBFS (Fail To Buid From Source).

        Saying that VMWare is the only solution me
        • Should have guessed that comment would attract an OSS zealot. No VMWare isn't the only solution, however it is an easy one to implement, and it is one we have free licenses for (for research and education) and it is one that we the tech people are trained on, since it runs the back end for our department. VMWare gets shit done, that's why they can charge what they do. It is a hell of a good platform. Would do precisely what the research group wants.

          However they want OpenStack. They can't say why, they can't

    • by Instine (963303)
      Yes.

      Though I think AppScale is the way forward. I've looked at this who scaleable PaaS, node image thing for a while now, and here's where I'm at: What these things should do is what AppScale is doing. Offering a homogeneous node that has the potential to fulfill any or all rolls of a horizontally scalable webservice stack. Like a stem cell. It affords you encapsulation to the server level. Usually a virtual server. This is harder than it sounds, and more important than you may think.

      That is, its serv
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:11PM (#40248101)

    There must have been a lot of development going on in the OpenStack camp during the past year. Last time I checked many features that were already available in other open source cloud platform products were work-in-progress and setting up and configuring a functional private cloud was cumbersome at best. I wonder how they have managed to gain such publicity and backing over more mature competitors.

  • by aglider (2435074) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:18PM (#40248177) Homepage

    Just like Linux has been the new DOS.
    No way to compare pears and beans.

    • by aglider (2435074)

      ... and, most important thing, OpenStack [wikipedia.org] is NEITHER an operating system, NOR a kernel.
      And Linux has not been the new television!

  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:49PM (#40248535) Journal
    As a "cloud OS for the datacenter" Open Stack clearly has to iconoclast on empowering croud-sorced segregation-effects within the namespace of its initial synergies. Anything else would be a paradigm shift.
  • ...we will hear every year for the next 20 how this year is the year of OpenStack on the desktop?

    • Of course not. We will hear how year xxyy is the year of OpenStack floating gently above the desktop.
  • by mounthood (993037) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @05:31PM (#40250055)

    "the New Linux" is an analogy (you literal dorks). From the FAQ http://openstack.org/projects/openstack-faq/ [openstack.org]

    What does it mean for the cloud ecosystem?

    This is not yet code that comes with certification from operating system or hardware vendors. Instead it's aimed at providers, institutions, and enterprises with highly technical operations teams that have the capabilities and needs to turn physical hardware into large-scale cloud deployments.

    Still, wide adoption of an open-source, open-standards cloud should be huge for everyone. It means customers won't have to fear lock-in and technology companies can participate in a growing market that spans cloud providers.

    A great analogy comes from the early days of the Internet: the transition away from fractured, proprietary flavors of UNIX toward open-source Linux. An open cloud stands to provide the same benefits for large-scale cloud computing that the Linux standard provided inside the server.

    • by nixman99 (518480)
      God I wish I had mod points. I'm reading the comments and wondering how so many people could ignore the giant whooshing sound of the point going over their heads.
  • Considering that a full Debian system (binaries for one platform) comes on eight DVDs, I think this project, whatever it might be, has a long way to go before it can really claim to be the "most far-reaching open source project." More mainstream, perhaps, but far less ambitious.

  • by Alex Belits (437) *

    The only important thing about OpenStack is that it supports implementation of managed, dynamically allocated and partitioned clusters (what "cloud" really is) with LXC, a non-virtualization host partitioning technology.

    • The only issue is that LXC is currently borken in the kernel, because you can easily escape from the chroot that it provides. So no, LXC isn't for the moment the key feature, but we do expect it will.
  • A suite of tools to manage a data center being the "most far-reaching open source project ever"? Seriously?
    What a joke.

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