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OpenStack: Solving for Integration in Open Source Adjacent Communities

- November 9, 2017 - 0 Comments

I have had the pleasure of serving as an Individually elected member of the OpenStack Board of Directors during 2017. Prior to my current work, I served OpenStack to lead the development of and deliver innovative software building blocks for OpenStack in concert with over 28,000 other individuals involved with OpenStack.

As a result of the OpenStack community output over the past seven years, there has been massive technical software innovation in open infrastructure. While the level of innovation in OpenStack and other adjacent communities has been grand in scale, the increasing pace of software innovation has not been without cost. Integration of the hundreds of different open source projects both within OpenStack and within adjacent communities has created new challenges for operators of Open Source software projects. A challenge for operators is an opportunity for Open Source.

On November 5th, 2017, one day prior to the OpenStack Sydney summit, the OpenStack Board of Directors met with the Technical Committee and User Committee to define a refined strategic framework for improving the state of integration of various Open Source communities involved in open infrastructure development.

During the November 6th, 2017 OpenStack Sydney Summit keynote, Jonathan Bryce rolled out OpenStack’s Integration Strategy to Summit attendees. The strategy is focused on four key elements creating a recurrent theme:

  1. Find the common use cases
  2. Collaborate across communities
  3. Build the required new technology
  4. Test everything end to end

The OpenStack Foundation required board support in order to roll out this integration strategy. The motion that was proposed after several hours of debate on the precise language and unanimously passed by the Board of Directors via vote was:

Authorize the Foundation staff to incubate strategic focus areas, including pilot projects, adjacent to the OpenStack Project. At the completion of incubation, a strategic focus area shall be subject to board approval.”

One may wonder why such a motion was needed. To better define the use cases, it was determined necessary to organize the community across problem domains called strategic focus areas:

  • Datacenter cloud infrastructure
  • Container infrastructure
  • Edge infrastructure
  • CI/CD infrastructure
  • In the future other drivers of infrastructure usage such as machine learning and AI

The key principles of each strategic focus area are:

  • Focus on user value when organizing a new Strategic Focus Area
  • Follow the Four Opens
  • Communities should have the ability to self-organize in the way that is most effective for their active contributors
  • Technical decisions should be made by technical people representative of the contributors
  • Overall governance should be representative and diverse, and should provide opportunities for new leaders to rise up and contributors of all types to participate

The result of board support of this integration strategy is a stronger connection between open source communities producing infrastructure software. I am super pleased to see what I had envisioned in 2016 becoming reality.

For more information, please reference Jonathan Bryce’s mailing list post.

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