News Archive

The Expanding OpenStack Foundation

The OpenStack Foundation has begun the process of becoming an umbrella organisation for open source projects adjacent to but outside of OpenStack itself. However, there is no clear roadmap for the transformation, which has resulted in some confusion. After attending the joint leadership meeting with the Foundation Board of Directors and various Forum sessions that included some members of the board at the (2018) OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, I believe I can help shed some light on the situation. (Of course this is my subjective take on the topic, and I am not speaking for the Technical Committee.)

In November 2017, the board authorised the Foundation staff to begin incubation of several ‘Strategic Focus Areas’, including piloting projects that fit in those areas. The three focus areas are Container Infrastructure, Edge Computing Infrastructure, and CI/CD Infrastructure. To date, there have been two pilot projects accepted. Eventually, it is planned for each focus area to have its own Technical Committee (or equivalent governance body), holding equal status with the OpenStack TC—there will be no paramount technical governance body for the whole Foundation.

The first pilot project is Kata Containers, which combines container APIs and container-like performance with VM-level isolation. You will not be shocked to learn that it is part of the Container Infrastructure strategic focus.

The other pilot project, in the CI/CD strategic focus, is Zuul. Zuul will already be familiar to OpenStack developers as the CI system developed by and for the OpenStack project. Its governance is moving from the OpenStack TC to the new Strategic Focus Area, in recognition of its general usefulness as a tool that is not in any way specific to OpenStack development.

Thus far there are no pilot projects in the Edge Computing Infrastructure focus area, but nevertheless there is plenty of work going on—including to figure out what Edge Computing is.

If you attended the Summit then you would have heard about Kata, Zuul and Edge Computing, but this is probably the first time you’ve heard the terms ‘incubate’ or ‘pilot’ associated with them. Nor have the steps that come after incubation or piloting been defined. This has opened the door to confusion, not only about the status of the pilot projects but also that of unofficial projects (outside of either OpenStack-proper or any of the Strategic Focus Areas) that are hosted using on the same infrastructure provided by the Foundation for OpenStack development. It also heralds the return of what I call the October surprise—a half-baked code dump ‘open sourced’ the week before a Summit—which used to be a cottage industry around the OpenStack community until the TC was able to bed in a set of robust processes for accepting new projects.

Starting out without a lot of preconceived ideas about how things would proceed was the right way to begin, but members of the board recognise that now is the time to give the process some structure. I expect to see more work on this in the near future.

There is also a proposed initiative, dubbed Winterscale, to move governance of the foundation’s infrastructure out from under the OpenStack TC, to reflect its new status as a service provider to the OpenStack project, the other Strategic Focus Areas, and unofficial projects.