These are my notes from the OpenStack Foundation Board meetings, held at the beginning of the recent Summit held in Boston, held on May 7th. These are just notes and completely unofficial. Hopefully the typos and lack of structure help to make that clear.
The Board meets all day. After 2pm it is a join session with the User Committee and Technical Committee. Until 12 the session is public. After that, until 2pm, there is a closed door session to vote for new members and do other private business. I was there for everything but the private business.
This was my first board meeting so a lot of it was quite surprising or illuminating.
Introduction of new board members. Some of the members have titles related to marketing, which surprised me. Some board members were not in attendance.
Minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
Summary from the Executive
Jonathan Bryce gave a summary of the state of the universe:
- 2nd time in boston (600 people last time, in 2011)
- 5000 pre-registered attendees
- 63 countries (most countries ever)
- 1014 different organizations
- 41% 1st time
- 11% attendees identify as upstream developers, about same as Austin, bit less than Barcelona
There were issues with slow visa processing that prevented some people from attending. Apparently a lot of effort is involved in this but the road blocks are very high, especially for people from China.
Overview of stats
A summary of OpenStack statistics and recent patterns:
- 44% year on year growth in number of deployments
- 5,000,000 openstack cores of compute in over 80 countries
- Emerging trend is "openstack at the edge" (fog)
- variety of different approaches, in slightly different ways, so goal is to get these people on the same page
- openfog, openedge, people want to use openstack
- consolidation of cloud into datacenter raises latency, so now
we need edge cloud
- people want services in the cell tower, openstack in the cell tower
- need a "thin version of openstack", with seamless install and upgrade because it is hands off (zero patch provisioning)
- huge driver of openstack growth (but what about original use cases?)
- retailers want store-based edge infrastructure
- unclear why this is in the overview, but perhaps it is simply because of the emerging trend-ness
- What does 2nd generation of private cloud mean?
- Composable infrastructure, openstack has issue
- things are too hard
- avoid NIH issues
New category in the marketplace: remotely managed private cloud.
Update on Finances
$90,000 behind plan, due to "gold member shortfall". Increased expenses for marketing and PR. Intent is to exit year with around $3mil in the bank.
(Same problems in this group with most other groups: People haven't read the email before the meeting! Sigh.)
Expectation is that Sydney might be small because it is so far away from usual North American and European crowd.
Overview from the Interop-WG
A summary of recent activity from the Interop-WG.
Plan to have schema 2.0 that supports verticals (different applications like NFV). New trademarks in 2018 which support "openstack X with Y". The old stuff sticks around. The new stuff supports new use cases.
(It was around about this time in the meeting that I realized my experience of OpenStack from inside the development community is considerably different from some other communities. Much less catastrophizing. It's like a completely different world.)
Concern from markmc about whether OpenStack with NFV is still OpenStack (in the trademark sense). There's some talk about it being an independent vertical, which strikes me as an invitation to chaos, but the excuse is that "interop" (at the public level) isn't really an issue for NFV (which is distinctly not public). NFV may not be a superset of OpenStack.
Board members expressed that it needs to be possible for a cloud to be "OpenStack NFV" and "OpenStack Powered" at the same time. If the standards (for verticals) introduce conflict that would be very bad.
Adjacent technologies are a big deal with regard to Interop. Concern expressed about the impact there. There's an adjacent technologies working group that should be worked with too.
Product Working Group
A summary from the product working group on their activities and issues they've identified.
There is good work at getting requirements but not much execution. In part this is because there is a gap between PWG members and contributors. My initial reaction to this was that there needs to be more overlap between PWG and contributors and organizations driving the PWG also need to drive the creation of more contributors.
During this session I felt a bit alienated; as if lots of people in the room were really rather confused about the open source process. There was an undercurrent of party X asking third party Y (usually the board) to give the devs a kick in the pants as if that kick would make all the difference.
I'm fairly certain motivation and interest are not the limiting factors.
Two new candidates for gold membership gave presentations about themselves. After their presentations (some notes of which, below) the public session was closed, voting happened, and both candidates were accepted.
China Unicom wants to be a Foundation member, so they introduce themselves and their goal. They are the third largest chinese telecom, state owned, presence in 69 countries. 700,000 employees. POPs all over the world.
"Wo" is a brand used by China Unicom. The want to make it the best choice for OpenStack with their system "Wo Cloud". Already running 5000 servers, Havana 10%, Kilo 90%. They want to push common requirements up to upstream.
"Proud to use open source", try to be very active.
They are intending to start contributing upstream but haven't figured out how to do it well. There are cultural limitations. This idea of cultural barriers is a common theme throughout the day.
Fiber optic cable business and optical transmission. $2.5 billion revenue. Wants to provide cloud services. They have a thing called FitOS which is based on OpenStack. Province-level e-Government platform.
They are SDN oriented.
Their presentation was different from the other because a large chunk of it was oriented around how their upstream contribution record has improved over some cycles.
Joint Meeting with TC and UC
Introductions, new TC members didn't say anything about companies (win!).
A joint meeting held in March was considered very productive, so considering having a new one. Maybe do it around the PTG or the Ops Meetup. Separate is liked by some, but not by others.
The reset of the meeting was spent reviewing proposed and current strategic goals (set at the previous meeting).
Proposal: Clamping the App Gaps
There are a huge numbers of things being called "connectors". Tools which fit somewhere as SDKs, provisioning tools, C/PaaS. There are so many tools, OpenStack can't support all of them, how can we limit those things?
Solution Step 1: API Improvements
Need to get agreement on what's right so that different deployments can migrate towards it. There will be talk about this in the API-WG group.
Solution Step 2: SDK Provision Improvements
(zuul 3 will be able to operate as 3rd party CI against github pull requests) OpenStack community wants to be able to offer testing resources to other connecting tools to help them.
The Strategic Focus Areas
Communicate about OpenStack
Work out a map that explains how all of OpenStack fits together and what pieces can be used and how they can be composed. A visual aid that shows how it matters.
Also need a map to understand what technolgies are involved and what technologies are enabled. And another map for maturity and adoption. Multiple dimensions of view required.
Plan for discussing (here at the forum) how to more effectively deal with unanswered requirements: the PWG pipeline hasn't worked all that well.
Getting involved with other communities that are also in the biz of cloud, notably k8s.
Would be useful for projects to think about what they might look like if they were standing alone or existing independently.
(During this discussion there was continued messaging of "getting things to the TC" as if somehow that will magically mean "getting projects to do it". It sometimes feels like perhaps having that kind of executive power might be useful, but it is not how we do things now and everyone seems to understand that.)
Changes to the Technology
OpenStack needs to be simplified. There are features that aren't being used and configuration that are out of date. There are a lot of deprecated things which are past the cycle where they could be removed, so they can be cleared out. There may even be some stale projects that can be removed. Care needs to be taken: a project can be used and useful even when it is not it is not getting contributions. Contributors won't come from thin air though.
Efforts to grow community leaders. Wanting to make clear ways to level up.
Do more efforts to create videos of various tasks that are common (including reviewing).
The TC needs to participate in publishing a list of priorities, effectively karma bounties, that companies can use to help with their contribution.
It was an illuminating day. The thing that was most interesting and useful for me was the degree of optimism present in the room. The best idea (from my perspective) was making sure that priorities are highly visible (via publishing karma bounties).