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Putting the PaaS in OpenStack (Platform as a Service)

For OpenShifters and PaaS aficionados in general, the Summit was all about cross community collaboration. As a PaaS, OpenShift touches on a lot of different OpenStack projects and related communities: Heat, Neutron, Nova, Docker, and now Solum to name a few. It's important that we not only understand these projects, but participate actively in their design and development process.

As the OpenShift Origin Community Manager, and a huge fan of OpenStack, I was thrilled to get to attend the Hong Kong Summit, to chair the "Apps on OpenStack" track, participate in a panel on Why Enterprise Developers Should Care about OpenStack with such industry luminaries as Lew Tucker (Cisco), Chris Ferris (IBM), & Adrian Otto (Rackspace) and then moderate the closing panel on PaaS with participation from OpenShift, Docker, & Solum communities.

Six months ago at the Portland Summit, we demo-ed deploying and auto-scaling OpenShift on OpenStack with Heat, OpenStack's Orchestration Engine which at that time was still an incubating OpenStack project. Over the past months, the OpenShift team has been working closely with the Heat Community and the Red Hat RDO team to deliver the production-ready Heat templates for both OpenShift Origin and for OpenShift Enterprise which to much applause, Chris Alfonso presented in his "Deploying OpenShift on OpenStack" lightning talk. The work that went into these Heat Templates not only helped make it easier to deploy OpenShift on OpenStack, but they helped to create a set of examples of the use of Heat for more complex applications--a win-win for everyone.

Also of note at this Summit, the OpenStack foundation accepted a new hypervisor project to support Docker containers as part of OpenStack Compute (Nova) which is a big endorsement of Docker community efforts. Docker is an open-source engine which automates the deployment of applications as highly portable, self-sufficient containers which are independent of hardware, language, framework, packaging system and hosting provider. A number of members of the OpenShift team have been actively contributing to Docker and to the efforts to integrate Docker into an upcoming release of OpenShift.

Unless you are living in a walled garden or under a rock you have probably also heard about the latest OpenStack-related initiative called Solum which was kicked off by RackSpace's Adrian Otto and has quickly (and not so quietly) gained a lot of traction amongst PaaS vendors such as ourselves and folks at Ebay who are looking to natively via an API, leverage OpenStack services for application lifecycle management in a big way.

OpenShift's Clayton Coleman and Krishna Raman were front and center in a lot of the design conversations that occurred in the “unconference” section of the Summit and on the final day of the conference I got to moderate a PaaS All-Stars Panel entitled "Putting the PaaS in OpenStack" with Sam Alba of Docker.io, Adrian Otto of Rackspace, Clayton, Krishna Raman and Chris Alfonso, which allowed us to pull all the different threads of conversations into a round-up on the State of PaaS on OpenStack with a healthy dose of audience participation in the Q&A.

Conclusion

Red Hat's cloud strategy of including both the IaaS & PaaS layers in our cloud product offerings is definitely the right one. It's clear from the audience participation that when deploying OpenStack, there's a very high interest in making sure there's a PaaS available in order meet the expectations of most organizations these days. Making sure that OpenShift deploys, auto-scales & runs optimally on OpenStack has been a commitment and a top priority of the community and will continue to be. We're all excited to see what happens over the next six months and we're looking forward to the next OpenStack Summit in Atlanta in 2014!

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