Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, June 24, 2024

Open Cloud Development Gaining Momentum 

The open source movement coalescing around cloud computing has shifted in two years from developers trying to figure out core features and functionality to today's cloud projects generating "enterprise-ready" software.

That's the key conclusion of the Linux Foundation's latest assessment of open cloud projects such as OpenStack, CloudFoundry and Docker along with a handful of emerging efforts like Apache Mesos, CoreOS and Kubernetes.

In a white paper released on Wednesday (January 20), the open source advocate also gauged the progress of emerging technologies since issuing its first cloud guide in October 2013. Among the new categories are cloud operating systems, software-defined networks and the virtualization of network functions.

“Open source and collaboration are clearly advancing the cloud faster than ever before," Amanda McPherson, chief marketing officer for the Linux Foundation, said in a statement releasing the study.

"Just consider the many OpenStack distributions and ecosystem emerging around Linux containers that didn’t even exist a year ago," McPherson added. "Yet, as the open source cloud evolves so quickly, it can sometimes be difficult for enterprises to identify the technologies that best fit their needs.”

Last year was widely seen as the time when enterprises started executing on their cloud strategies. The Linux Foundation's report argues that the critical mass of open cloud projects and the general trend toward open source development could mean that "2015 will be the year that enterprise developers and applications begin a wholesale migration to the cloud and companies take another step toward delivering web-scale IT."

In areas like web transactions, hyperscale giants like Facebook are already laying the foundation with open source projects like a MySQL relational database effort that includes Google, LinkedIn and Twitter along with new member Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

The white paper describes no less than 35 open source projects at various stages of development covering areas ranging from infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service to provisioning and management tools. The report also describes a batch of open source storage projects, including Apache Cassandra and file system efforts like Ceph and GlusterFS.

At least four hypervisor and application container projects are described, including Docker and Linux containers as well as the KVM "lightweight hypervisor" and the Xen cross-platform software hypervisor.

Among the open source cloud operating systems are Apache Mesos cluster management tool, the CoreOS Linux distribution targeting large-scale cluster deployments and OSv designed to run individual applications on top of a hypervisor.

Among the new open cloud developments highlighted in the white paper are "lightweight" operating systems tailored to web apps, mobile and embedded systems. "While this is still an emerging area, the technology is sound and promises to lay the foundation for an even larger cloud ecosystem around mobile computing and the Internet of Things," the paper notes.

Along with open cloud projects, the Linux Foundation also is getting behind industry standards efforts in related areas like the Intel Corp.-led Open Interconnect Consortium that is developing interoperability specs for connected devices that would underpin the Internet of Things.

In addition to open standards, the Linux Foundation is also promoting IoT collaborative code development since, according to Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, common code bases remains a sure-fire way to promote innovation.