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OpenStack claims open source integration problems are holding back enterprise innovation

The OpenStack Foundation claims the open source community has a collective problem with product integration, making it difficult for users to realise the full potential of their IT investments

Enterprises are struggling to realise all the benefits of using open source because of how difficult it is to integrate the various tools and technologies created by individual projects and communities.

That’s according to OpenStack Foundation executive director, Jonathan Bryce, who used the opening keynote at the organisation’s user summit in Sydney to call out the open source community’s collective technology integration problem, and the negative impact this is having on users.

“When I look at our user base, they see all this innovation that’s happening with open source, and they want to take advantage of it. But we have an integration problem in the open source community, and this is preventing users from being able to capture all of the value from our innovative projects,” said Bryce.

Enterprises often find themselves having to create their own workarounds and tools to make the open source technologies they want to use play nicely together, which diverts their time and attention away from delivering the services their customers need.

As a result, Bryce said the OpenStack Foundation was embarking on a multi-year push, focusing on four key areas, to make it easier for users to integrate technologies created by other open source communities with their OpenStack deployments.

“An integration problem in the open source community is preventing users from being able to capture all the value from innovative projects”
Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack Foundation

These areas include encouraging a greater degree of collaboration between various open source communities and getting their members to help address common integration problems that blight their users’ technology deployments.

“You’ve got to find a common use case and reason to do the integration. And sometimes, in the open source world, we show slides like this [featuring various open source community logos] and that’s a little bit of the problem, as this does not make them work together,” he said.

“When we look at the use cases, these are companies which are taking these logos and having to do a lot of the work to make them function together.”

OpenStack Foundation board member Allison Randal said getting the open source community to pool their collective resources to tackle the integration issue would not be without its challenges.

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“You have to build trust across communities, and deliver standard interfaces you can count on when you’re integrating components. Interoperability efforts are really key to making sure these integrations are repeatable, stable and production quality,” she added.

The other two areas of OpenStack’s four-pronged approach will focus on encouraging its community to build the tools needed to bridge the integration gap, and introducing end-to-end testing to ensure these integrations are stable.

“It’s even bigger than integrating technologies, because what we’re talking about here is integrating knowledge across multiple different communities and working together to create well-integrated solutions that meet the users’ needs,” said Randal.

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