As an open source community, OpenStack may be vendor-agnostic, but with no community regulation, it has been difficult for consumers to know which products are compatible with their systems.
Mirantis, an OpenStack distribution provider, is pushing the OpenStack community as a whole to certify the various drivers needed to make OpenStack clouds run. IT certifications have traditionally been vendor-specific, but this new approach is aiming to open-source certification for the cloud.
The OpenStack community is now building a standard, open set of tools that vendors can use to self-certify compatibility of their solutions with the upstream OpenStack codebase. Vendors will set up their own internal testing labs, which will link to the community-driven OpenStack system to display the certification and compatibility results on a public dashboard.
The certification initiative would allow those looking to adopt OpenStack to have access to accurate and objective information on how well a vendor's solution works with OpenStack with no involvement on behalf of a downstream distribution vendor.
For example, if an IT person has EMC storage in-house and wants it managed via OpenStack, there will be a place for that person to now go and see what specific EMC storage products work with what version of OpenStack.
Boris Renski, executive vice president for Mirantis, says the initiative will also help to open up the market for smaller vendors who may have better solutions, but are not visible behind market leaders.
"The reason I am particularly excited about this is because this initiative advances a bigger mission of the OpenStack community," he said. "That bigger mission is about breaking down competitive barriers that large vendors leverage to extract unfair margins from customers and slow the pace of infrastructure innovation.
"Today, many who criticise OpenStack are stuck in the mentality that OpenStack is just open source cloud software, where in reality it is an infrastructure commoditization movement. Ultimately, OpenStack is not about the software. It is about establishing an even playing field where innovative technologies stand a chance against the big dogs.
Renski added: "With this initiative OpenStack is once again redefining the boundaries of open communities, while pushing the vision of vendor-agnostic cloud closer to reality."
The initiative will involve exposing objective information with regard to drivers and plug-ins that third-party vendors write (like NetApp, VMware, Ceth, and others) about compatibility with particular versions of OpenStack.
The process by which vendors will be able to certify their solutions will not initially be independently verified by a third party. At this point, the testing will be a self-audit, with vendors deploying the tests in their internal test labs and linking directly to the upstream OpenStack Continuous Integration (CI) system.
Renski said several key vendors both inside and outside the OpenStack community are already onboard, including AT&T, Citrix, Dreamhost, NetApp, VMware, and Yahoo!