An initiative underway within the OpenStack community will shift compatibility testing away from proprietary tests to open compatibility tests.
Maybe there's a touch of irony when using the word "proprietary" when discussing an open source platform such as OpenStack, but when it comes to certifications, apparently the OpenStack community believes there is a proprietary issue.
According to Mirantis, which has focused its entire business around its own flavor of OpenStack and a certification program to match, the OpenStack Foundation is building "a standard, open set of tools that vendors can use to self-certify compatibility of their solutions with the upstream OpenStack codebase."
Basically, the problem breaks down this way, noted Mirantis co-founder and CEO Boris Renski, in a blog on his company's website: "As the OpenStack community evolved, it started to commoditize poorly differentiated technologies around it—such as billing and metering systems, proprietary installers and third-party platform tools."
The "big deal" around this, Renski wrote, is that one of the tricks vendors use to create lock-in is by providing vendor-specific certifications. Regardless of whether you want to buy into what Renski is selling, there is something to be said about what he refers to as proprietary certifications.
Granted, there are vendor-neutral certifications in every aspect of technology, including those from the likes of Mirantis, but with an open source platform, it may create even larger problems. The OpenStack community is hoping to solve this issue with a standard set of tools to certify vendor solutions and how they interoperate and integrate with specific flavors of OpenStack.
According to Renski, more than a dozen OpenStack community vendors are already on board, and Mirantis is asking all of its partners to get behind this new vendor-neutral OpenStack certification process.
"We'll be asking all partners integrating with Mirantis OpenStack to formally join this effort and are committed to helping vendors set up their internal testing environments," Renski wrote. "To that effect, we'll also be offering free support to all vendors setting up their internal testing labs. Third-party vendor drivers that haven't been tested following this process will likely be deprecated from the OpenStack trunk by the end of 2014."
In a way, it looks as though the OpenStack community is looking to cut loose some clutter—or, more specifically, cutting loose vendors and applications that don't meet the demands of this new initiative.
For partners, this could simplify things over time. It's not going to provide an immediate benefit, but for those building or supporting clouds based on OpenStack, a test that shows what solutions work with what version of OpenStack should make things somewhat clearer.