New OpenStack release reveals lighter Rackspace presence

Folsom dev stats show more diverse community

Just over a week after the launch of the new OpenStack Foundation, the new release of OpenStack Folsom is expected to happen some time today. A new report demonstrates overall growth and less Rackspace influence within this latest version.

The new Folsom release (officially known as 2012.2) will have a whole slew of ramped-up features, including updates to OpenStack's object storage, compute, and dashboard systems. Then there's the brand-new Quantum network service within OpenStack. which essentially provides "network connectivity as a service" amongst devices that OpenStack manages, according to the OpenStack wiki.

Quantum should give cloud tenants an API to build rich networking topologies, like a multi-tier web application topology, as well as configure advanced network policies. It's basically the frame work for a software-defined network within OpenStack.

Folsom is the first Foundation-overseen release of OpenStack, which is still coming under some fire for having too much corporate involvement.

Analytics firm Bitergia has put together an analysis of the source code from the Folsom release, as well as the earlier Essex for comparison, and the tale it tells does reveal a corporate-heavy community.

Here's how the top five companies participating in Folsom development shook out. Rackspace had the largest amount of commits to OpenStack, with 23.54 percent. Red Hat's 20.83 percent followed, then Nebula at 11.22 percent. HP was number four with 4.33 percent, and Isis at 3.48 percent.

But anyone who's ready to cry "foul" at Rackspace for having too much say in OpenStack development may want to hold off. In the Essex release, the ranking of corporate committers was a very similar group, but for Essex, Rackspace employees were responsible for 52.64 percent of commits. In Folsom, Rackspace's contributions were more than halved.

And contributors as a whole jumped up quite a bit. Essex had 47 core contributors (those responsible for 80 percent of commits), while Folsom had 71. Essex had a total of 237 contributors, and Folsom 312.

If you go by actual number of committers from each company, Rackspace was still in the lead, but the corporate lineup is a little different.

  1. Rackspace 47
  2. HP 25
  3. Sina 18
  4. IBM 16
  5. SUSE 10

Bitergia's conclusion sums up the new Folsom release metrics pretty well: "With respect to the overall size and performance of the whole OpenStack development community, all metrics tell a story of growth over the Folsom release cycle."

So what about Rackspace's large involvement? Doesn't that prove critics' point about their heavy-handed control? Well, two releases do not a trend make, but the evidence is clear here that Rackspace's presence within the overall OpenStack community is still very much there but is being reduced, both in percentage of commits and real commit numbers.

Indeed, Red Hat's contributions in Folsom went up significantly as compared to their Essex commits, so you could make the argument that they're the power to watch in that community.

Commits are one thing, governance is another. So it's important to take this as one piece of a larger puzzle and not see it as a whole picture. But in this piece, Rackspace's commitment to ease off and open up the development process seems to be a promise they're keeping.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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