This blog post was created by Scott Lowe, VMware Engineering Architect in the Office of the CTO. Scott is an SDN expert and a published author. You can find more information about him at http://blog.scottlowe.org/
Additional comments and reviews: Xiao Gao, Gary Kotton and Marcos Hernandez.
In any open source project, there’s often a lot of work that has to happen “in the background,” so to speak, out of the view of the users that consume that open source project. This work often involves improvements in the performance, modularity, or supportability of the project without the addition of new features or new functionality. Sometimes this work is intended to help “pay technical debt” that has accumulated over the life of the project. As a result, users of the project may remain blissfully unaware of the significant work involved in such efforts. However, the importance of these “invisible” efforts cannot be understated.
One such effort within the OpenStack community is called neutron-lib (more information is available here). In a nutshell, neutron-lib is about two things:
- It aims to build a common networking library that Neutron and all Neutron sub-projects can leverage, with the eventual goal of breaking all dependencies between sub-projects.
- Pay down accumulated technical debt in the Neutron project by refactoring and enhancing code as it is moved to this common library.
To a user—using that term in this instance to refer to anyone using the OpenStack Neutron code—this doesn’t result in visible new features or functionality. However, this is high-priority work that benefits the entire OpenStack community, and benefits OpenStack overall by enhancing the supportability and stability of the code base over the long term.
Why do we bring this up? Well, it’s recently come to my attention that people may be questioning VMware’s commitment to the OpenStack projects. Since they don’t see new features and new functionality emerging, users may think that VMware has simply moved away from OpenStack.
Nothing could be further from the truth. VMware is deeply committed to OpenStack, often in ways, like the neutron-lib effort, that are invisible to users of OpenStack. It can be easy at times to overlook a vendor’s contributions to an open source project when those contributions don’t directly result in new features or new functionality. Nevertheless, these contributions are critically important for the long-term success and viability of the project. It’s not glorious work, but it’s important work that benefits the OpenStack community and OpenStack users.
Being a responsible member of an open source community means not only doing the work that garners lots of attention, but also doing the work that needs to be done. Here at VMware, we’re striving to be responsible members of the OpenStack community, tackling efforts, in conjunction and close cooperation with the community, that not only benefit VMware but that benefit the OpenStack community, the ecosystem, and the users.
In a future post, I’ll focus on some of the contributions VMware is making that will result in new functionality or new features. Until then, if you’d like more information, please visit http://www.vmware.com/products/openstack.html or contact us and follow us on Twitter @VMware_OS
Finally, don’t forget to visit our booth at the OpenStack Summit in Boston, May 8-12 2017.