Interview: Chris Kenyon Talks About Ubuntu and OpenStack

In this interview at the OpenStack Summit 2013, Chris Kenyon, S.V.P. of Worldwide Business Development at Ubuntu, talks about Ubuntu’s role in OpenStack development.

Inside-Cloud: Chris, Ubuntu has many functions as an OS, what are its applications when it comes to Cloud Computing?

Chris Kenyon: The Ubuntu Server is really where we really started to focus about 5 -6 years ago and the focus was on what the ideal server would look like in a scale-out environment when you’re building many many nodes,10′s, 100′s, 1000′s, 10,000′s.  And we started to think about that world which people call Scale-Out Computing as being very different–Scale-Out is fundamentally different from Scale-Up. Ubuntu Server is very much about Scale-Out Computing and we are obviously here at  the OpenStack Summit and OpenStack is for us the leading solution for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and we’ve had a great history with them focusing on how Ubuntu plays both as the best host operating system as well as a great guest in a cloud environment.

Inside-Cloud: Ubuntu and the OpenStack Community have had a close-knit relationship for several years. Can you give me a little history here?

Chris Kenyon: Well the relationship was born partly out of destiny and it was partly fortuitous. We were working at the time on some Open Cloud solutions with NASA–we were using Eucalyptus then–and they were looking to do their own Open Compute project and then they teamed up with Rackspace to create OpenStack. OpenStack from day 1 has been rather closely tied–almost at the hip–to Ubuntu so it releases 4 weeks before Ubuntu releases so we have time for full system testing. It is probably the case that now 9 out of 10 OpenStack clouds are based on Ubuntu and there is a lot of goodness there in terms of how OpenStack works on top of Ubuntu as a host.

Inside-Cloud: So why is this? Why is Ubuntu the go-to OS in developing OpenStack?

Chris Kenyon: To put it simply, it just works better. We’ve been working on it for 3 years, everyone who is building on it is building it on Ubuntu, the testing, the fixes are on Ubuntu and there are sets of functionality that really only work on it. So it really has become a de facto standard.

Inside-Cloud: Where is Ubuntu and OpenStack relative to enterprise?

Chris Kenyon: OpenStack is rapidly maturing, I think this really is the year of OpenStack by the enterprise. We had Bloomberg on stage yesterday talking about how they are using OpenStack built on Ubuntu– we have Best Buy and Comcast doing the same thing. These are companies with a high level of competency in technology. I think we are now seeing the next wave of adopters coming in and saying, “Okay, I see this works”. It is a huge validation to OpenStack as an ecosystem just by the number of vendors who have joined and the fact that now IBM, HP, Dell are all throwing their weight behind it is very, very significant.

Inside-Cloud: What’s the future–let’s say 2, 3 years down the road–look like for OpenStack and Ubuntu?

Chris Kenyon: I really see OpenStack everywhere. Its one of these things where traditionally in the industry we overestimate how quickly change will happen but we underestimate just how significant the change will be. OpenStack will become THE standard way of doing compute in the enterprise across the board over the next 15 years. The early adopters got behind it, now all of the large vendors are behind it. This how we will think about Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid cloud.