Three Reasons the OpenStack Community App Catalog Will Be a Game Changer

Boris Renski - May 19, 2015 -

Today the OpenStack Foundation launched the community app catalog, an initiative driven by the foundation, but made possible through the support of many community members who have helped build the catalog as well as contributed their apps. Industry giants like Oracle and Google have combined forces with infrastructure innovators like Apcera, CoreOS, ActiveState and others in support of this effort.

The launch of the community catalog is a turning point in OpenStack evolution. It signifies a shift in focus from infrastructure vendors to application providers. With dozens of enterprises like Wells Fargo, Paypal and Walmart now having publicly testified to running OpenStack in production, the OpenStack focus is evolving from “how do we make it work” to “how do we use it.” OpenStack’s prepubescent days were accompanied by several years of infrastructure vendors announcing their embrace of the platform. OpenStack puberty must be accompanied by application and developer tools vendors doing the same. Community App Catalog is a vehicle to make that happen. Here is why everyone must pay close attention:

You Can Run It In-House

The key problem with today’s application marketplaces and container repositories is that enterprises don’t go outside the firewall to pull their application assets. They need something they can control and something that is hosted on-prem. Hosted catalogs are cool for developers to tinker with, but are mostly useless for enterprise needs.

Unlike AWS Marketplace, Azure Marketplace or Docker Hub, OpenStack Community App catalog is the first one to be developed by a diverse open community under an Apache 2.0 license. The on demand version is hosted by a non-profit foundation with no vendor affiliation and anyone can download the catalog and deploy their own version in-house right here.

Deploy Cool Stuff Like Kubernetes, Hadoop, Cloud Foundry with a click

Today’s application catalogs are designed for application assets comprised of a single machine image or a single application container. For instance, an application could be a MySQL database running inside a VM. But what if you want to deploy an HA MySQL instance across three VMs in various zones with Gallera, Corosync etc.? You are in for a lot of fun with Linux CLI and BASH scripts.

Linux was pulled into the mainstream by its applicability for web workloads and, specifically, LAMP stack. The new equivalent of LAMP stack in web-scale world are cool things like Kubernetes, Mesos, Hadoop, Cloud Foundry etc. But all of them are comprised of many highly distributed microservices and require deployment and orchestration engines designed for a highly distributed environment.

As OpenStack strives to be relevant in the microservices-driven world, much like Linux was relevant in the LAMP stack world, the OpenStack application catalog needs to play nice with distributed applications…. and it does…  Powered by Heat and Murano, OpenStack projects originally designed for orchestrating microservices in distributed environments, it accomplishes just that. Your experience spinning up a distributed Kubernetes cluster is the same as it would be with pulling an Apache Server docker image from Docker Hub.

Safe and Even Playing Field for All Application Vendors

Every cloud application catalog out there today is hosted by a vendor with an agenda: AWS Marketplace, Azure Marketplace, Docker Hub etc. If I am Oracle, there is a lot of mindshare behind my database and my applications. For the most part, I’d like to limit the extent to which I openly avail them to a competitor and risk advancing their agenda at my expense.

OpenStack Community Application Catalog is the first catalog of cloud assets to be hosted by a completely vendor-neutral, independent, non-profit organization. Making your applications available in the OpenStack catalog is symbolic of embracing the open source momentum; it will advance the momentum behind the open cloud movement, not the agenda of your competitor.
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