8 resources for understanding the open source cloud in 2017

2017 was a big year for open source cloud computing tools. Here's a look back at some of the most important things you may have missed.
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A cloud agenda


Looking back will always cause you to reflect upon the change you've seen, and this is certainly the case with this year in open source cloud and enterprise infrastructure software. When many of us first became aware of OpenStack, we saw it largely as just a new way to deploy and manage virtual machines. It was interesting, but it was a natural progression from the tools that came before it. But its potential would be much, much more.

2017 presented a different view of the open source cloud, one that continued to include incremental improvements but also broad changes in how technology is being used. Rather than doing the same old thing in a new way, we're seeing open source cloud software enable entirely new paradigms for how technology can be used to power a digital world. The applications we use every day are moving from being cloud-enabled to cloud-native, and the changing definition of what cloud even means with the inclusion of hybrid and edge computing environments offers new potential. OpenStack has been joined by projects like Kubernetes to provide more functionality than ever before.

Let's take a look at some of our cloud coverage over the past year here on Opensource.com and see what you might have missed.

How to explain OpenStack to a complete newcomer

First, let's start with the basics. If you're working with open source technologies in the cloud and you're not already familiar with OpenStack, take a moment and go read Ben Silverman's article that explains OpenStack for complete newcomers. Silverman takes you through what OpenStack provides, offers a little bit about its history, outlines some of the key concepts you should be familiar with, and points you to resources where you can learn more.

Users stand up, speak out, and deliver data on OpenStack growth

So who is using OpenStack? I'm glad you asked. Every six months, the OpenStack Foundation does a survey of the OpenStack user community. Heidi Joy Tretheway takes us through the OpenStack user survey released in spring of this year and what it means in terms of who is adopting the platform, their cloud's stage of development, and in what kind of organization they are operating their clouds. As adoption continues to grow, OpenStack is showing up in new and interesting places.

Edge computing moves the open cloud beyond the data center

One of the most exciting changes in the way cloud software is being used isn't just the scale, although the scale of clouds continues to grow astronomically, but the scope. OpenStack Foundation chief operating officer Mark Collier describes some of the changes coming to the cloud ecosystem as telecoms, manufacturers, and many others are taking computing right to the edge of their network, where the action the systems are monitoring takes place. "Eventually, your mobile devices will be connecting to mini data centers in your coffee shop or even at the end of your street," Collier writes.

Kubernetes: Why does it matter?

One of the projects that was nearly impossible to miss this year was Kubernetes, which has quickly become the de facto standard for container orchestration. But why is Kubernetes so important at this moment? Tim Potter provides a bit of history and explains why Kubernetes is not only providing a technical solution, but also fitting into a cultural solution with the rise of DevOps as an alternative to traditional software development and deployment methodologies.

Getting started with Kubernetes

Okay, so you're convinced that Kubernetes is the future, but how do you actually get started with it? Ben Finkel explains the basic concepts you need to know, from pods to nodes to deployments. He takes you through the basic commands necessary to create and deploy and application on Kubernetes using the Minikube environment on your local machine. Want an added challenge? Then check out Lucas Käldström's take on deploying Kubernetes on a Raspberry Pi.

The changing face of the hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud is all about choice and being able to choose the cloud that makes the most sense for the workloads you need to run. Red Hat's Gordon Haff discusses the definition of hybrid cloud, its history, and what it might mean as application portability in the cloud continues to evolve. Critical to this portability is standardization, particularly as the world moves to containerized infrastructure, and the Linux operating system still provides the key that makes this possible.

What you need to know about hybrid cloud

Want to know more about hybrid cloud and how to decide what components ought to make up your cloud infrastructure decisions? Red Hat's Amit Das explains the many parts of a modern cloud infrastructure solution, as well as the features it provides. Das offers scalability, rapid response, reliability, management ease, security, and pricing as some of the reasons for taking a hybrid approach and further explains where hybrid cloud may be headed in the next years to come.

Why open source should be the first choice for cloud-native environments

One of the most exciting things about the current moment from the point of view of an open source enthusiast is that nearly all of the exciting new developments in infrastructure software are happening in the open and under open source licenses. Elizabeth K. Joseph walks us through some of the history of how we got to where we are now, and how open source is playing an important part in both providing cloud infrastructure, as well as sitting atop and working with more proprietary clouds.

These are a few of my favorite Opensource.com cloud articles from 2017, and I'm excited to see what 2018 will bring. What do you think the open source cloud will look like in the coming year? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jason was an Opensource.com staff member and Red Hatter from 2013 to 2022. This profile contains his work-related articles from that time. Other contributions can be found on his personal account.

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