[OpenStack Foundation] OSF Open Infrastructure Projects

Jonathan Bryce jonathan at openstack.org
Thu Aug 30 13:47:12 UTC 2018

Hi everyone,

I wanted to provide an update on how things have been progressing with the strategic planning for the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) that we kicked off in 2017 among the TC, UC and Board. Through the course of those discussions last year, we identified several opportunities for the Foundation and community. After the joint meeting in November of 2017, the Board of Directors authorized Foundation staff to start organizing some activities around strategic focus areas and to pilot new open infrastructure projects. At OpenStack Summit Sydney, we announced a new integration strategy, shifting our focus from being solely about the production of the OpenStack software, to more broadly helping organizations embrace open infrastructure: using and combining open source solutions to fill their needs in terms of IT infrastructure. This involves finding common use cases, collaborating across communities, building the required new technology and testing everything end to end[1].

In December 2017, we launched our Kata Containers, our first pilot project [2]. In the first half of 2018, we worked to get Kata off the ground and set up Zuul as a standalone project, and more recently started piloting 2 additional projects, Airship and StarlingX. Through these pilots, we have learned a lot and are now ready to put more structure around the future of our work with additional open infrastructure projects. In June, the Board formed a working group to develop a plan and the policies for this more formal structure. The Board will be reviewing the output of the working group at upcoming meetings, including in September, so now we are looking to get feedback on some of the initial thoughts ahead of the next working group and Board meetings.

As laid out at the end of last year, there are two main concepts that will guide the efforts of the Foundation: strategic focus areas (SFAs) and projects.

Strategic focus areas (SFA)

"Open infrastructure" is an ever-evolving construct, as the computing needs of organizations evolve with the technology. SFAs are driven by usage scenarios and help direct the OSF action to specific segments of the open infrastructure market. The intent is to provide focus and content for use cases without trying to shove every possible type of cloud or deployment scenario into a single bucket. SFAs include all of the activities to achieve a specific strategic outcome (e.g. hosting projects, throwing events, building and managing community activities, education, marketing.)

Defining SFAs is part of the regular strategic planning activities of the OSF Board of Directors. Focus areas may be proposed, discussed, approved or abandoned during strategic reviews. Those strategic reviews should happen as-needed, but at least annually.

Current SFAs include datacenter cloud, container infrastructure, edge and CI/CD.


Projects address the need to build the required new technology to fill the goals of our strategic focus areas.  The OSF enables those projects to be successfully set up as open collaborations, by providing IP management, a set of base collaboration rules (the 4 Opens) and upstream and downstream community support services. Open source projects that do not wish to be set up as open collaborations can still be included and integrated in open infrastructure solutions, however they will see little benefit in being hosted by the OSF.

SFAs and projects do not form a hierarchy. A project does not "belong" to an SFA, however all projects supported by the OSF help achieve the goals of one or more of our defined SFAs, and all projects supported by the OSF follow the 4 Opens. Projects may be composed of several components or deliverables, as long as they are under a common defined scope and governance. Projects go through several recognition stages which define the level of engagement of OSF resources.

Open development hosting

OSF members already maintain a community-operated set of development and CI services enabling open collaboration at a massive scale. As we believe that open source software should be developed using open source tools, these services use only free and open source software. This project infrastructure embodies the 4 Opens and enables projects to follow them. The infra team is working to provide these services more broadly and in a non-OpenStack branded way to avoid the confusion that sometimes happens now when all hosted code resides in OpenStack namespaces. 

Any open source project may be hosted here and does not involve any recognition by the OSF.  For projects that are candidates to become OSF-supported projects, we believe that they should start with code, so hosting them on community infrastructure is a recommended prepatory step.

Stage 1: Pilot projects

As part of meeting the goals of our strategic focus areas, the OSF staff will evaluate projects that fill gaps in open infrastructure adoption or enable specific use cases for OpenStack technologies. The OSF staff (as represented by its Executive Director) can select pilot projects where it identifies promising new technology pieces and encourage them to be set up as an open collaboration following the 4 Opens.

The OSF staff then helps the pilot projects by establishing initial branding, setting up project websites, guiding them to set up proper governance, and understanding and adopting the 4 Opens. Such pilot projects may call themselves "a project supported by the OSF". Current pilot projects are Kata containers, Zuul, Airship, and StarlingX.

Stage 2: Confirmed projects

Within 18 months, a pilot project will be reviewed by the Board, in order to decide on long-term investment of OSF resources to support it.

The Board will review the strategic alignment of the project with the Foundation's SFAs, but also their progress in setting up an effective open collaboration. To that effect, the project first needs to have set up a governance model and have produced at least one release since it was selected as a pilot. The Board will take community input in order to inform its decision, in particular, from the technical leadership of existing OSF projects, in terms of complementarity, and 4 Opens adoption. It should also seek the input from open infrastructure users in terms of SFA alignment.

At that point the Board may decide to confirm the project as a long-term OSF investment, abandon the pilot or defer its decision.

Confirmed projects may call themselves "a top-level project under the OSF". Currently, only the OpenStack project has been recognized by the OSF board (under the bylaws) as a long-term investement for the OSF and therefore belongs to that category.

This represents the basic structure of our current thinking after a few iterations. The next Board meeting will be September 18 and we will review this at that meeting so we can move to fleshing out the detailed work that needs to be done to finalize this around the OpenStack Summit Berlin (potential bylaws changes for instance).



1. http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/foundation/2017-November/002532.html
2. http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/foundation/2017-December/002541.html

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