The LAMP stack model sheds light on what’s next in open infrastructure.


Tech may come and go in hype cycles but some models endure.

Take the LAMP stack, which gets its name from its original four open-source components: the Linux operating system, the Apache HTTP Server, the MySQL relational database management system (RDBMS) and the PHP programming language. It drove the creation and meteoric rise of an entire industry on open source.

LAMP provided a model that involved multiple open-source projects, each with their own communities. This was not one community creating a monolith and that’s why it worked. Each community was able to focus on what they were good at, which wasn’t feasible in just one community.

If we can’t put aside the egos, AWS will absolutely eat everyone’s lunch. In every industry. Period. Skeptical? We can meet at Whole Foods to discuss it.

Although it was somewhat opinionated as a concept, it did get the operational burden under control and yet it was still modular enough so that each layer could be swapped out. These communities seemed to have struck the right balance. We have every opportunity to replicate this success in the open infrastructure/open cloud area, but only if we work across communities and listen to users.

It’s clear from every user I talk to that they struggle with pulling all the pieces together, particularly in terms of operating the beast once it’s assembled. That’s what they want, but we just aren’t there yet. Within OpenStack itself, we have started to cull options and projects to essentially make it more opinionated, which is helping.

Our opportunity, which is far from trivial, is to rise to the occasion across communities to actually serve the needs of the users, rather than succumbing to ego-driven development. If we can’t put aside the egos, AWS will absolutely eat everyone’s lunch. In every industry. Period. Skeptical? We can meet at Whole Foods to discuss it.

To offer a concrete example, eBay is perhaps the largest OpenStack user in the world. It also happens to have what may be one of the largest deployments of Kubernetes. They deploy them together and it’s very powerful!

What works well about that opinionated combination and what doesn’t? How are the participants in each community doing when it comes to listening to what eBay actually needs and wants out of the combination? It will take more than Kubernetes+OpenStack to form the LAMP stack of the cloud, but they’re a great place to start.

That’s why we recently organized the OpenDev event in San Francisco, with members of many open-source communities looking to build the open edge computing stack. We heard from over 30 organizations, including users like eBay, Verizon, NTT, AT&T, Walmart, and Inmarsat, and industry leaders from Carnegie Mellon, Intel, VMware, Ericsson, Red Hat and Huawei.

They’re taking open infrastructure to some of the harshest environments imaginable: from ships at sea to appliances next to the ovens heating your bagels at coffee shops to massive retail stores handling hundreds of billions of dollars in commerce. For each of these use cases, the old cloud model simply doesn’t work and so it falls upon us to assemble an open infrastructure stack that will.

This event was one concrete step we’ve taken to build something that is both diverse and open, while also being opinionated enough for each use case to actually operate at scale.

Kelsey Hightower, a prominent leader in the Kubernetes community, is taking the next step by organizing a joint Kubernetes-OpenStack event during KubeCon in Austin in December. This is the precisely the kind of leadership we need.

There are many steps left, so join us!

Mark Collier, COO, OpenStack Foundation can be found at @sparkycollier or your local Whole Foods.