Back from the Austin OpenStack Summit, Antoine Cabot gives us news about the Watcher project

OpenStack is the largest open-source project in the world today. It's an open-source infrastructure manager. The idea is to turn a fleet of machines into a single operating system. 18 months ago, b<>com joined the OpenStack community with the Watcher project that helps optimize resources for cloud services managed by OpenStack. After he got back from Austin where the latest OpenStack Summit was held from April 25 to 29, we asked Antoine Cabot, head of the Cloud Computing laboratory at b<>com and PTL (project team leader) of the Watcher project, about the latest news.

Antoine, you just got back from Austin; could you give us your feelings about this edition?

This is the first time the OpenStack community had been back in Austin, where the first OpenStack Summit was held in 2010. Back then, something like 75 contributors made the trip. For this 12th edition, there were more than 7500 of us. The OpenStack project has grown to huge proportions over the past few years, and half of the Fortune 100 companies use it. Today, 65% of all OpenStack deployments are in production.

The OpenStack Summit is a combination of two events: The Ops Summit, which brings together users who want to take stock of changes in the community, and the Design Summit, which allows contributors to talk with each other to set priorities and guidelines. Joining these two events together helps bring attendee contributions closer to the end users' needs.

b<>com got on board with Watcher 18 months ago. How has the project changed in that time?

OpenStack operates on 6-month cycles, each one corresponding to a new version. The latest version, nicknamed Mitaka, gave way to Newton at the latest summit. During this final phase, our efforts have focused on improving Watcher's architecture in order to make it easier for third parties to incorporate new strategies. We also created tools for developers so that they can more easily deploy Watcher in their development environments and contributed a new graphical user interface. Substantial work has also been done to integrate three new strategies taken from a b<>com project and from two major partnerships with Intel and the University of Zurich (ICCLab).

What are the next steps?

We are now working on the Newton version. Our work is currently focused on integrating a machine learning brick into Watcher that will help improve the quality of the data processed. At the same time, we're working on the framework's scalability so that it can operate on a larger fleet of machines. Naturally, we are also continuing to develop new optimization strategies. We should have about ten of them by the next summit, which will be held in October in Barcelona.

What's more, we have chosen to submit Watcher for integration into the Big Tent, home of "official" OpenStack projects. Such projects must meet four criteria: A publicly completed project, open to the community, with open design and open-source code without licensing restrictions. If Watcher is accepted by OpenStack Foundation's "technical committee", it will be added to the Big Tent and receive additional resources. The OpenStack Foundation also serves as a liaison with businesses, which will make it easier to integrate the project into OpenStack distributions.