Will the Chinese Dominate OpenStack?
Who could have guessed that Beijing is home to the largest pool of OpenStack developers in the world? The huge Chinese market has been all but invisible to outsiders until the Chinese OpenStack activities were highlighted at the November 2013 Havana Summit held in Hong Kong.
The notoriously secretive—and firewalled—Chinese are now hosts to 15 percent of the overall OpenStack site traffic. They are rapidly gaining on the United States, which still holds the lead with 30 percent. Will the Chinese take over as the dominant drivers of the largest open source project in the world?
Part of this rapid adoption has been because the Chinese government is actively sponsoring public cloud projects at the local government level, with transit, eGovernment, and healthcare as their primary focuses. There are already five pilot city projects underway, while several Chinese universities are working on building an infrastructure of shared OpenStack clouds. The intention is to scale the Chinese investment in public cloud ten times to meet their 2020 vision.
The Chinese are also investing in OpenStack research. One university group is developing an IPV6 capability for Neutron, the SDN (Software Defined Networking) component. They intend to use IPV6 enabled Neutron to build CERNNET2, which will connect 200 Chinese universities and touch more than three million students.
Another group is working on zudfs, a highly scalable file system optimized for high-speed access to small files. This project lends itself to social media applications and large pools of objects such as photo and document repositories.
OpenStack adoption is also ramping up on the commercial side of the Chinese market. Unlike in the United States where uptake by private companies has been slow and tentative, OpenStack is being embraced by a plethora of Chinese companies. Three of the biggest Chinese private OpenStack implementations include Qihoo360, iQiyi, and Ctrip.
Qihoo360, the second largest Chinese Internet company with only 450 million subscribers, is using it to power its backend systems and its antivirus engine. iQiyi is China’s largest online video service with more than 360 million page views per month. Today, OpenStack provides iQiyi computing resource and object storage of video clips.
Ctrip, the largest online booking platform in China (think Expedia, but bigger and more sophisticated), first started using VMWare, then moved to CloudStack to save money, and recently moved to OpenStack. In less than a year they already have 1000 VDI systems in production in their call centers on an OpenStack cloud with plans to grow to 13,000 in two years. At the Summit, Eric Ye, VP of Technology at Ctrip, demonstrated how they built its versatile mobile apps, which allow users to make reservations using voice technology on the fly on their mobile phones. Too bad it only works in Chinese.
Finally, Hui Cheng, UnitedStack CEO who pioneered using OpenStack in China starting in 2012 when he worked for Sina as an engineer, has since gone on to found his own company to champion the use of OpenStack in China. With all the activities, it does not look like he will have any trouble landing more business.