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OpenStack Gains Ground

NASA and Rackspace Hosting last week commemorated the six-month anniversary of their open-source cloud effort by announcing it has more than 40 partners on board. One of those partners, Internap Network Services, said it is building a cloud storage platform based on OpenStack.

Rackspace chairman Graham Weston believes OpenStack will become a key factor in open-source cloud computing. The goal is to provide portability among cloud providers who build their infrastructures on OpenStack. "At Rackspace we think OpenStack is the next Linux," Weston said in a company-produced video posted on the OpenStack Web site.

OpenStack is a cloud operating system freely available under the Apache 2.0 license. Rackspace decided to open source the code behind two of its cloud services: CloudServers and CloudFiles, compute and storage offerings, respectively. Through the process of open sourcing those, Rackspace learned that NASA was working on some similar technology and was interested in open sourcing its effort. As a result, in July both combined efforts and launched OpenStack.

Currently OpenStack consists of two core efforts: OpenStack Compute and OpenStack Object Storage. OpenStack Compute is software designed to deploy and manage large clusters of virtual private servers, while OpenStack Object Storage is designed to scale terabytes and petabytes of data.

From the outset, the OpenStack consortium launched with 25 partners. Now it has more than 40 including Citrix, Dell, Intel, as well as smaller companies like Internap, CloudKick, Cloudscaling, Limelight Networks, RightScale and Gigaspaces.

"If they can spread this platform, it gives them a better way to compete," said Redmonk analyst Michael Cote. "There's been a huge amount of interest." Outside of NASA and Rackspace, Internap is the first cloud provider to implement it in a product.

For its part, Internap said it has released to beta Internap XIPCloud Storage, a public cloud storage service aimed at complimenting its managed hosting service. The company is building its elastic cloud storage service using OpenStack, said Scott Hrastar, senior vice president of technology at Internap.

While Hrastar admits OpenStack's availability was good timing, he told me "we're a big proponent of the open-source community aspect of the project and just saw it as a natural way for us to build on top of an interesting and differentiated solution."

A new version of OpenStack, code-named "Bexar," is slated for release early next month. Bexar represents a stabilization of the code base, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Oversight Committee and co-founder of the Rackspace Cloud.

"It's been a lot of fun to see it grow and see it really pick up momentum and see the software improving," he said.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/25/2011 at 1:14 PM


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