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Internap Launches First Public Cloud Based on OpenStack Compute

Internap on Thursday said it is offering the first public cloud service based on the compute service of OpenStack, the rapidly growing open source platform aimed at providing interoperable public and private clouds.

More than 100 companies have signed on to the OpenStack project, founded by NASA and Rackspace. Internap's release of what it calls Open Public Cloud is a noteworthy milestone in the evolution of OpenStack, which consists of open APIs that allow portability between cloud providers.

Of course, that portability will only become a reality as more cloud providers offer compute services based on OpenStack. Rackspace is in the midst of doing so, as recently reported, and others such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard are planning to do the same. But it also allows for compatibility with private OpenStack-based clouds.

For its part, Internap will offer two cloud services: Open Public Cloud and Custom Public Cloud. The latter is based on VMware's vCloud Director platform and is likely to be preferred for enterprise applications requiring high availability, said Paul Carmody, Internap's senior VP of product management and business development.

Enterprise CIOs "are looking for a place for their internal private cloud to land, they want a VMware based platform because that's what they already virtualized on," Carmody said. "In addition, they may be running some commercial applications that are only certified to run in VMware VMs, so they need that landing place, it's a great answer for that audience."

The OpenStack-based cloud service will appeal more to startups or those looking to host Internet-based applications, according to Carmody. It will also be appropriate for those who want to use it for development and testing.

Besides portability, the appeal of Internap's OpenStack-based service will be cost. While he wouldn't discuss pricing other than to say both offerings will be based on the common usage-based model, Carmody said Open Public Cloud will be a less expensive option. That said, it will lack the performance of its Custom Public Cloud offering, he acknowledged.

"Obviously, OpenStack cloud is priced to be more of a cost-effective type cloud offering, where VMware is a more feature-rich HA-type environment," Carmody said. "Clearly, OpenStack itself is a maturing platform, it's a great starting point. There are features that will develop over time. I'd say VMware is very mature from a networking sophistication standpoint. You can construct fairly complicated application, networking topologies inside of VMware using vCloud Director that aren't currently supported by OpenStack. We think those networking complexities will mature over time with OpenStack, as well."

Indeed, the next release of OpenStack, code-named Essex, will focus on improved networking. The consortium is developing an API that dynamically requests and configures virtual networks. It will also offer advanced networking and virtualization capabilities.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 10/27/2011 at 1:14 PM


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