Earlier today RackSpace announced that they are releasing their Cloud technologies as Open Source under the newly formed project OpenStack. RackSpace is the second largest cloud provider, behind cloud computing pioneer, Amazon. They have partnered with some of the largest names in the industry to create Open Stack including NASA, Dell, Citrix, AMD, Intel, Right Scale and many others. Read on to see why this matters.
This is a different kind of open source. OpenStack isn’t just a single product, but rather a platform. The intent here is not to compete with Xen or similar solutions, but rather provide completely open standards and code so that anyone can 1. conform to the existing implementation and 2. so any provider can offer their own (fully compatible) cloud hosting offering. Additionally everyone will benefit from the contributions of everyone else. Zimbra is a similar solution, also a platform built on many existing Open Source solutions like postfix.
Sounds like WebKit. In a similar way, Apple took webkit from the KDE project, added features and functionality and released it as Safari. Then google took the same webkit engine and built Chrome around it. The core webkit engine now powers most browsers (except IE and Firefox) and nearly all mobile platforms. Everyone benefits from the contributions of everyone else.
RackSpace has graciously determined that interoperatibility and openness was better for everyone (including them) than the existing lock in approach offered by Amazon, Microsoft and others.
Wide adoption of an open-source, open-standards cloud should be huge for everyone. It means customers won’t have to fear lock-in and technology companies can participate in a growing market that spans cloud providers.
The open source software model has been proven to promote the standards and interoperability critical to the success of our industry. The explosive growth of the internet can be attributed to open, universal standards like HTTP and HTML.
The early Cloud offerings, however, have bucked this trend and are largely proprietary. No one benefits from a fractured landscape of closed, incompatible clouds where migration is difficult and true transparency is impossible.
This isn’t a small play. It will dramatically change the landscape of cloud offerings and will serve to propel cloud computing into the future. In time it will ensure better security, performance and interoperatibility between providers.
- Rackspace, NASA launch OpenStack: Can it prevent cloud lock-in? (zdnet.com)
- OpenStack.org: RackSpace Open Sources Their Cloud Services Platform, And Gets NASA On Board (techcrunch.com)
- Rackspace Launches OpenStack – Open Source Cloud Computing Software (openstack.org)
- OpenStack: An Open Source Cloud Project Emerges (gigaom.com)
- Rackspace Releases Cloud Stack As Open Source (news.slashdot.org)
OpenStack – Open Source Cloud Computing Software (webappers.com)