Rackspace has cut the umbilical cord with OpenStack, setting up a foundation to lead the open-source cloud-computing project it launched with NASA just a year ago.
A little over a year after
NASA and hosting company Rackspace
, the open-source cloud-computing project is being spun
off to an independent foundation to drive future development efforts.
Rackspace announced the
spin-off and the establishment of the OpenStack Foundation at the OpenStack
Conference in Boston on Oct. 6. The trademark and copyrights will be
transferred to the not-for-profit foundation once it is operational. The
structure and the processes are still under discussion, and Rackspace will
gather feedback about those from the community, Mark Collier, vice president of
business development at Rackspace, wrote on the OpenStack
"The foundation will
need to be flexible enough to attract innovative contributions by organizations
of all kinds, while protecting the OpenStack brand, maintaining a quality
platform and allowing participating organizations to benefit from the shared
development," Josh Crowe, Internap's senior vice president of engineering,
wrote on the company blog.
Many project supporters had
expressed concerns over the past year about the project's governance and what
they viewed as unilateral decision making. Rackspace strengthened its
investment in the project when it acquired
, a company that worked with NASA's Nebula, which is incorporated
into OpenStack, but critics worried it gave the company too much say over the
"Rackspace is trying to
control OpenStack rather than influence it," Rick Clark, a former
Rackspace engineer and an OpenStack contributor, outlined his concerns
about Rackspace's role
within OpenStack earlier this year.
As long as Rackspace owned
the project, developers were concerned they ran the risk of having their code
contributions becoming the property of another company if Rackspace is ever
acquired. "What happens if Rackspace is under new management, say Oracle,
for example?" Clark asked.
Last year, a group of OpenOffice.org
had broken away from the open-source office productivity suite
project after Oracle acquired Sun, the original sponsor of the project, and
seemed to be controlling the OO.org's direction. The developers established the
Document Foundation to support the new LibreOffice. The Linux Foundation
provides a similar supporting structure for the largely independent development
of the Linux kernel. OpenStack Foundation will allow third-party development of
the cloud operating system without vendor control.
"The promise of a
vendor-neutral, truly open cloud standard is within reach," Collier wrote.
OpenStack's goal was to produce
a standardized set of open-source software components for building elastic
cloud-computing environments. It has attracted a large audience of
contributors-about 110 companies and organizations-and adopters, including
Disney, Sony and Fidelity. Both Dell and Hewlett-Packard combine their hardware
with OpenStack to offer cloud-ready products, and Internap and Piston Cloud
Computing offer commercial products and services.
OpenStack is actually a
combination of several different projects, with separate modules addressing
different parts of the cloud environment, such as computing functions, storage
If "done right,"
the foundation will help move OpenStack from a growing open-source project to a
leading platform capable of meeting the world's technology needs, according to
"The news of an
OpenStack Foundation is really the final step in the process of Rackspace
turning OpenStack loose to control its own destiny," Joshua McKenty, CEO
and co-founder of Piston Cloud Computing, told eWEEK.
He said it was an "important move" because it
would help answer "what it truly means to be OpenStack and which
commercial entities can actually call themselves an OpenStack solution."