Internap has started beta testing its public cloud storage service, Internap ZIPCloud Storage, which is the first major cloud deployment using the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform.
Internap XIPCloud Storage, which just went into a limited
beta test release, is the first major application using the OpenStack open
source cloud computing platform outside of Rackspace, Scott Hrastar, senior vice president of
technology at Internap, told eWEEK.
The fact that OpenStack Object Storage was an underlying
part of the Rackspace Cloud
Files offering "for a number of years" convinced
Internap that OpenStack was scalable and mature enough to power their new cloud
service, said Hrastar.
Internap spent 18 months reviewing other options, such as a home
brewed platform, and cloud providers such as Amazon, before selecting
OpenStack, said Hrastar. The company had large storage requirements for its
public cloud storage service, and was leery of any kind of vendor lock-in, said
Hrastar. Several Internap developers were already active in the OpenStack
community, and the company has already been supporting the open source cloud
initiative to encourage innovation and support interoperability, he said.
Just as Internap was finishing up its overall cloud
assessment and design, OpenStack became available, according to Hrastar.
OpenStack is a joint project led by NASA and Rackspace
is capable of powering a "ubiquitous" and scalable cloud operating system, Jonathan
Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Oversight Committee and co-founder of
the Rackspace Cloud, told eWEEK. The two main components currently under
development are OpenStack Compute and OpenStack Object Storage. OpenStack
Compute provisions and manages large groups of virtual private servers; OpenStack
Object Storage creates redundant, scalable object storage that can store large
amounts of data, said Bryce.
OpenStack has seen a lot of good traction and pickup by
other companies in the past six months, said Bryce. OpenStack's first release,
"Austin," was in October 2010. The next release, "Bexar," is expected Feb. 3.
Internap building a cloud storage service on top of
OpenStack was significant because it shows the platform is "not just a hobby
for Rackspace and NASA," said Bryce. "We are developing real software for
companies," he said.
RackSpace is interested in "practical innovation" and is
developing OpenStack to solve the vendor-lock-in problem, and to allow
companies to move workloads between different OpenStack clouds regardless of
who owns those clouds, said Bryce. While OpenStack has a "baseline of features
that everyone wants" in a cloud environment, there are innovative features, as
well, he said.
Previously, Object Storage had a 5 GB object size limit, but
this limit has been removed in the latest OpenStack version; Object sizes are
now limited only by the system storage capacity, said Bryce. In addition,
OpenStack's Object Storage modified its upload functionality to allow for
concurrent uploads, where large files are broken up into smaller chunks,
uploaded to the cloud, and then reassembled in the cloud, said Bryce.
For Internap, which has a number of visual media companies
and gaming companies (running MMORPGs) as customers, the concurrent uploads and
unlimited object sizes are significant advantages, said Hrastar.
IPv6 is built-in to OpenStack, according to Bryce. While it
is still not very widespread in the United States, it is widely implemented in
Asia, where the IPv4 address space is "basically gone," he said. Several
Japanese developers are working on OpenStack integrated IPv6 support because
"they really needed it," he said.
Many of Internap's customers are already moving to IPv6 as well,
While pricing was not announced, Hrastar said it will be
"competitively priced" with offerings from other companies like Amazon and he promised
a "higher performance at a given price point." Internap's XIPCloud Storage
service will have a "rapid progression in functionality" over the next several
months via "biweekly or monthly updates" to "deepen" the user experience, he
said. During the beta customers will be able to log into the online portal to
buy storage capacity and network bandwidth, scaling the services up and down as
needed, he said. Internap integrated tools from third-party providers to move
content in and out of storage without the need for additional development work,
Internap currently offers collocation, connectivity, CDN,
and managed hosting services. Many customers have been asking for cloud storage
from the collocation side of the business, Hrastar said.