OpenStack Open-Source Cloud Platform Celebrates Second Anniversary

Rackspace announces a celebration of the second anniversary of the OpenStack open-source cloud computing platform for building public or private clouds.

OpenStack, a popular open-source platform for public and private clouds, celebrates its second anniversary this week.

The O€™Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) will hold an €œOpenStack Day€ to help celebrate the milestone. The OpenStack mission is to enable any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware. OpenStack is used by corporations, service providers, value-added resellers, small and midsize businesses, researchers, and global data centers looking to deploy large-scale cloud deployments for private or public clouds leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open-source community.

In July 2010, Rackspace Hosting and NASA jointly launched a new open-source cloud initiative known as OpenStack. The community's first official release, code-named Austin, was made available just four months later with plans to release regular updates of the software every few months. The latest, and fifth, release of OpenStack is known as the Essex release. The upcoming release, expected in late September, just prior to the OpenStack Summit in October, will be the €œFolsom€ release. Among other new features, €œFolsom€ will feature a new network service known as €œQuantum,€ which will control network virtualization.

€œJuly 19 marks the two-year anniversary of OpenStack,€ said Jim Curry, general manager of Rackspace Cloud Builders, which runs OpenStack-based private clouds for customers in any location worldwide. He also led Rackspace's efforts to establish and manage the OpenStack community, and has been responsible for driving the initiative until it transitions to an independent foundation later in 2012.

€œWe€™re approaching a major milestone in reliability and usability of the platform,€ Curry said. €œAnd Rackspace is going 100 percent with the platform. Indeed, Rackspace plans to shift its public cloud to the OpenStack code base Aug. 1,he said. "The project has been very successful at rapidly rolling out features."

Rackspace likes to compare the progress and trajectory of OpenStack with that of Linux, sometimes calling it the Linux of the cloud. Curry raises some data comparing the development of OpenStack to Linux, citing stats like OpenStack had 206 contributors on the project by the 84th week in development, whereas Linux had 200 contributors by the 615th week. €œWe have the almost same number of contributors in one-seventh of the time,€ he said. Moreover, OpenStack had 166 companies contributing to OpenStack by the 84th week, whereas Linux only had 180 companies contributing by the 828th week€”almost the same number of companies contributing in one-tenth of the time.

Moreover, some are saying that OpenStack is doing for data centers what the IBM PC did for personal computing: €œOffer a standard platform into which the various components [compute, network, storage, etc.] can plug,€ Curry said.

OpenStack Essex enables users across the globe to leverage pools of on-demand, self-managed compute, storage and networking resources to build efficient, automated private and public cloud infrastructures.

The Essex release was written by more than 200 developers from 55 different companies bringing their unique domain expertise. Essex delivers user-requested features for improved automation, integration across projects, as well as central management and provisioning by leveraging OpenStack's pluggable architecture.

The Essex release adds new features and better project integration across the three pillars of compute, storage and networking. Essex also marks the first full release of two new projects, Dashboard and Identity, which provide additional infrastructure and support across the three pillars: OpenStack Compute (code-named Nova), OpenStack Object Storage (code-named Swift) and OpenStack Image Service (code-named Glance).

In an April 12 post about the Essex release and the OpenStack Foundation, Curry said:

€œToday, the OpenStack community took a huge step toward the creation of the foundation. Nineteen companies, including AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE, Cisco, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing and Yahoo, announced their intent to become Platinum or Gold members of the foundation based on the mission and framework published to date. The list is impressive. Each of these companies contributed to the recent Essex release, and each is committed to providing substantial resources to further the mission of the overall OpenStack community.€

€œThe diversity of contributors, from the smallest startups to the largest companies, is what will keep OpenStack at the forefront of innovation in providing the next generation of computing platforms,€ said Chris C. Kemp, co-founder of OpenStack and CEO of cloud systems company Nebula, in a statement.

€œOpenStack fosters the creation of cloud standards, removes proprietary lock-in for customers, and creates a large ecosystem,€ Mark Linebaugh, vice president of enterprise solutions at Dell, said in a statement. €œAs a result, we€™ve enabled a number of our customers with the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution. The new features and increased efficiency in OpenStack Essex allow us to meet even more customer needs, leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open-source community.€

Curry emphasizes that OpenStack is ready to move to a governance structure under a new foundation and that Rackspace and members of the community are in the process of looking for an executive director to run the OpenStack foundation.

However, OpenStack is not the only big-time open-source cloud game in town. In April, Citrix announced it was contributing its CloudStack cloud computing platform to the Apache Software Foundation.