Rackspace And NASA Donate Code For Open Source Cloud Platform
Rackspace Hosting and NASA have committed their software to a newly launched open source cloud platform called OpenStack
Rackspace Hosting this morning has officially launched OpenStack, an open-source cloud platform that it hopes will drive the uptake of cloud apps, prevent vendor lock-in and encourage cloud interoperability.
Currently the second largest provider of cloud hosting services, Rackspace has donated the source code that powers its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public-cloud offerings to the OpenStack project. NASA is also donating code, and vendors including Citrix and Dell are supporting the project.
Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK, Fabio Torlini, head of Cloud EMEA at Rackspace, said that the announcement is a win for Rackspace and a win for the industry. “At the moment, we have just short of 100,000 cloud customers,” Torlini said. “Essentially, we have three cloud products, the first of which is Cloud Files, which is a cloud storage platform that already has 1 petabyte of data.
“Our second cloud offering is Cloud Servers, which has 60,000 virtualised servers, and the third product is Cloud Sites, which is a basic cloud computing platform that allows customers to upload their own code such as a blog etc.”
These offerings are hosted in the US, with the UK set to see the arrival of Cloud Files and Cloud Servers in October or November this year.
“We already have two really large and popular cloud platforms,” said Torlini, “but we are now giving our code away so that people can replicate those services. We are doubling our cloud users at the moment and are doing well, but overall we think cloud offerings are not gaining as much traction as possible. So yes, going open source opens us up to more competition, but we think we can differentiate ourselves and grow the overall market.”
“Right now there are no competitors to this,” said Torlini. “The closest is Amazon with EC2, but that is a closed platform.”
And OpenStack has gained some big name partners, including the US space agency NASA, which already operates its own cloud computing service called NASA Nebula.
According to Torlini, at the OpenStack launch on Monday, the OpenStack Object Storage (i.e. Cloud Files) will be available immediately for download and replication at OpenStack.org.
“Any organisation will be able to turn physical hardware into massively scalable and extensible cloud environments using the same code currently in production serving tens of thousands of customers and large government projects,” said the company.
“OpenStack Compute will be available later in the year, because we have to work with NASA to combine our two offerings here (Cloud Servers and NASA Nebula), so that will take a little while,” said Torlini.
Rackspace and NASA plan to actively collaborate on joint technology development and utilise the efforts of open-source software developers worldwide.
“Modern scientific computation requires ever increasing storage and processing power delivered on-demand,” said Chris Kemp, NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for IT. “To serve this demand, we built Nebula, an infrastructure cloud platform designed to meet the needs of our scientific and engineering community. NASA and Rackspace are uniquely positioned to drive this initiative based on our experience in building large scale cloud platforms and our desire to embrace open source.”
“We are founding the OpenStack initiative to help drive industry standards, prevent vendor lock-in and generally increase the velocity of innovation in cloud technologies,” said Lew Moorman, President, Cloud and CSO at Rackspace. We are proud to have NASA’s support in this effort. Its Nebula Cloud Platform is a tremendous boost to the OpenStack community. We expect ongoing collaboration with NASA and the rest of the community to drive more-rapid cloud adoption and innovation, in the private and public spheres.”
Citrix, Dell And Others
Rackspace and NASA have committed to use OpenStack to power their cloud platforms, and Rackspace will dedicate open-source developers and resources to support adoption of OpenStack among enterprises and service providers.
An OpenStack Design Summit hosted by Rackspace was held 13-16 July in Austin, where more than 100 technical advisors, developers and founding members joined to validate the code and ratify the project roadmap.
More than 25 companies were represented at the Design Summit including AMD, Citrix, Cloud.com, Cloudkick, CloudSwitch, Dell, enStratus, FathomDB, Limelight, Nicira, NTT DATA, Opscode, Peer 1, Puppet Labs, RightScale, Riptano, Scalr, Sonian, Spiceworks and Zuora
“OpenStack provides a solid foundation for promoting the emergence of cloud standards and interoperability,” said Peter Levine, SVP and GM, Datacenter and Cloud Division, Citrix Systems. “As a longtime technology partner with Rackspace, Citrix will collaborate closely with the community to provide full support for the XenServer platform and our other cloud-enabling products.”
“We believe in offering customers choice in cloud computing that helps them improve efficiency,” said Forrest Norrod, VP and General Manager of Server Platforms, Dell. “OpenStack on Dell is a great option to create open source enterprise cloud solutions.”