OpenStack Turns One; What's Next For The Open Source Cloud?


OpenStack, the Rackspace-led source cloud project, officially marked its first anniversary Tuesday.

And in that year the open source cloud play has changed the cloud game, amassing dozens of participating companies, hundreds of developers and thousands of lines of code, making it one of the most swiftly growing open source projects out there.

"When we started this, we had no idea that anyone was going to care," said Jonathan Bryce, founder of the Rackspace cloud, in an interview. "I thought it was going to be 12 to 18 months before we got developers."

OpenStack now stands as a full-fledged, scalable cloud operating system software that comprises three components: Compute, Object Storage and Image Service. OpenStack also represents the first true open source alterative to major public cloud infrastructure players like Amazon and VMware.

Since OpenStack's launch on July 19, 2010, which included 25 contributing member companies, OpenStack quickly ballooned to include 80 participating companies and 217 developers. Participating companies include major players like Cisco, Citrix, Dell and others; and startups like Piston Cloud Computing, Nephoscale and Sonian.

Rackspace has said that OpenStack also creates a host of opportunities for the channel, enabling partners to contribute code, use the platform as a deployment target for client applications, add it on as a part of their software stack or launch consulting services around it.

Rackspace, itself, also launched a set of services around OpenStack called Cloud Builders, an OpenStack-based services, support and training unit.

OpenStack's success, Bryce said, stemmed from a hunger for a new cloud OS and the cloud market opening a new way to consume IT infrastructure. OpenStack struck at the right time with an open alternative.

"This is something that people wanted and needed," he said.

But OpenStack's success was sort of a double-edged sword. As the open source cloud project grew and gained recognition, its rapid growth required increased management. The OpenStack project ballooned from being non-existent to having 200 developers in just months, and with that 4,000 contributions were submitted and approved. Additionally, the number of participating companies exploded from 25 to 80.

"It's grown so quickly, we have to make sure they community stays healthy," Bryce said, later half-joking "There's no time for rest."

Bryce said the first year of OpenStack focused heavily on building out the ecosystem and development, and getting features and code up to snuff. The three code releases in the first year: Austin, Bexar and Cactus all added new features and functions.

And in September, OpenStack will launch its latest code release, Diablo.

The second year will set its sights on deployments and adding more features to the open source cloud play. In its first year, OpenStack saw dozens of major deployments, including Korea Telecom and Internap, which launched a cloud storage service on OpenStack; and hundreds to thousands of OpenStack clouds launched for test/dev environments, Bryce said. OpenStack has also seen around 35,000 downloads from its Web site.

OpenStack won't rest on its laurels. It will continue to seek new and innovative ways to get its open cloud OS out there. Bryce said pushing for adoption and development will dominate OpenStack year two, while new projects and features like adding new networking support and identity management take center stage.

Overall, however, the first year of OpenStack was a big step forward for the project and for the cloud computing industry as a whole.

"In terms of all the metrics that point to a healthy open source project, we knocked it out of the park," he said. "It's been a much bigger success than we could have hopped and that bodes well for the future."

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