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This week marks the second anniversary of the founding of the OpenStack cloud computing platform, and it will be an occasion for celebration in the open-source community. After all, OpenStack is leading a movement in cloud computing, garnering the label of the "Linux of cloud computing," a reference to the hugely successful open-source operating system.
OpenStack started as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing project by Rackspace and NASA, and has grown at a rapid pace with more than 150 companies participating in the project. On Wednesday at the OSCON open-source convention in Portland, Ore., an expected 3,000 attendees will salute OpenStack.
OpenStack is supported by many tech stalwarts, including Dell, HP, IBM, NetApp and Red Hat, all endorsing the OpenStack commitment to open-source development and the use of nonproprietary technologies within cloud stacks. In April, Rackspace turned control of the project over to the OpenStack Foundation, which will continue to develop the platform.
But despite the fanfare surrounding OpenStack, its future isn't completely assured. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), with its automated cloud services model and commonly used APIs (application program interfaces), remains the largest cloud services provider. In addition, other cloud standards have emerged this year to challenge OpenStack. In April, Citrix ended support for OpenStack and instead turned its own cloud platform, CloudStack, over to the Apache Software Foundation, in effect creating a rival open-source cloud service provider.
And if that weren’t enough competition, Eucalyptus, a private cloud stack provider with API compatibility with EC2, in March teamed with Amazon to help its customers transfer workloads between private clouds and Amazon Web Services.
Still, OpenStack proponents say the platform is stronger than ever.
Jonathan Bryce, co-founder of Rackspace Cloud and another member of the OpenStack project policy board, said Rackspace is on a steeper growth curve than Linux at a comparable time, referring to statistics that show OpenStack had 166 companies contributing to OpenStack by the 84th week, while Linux had 180 companies contributing by the 828th week.
"We really see OpenStack as the right way to approach the cloud," Bryce said. "It creates an open ecosystem."