OpenStack Lets Partners, Customers Test Drive Cloud Environment

A trio of cloud titans has teamed together to develop a cloud demonstration and test environment around the open source OpenStack cloud initiative.

Dell, Equinix and Rackspace, one of the founders of the OpenStack cloud play, collaborated to launch the demo environment in three data centers: the Equinix International Business Exchange in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Ashburn, Va., and the Rackspace data center in Chicago, Ill. The three companies also plan to collaborate on additional demo environments in Equinix data centers in Europe and Asia later this year.

The test environment gives SaaS providers, network operators and enterprises that want to deploy cloud solutions the ability to demo OpenStack in a test environment before an OpenStack proof of concept. They can take part in use-case demonstrations and tests of pre-installed applications, or they can run their own apps to gauge their performance. If they decided to proceed with OpenStack, they can use dedicated poof-of-concept environments.

John Igoe, executive director of Cloud Software Solutions at Dell, said the collaboration between Dell, Equinix and Rackspace on the OpenStack demonstration environment is a big step in developing and promoting open cloud standards and gives solution providers the ability to give OpenStack a dry run.

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"It allows service providers and ISVs to evaluate if OpenStack is right for their 'as a Service' offering. It is a great example of the OpenStack community working together to advance the OpenStack platform," Igoe said.

The companies said the demo environment will give companies a way to easily and rapidly assess apps on the OpenStack platform and ease the evaluation process while speeding the deployment of proof of concept applications on OpenStack. The demo and testing environments enable geographically dispersed OpenStack clouds to offer customers the ability to move applications and workloads between them.

The new OpenStack demo environment ties together OpenStack cloud operating software; services and support from Rackspace Cloud Builders; Dell PowerEdge C Intel-based server technology; and Platform Equinix, a global delivery platform of 92 data centers in 35 metro areas.

The test and development environments come just nine months after Rackspace and NASA teamed up to unveil OpenStack, an open source, community-driven cloud initiative to which dozens of partners contribute to deliver a massively scalable cloud platform for public and private clouds. Since OpenStack launched last July, it has grown into a full-fledged global software community comprising developers, technologists, researchers and more than 50 organizations that collaborate to help companies create and offer cloud computing services that run on standard hardware.

To help partners and OpenStack users get up to speed with the open-source cloud environment, Rackspace last month launched Cloud Builders, a new set of services, support and training options. Along with Cloud Builders, Rackspace has said that OpenStack 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.