OpenStack Turns 1

openstackFrom the ‘365 Days of Life’ files:

It was 1 year ago today that openstack was officially announced.

I remember the day well, because it was the first time I’ve spoken with Chris Kemp, NASA’s chief technology officer for IT. NASA was one of the key founding members of OpenStack alongside Rackspace.

It is NASA’s Nebula engine that started off as the core compute cloud technology, while Rackspace’s tech is on the storage side.

“We want to see standards emerge in the stack so that components are interchangeable and that gives us the flexibility to solve different problems,” Kemp told me last year.

Fast forward a year and 88 companies have embraced OpenStack as the ‘standard’ that they are trying to achieve for a cloud platform. I’ve spoken with companies big and small ranging including, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Brocade and Canonical. Among PR and Marketing pros that pitch me, the name OpenStack has become synonymous with open source standards.

The promise of OpenStack is the promise that NASA hoped for. It is the promise of an open ecosystem of contributors that are trying to come up a core level of standards. These aren’t standards in the IEEE or IETF sense. These are standards in the same sense as Eclipse has become the standard (Oracle’s Netbeans users might disagree) for Java tooling.

OpenStack reminds me of Eclipse in a number of ways. It’s an open source base, from which commercial vendors will built commercial tools and services on top. The creation of the OpenStack community a year ago was truly a watershed moment for the open source cloud, unless you work for Red Hat.

Red Hat has its own view of the open source cloud and it’s not OpenStack. Sure OpenStack can and does use KVM (Red Hat’s baby after all) but OpenStack is also hypervisor agnostic. Whenever I talk to Red Hat and ask them about OpenStack, the spokesperson will usually tell me that OpenStack is not a concern and they don’t ever see it in competitive bids or customer calls.

With all the vendor and technology momentum behind OpenStack, I suspect that we will see wider actual adoption of OpenStack for public and private clouds sooner rather than later. It is a foundational technology that provides a standardized base for the cloud. It isn’t just a technology for NASA or Rackspace anymore either, it’s another open choice for those looking to build out a cloud infrastructure.

After a year of releases, vendor hype and promise, OpenStack has come a long way. There have been multiple releases so far, with the most recent release codenamed ‘Cactus’ out in April The Diablo release is due out this month.

It’s one thing to announce a project. It’s quite another to have it grow and prosper after a year. OpenStack still needs to grow up though. In my view it still needs the broader governance structure that an organization like Eclipse has developed. It still needs broader authentication mechanisms that work across both storage and compute and it still needs more work on networking (which is in the works). But hey this project is only a year old.

Happy Birthday OpenStack. You’ve come a long way so far and I can hardly wait to see where you’ll be a year from now.

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