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NASA leaves OpenStack orbit

Chris Mayer

One of the founding fathers of OpenStack decides to opt out now that its work is complete

After two years of overseeing the development of the IaaS
juggernaut, NASA have decided to pass the baton on to others,
bowing out of development for OpenStack.

Rumours swirled around in the last few days that NASA officials
were keen to minimize their involvement, now that OpenStack has
picked up sufficient momentum in the marketplace. With commercial
giants such as Red Hat and IBM both now on the
frontline, NASA’s role had taken a backseat whilst publicising the
benefits of the open source cloud infrastructure became

According to
, NASA see their role as co-developer as
being over, and that they’d rather be a ‘smart consumer’ of
commercial cloud services. Karen Petraska, service
executive for computing services at NASA’s CIO office, also said,
after speaking at Uptime Institute’s symposium in Santa Clara
last week, 
that spending resources on commercial
development is not in the government’s remit. Quite rightly in

This also means the end of NASA’s involvement in Nebula, another cloud computing
project that utilises OpenStack.

Let it not be forgotten how instrumental NASA were in giving
OpenStack liftoff – they founded the project back in 2010 with
RackSpace, with a goal to create an alternative open source hub
against the ring-fenced cloud options, flourishing in the process
of those 24 months. Rackspace themselves
recently put their faith behind OpenStack
, in hope of boosting
losses in other areas.

But NASA were there for the early days, helping give OpenStack a
platform to build upon and their input cannot be underestimated.
Just last month, OpenStack Essex appeared and was a rousing
success. Now the commercial players have swarmed on it, with plans
to offer their own options alongside the open source
implementation, it’s a perfect time for NASA to bid farewell.

Thanks for the memories NASA.

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