OpenStack: ‘Think Apache for Web Servers or Linux for Operating Systems.’

Jessica Thornsby

JAXenter speaks with Rackspace VP Jim Curry, on OpenStack.

is a brand new project that provides open source
cloud computing software, and promotes itself as the “totally open
cloud solution.” JAXenter spoke to the Vice President of Corporate
Development at Rackspace, to find out more about this new project,
and why OpenStack believes the community needs an open cloud

JAXenter: First of all, OpenStack is a brand
new project. Could you explain to our readers what OpenStack is all

Jim Curry: OpenStack is being formed to address
the need for a truly open source alternative in cloud
infrastructure — think Apache for web servers or Linux for
operating systems. We want to make it possible for anyone, anywhere
to stand up a cloud — inside the enterprise, at a service
provider, or integrated in with another commercial offering from
the likes of Citrix – – and to be able to scale to a very large
size. It is being seeded with the code that powers Rackspace’s
cloud platform, as well as components from NASA’s Nebula cloud
infrastructure. Rackspace has been in the cloud business for four
years and today serves tens of thousands of customers, while NASA’s
cloud is two years old and serves the extensive computing needs of
their scientific community. In addition, over 25 founding members
have committed to the principles of the project and will be
providing developers to drive it forward. We believe this strong
community support puts OpenStack in a strong position to become a

JAXenter: What was your intention in creating
an open source cloud platform?

Jim Curry: The major impediment to the adoption
of cloud today by enterprises, is the fear of lock in due to the
lack of a standard framework. Prior to cloud, customers could
easily move workloads running on Linux or Windows environments from
their own datacenters to hosters, from one hoster to another, or
back to the enterprise — with minimal effort. The cloud today is
very different. Every cloud utilizes different technologies and
requires major investments in rearchitecting applications to fit
their framework. Enterprises are therefore afraid to move to cloud
because once there, it is hard to move it back in house or to
another cloud without another significant investment in changing
their applications. By encouraging broad adoption of OpenStack, we
hope to remove such customer fears.


JAXenter: Is Open Sourcing today the only way
to compete with companies like Amazon, Microsoft or Google?

Jim Curry: There will be many types of clouds
that are successful. Rackspace has always competed by providing
Fanatical Support on top of commodity technology. We will do the
same in cloud. When we launched our cloud four years ago, there
were no off the shelf components — open source or proprietary – to
utilize. That situation has not changed much. By driving a
standard, we will be able to focus on what customers really want
from us – great support. That is how we will compete.

JAXenter: Rackspace is providing the project
leads to guide the community of contributors. How will you manage
the process of contributing and community interaction?

Jim Curry: Ultimately, we can only succeed if
the project is healthy. That requires us to actively solicit
participants, not discourage them. Contributions are being reviewed
and merged into the source tree by a set of committers who are
familiar with the code base. These developers include both
Rackspace and non-Rackspace employees. The requirement to be a
committer is simply expertise and involvement.

JAXenter: What is the OpenStack roadmap for the
upcoming year?

Jim Curry: The roadmap has not yet been
finalized. We only began putting together our community roadmap
last week at our initial design summit. We will be publishing the
community roadmap on very soon.

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