OpenStack: 'Think Apache for Web Servers or Linux for Operating Systems.'
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 platform.....
JAXenter: First of all, OpenStack is a brand new project. Could you explain to our readers what OpenStack is all about?
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 standard.
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 OpenStack.org very soon.