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Summary:

OpenStack, the open-source cloud-computing software project founded by Rackspace and NASA, launched a year ago today. It has been a busy year for the project, which appears to have grown much faster than even its founders expected it would, and it’s only picking up steam.

birthday cake

OpenStack, the open-source, cloud-computing software project founded by Rackspace and NASA, celebrates its first birthday tomorrow. It has been a busy year for the project, which appears to have grown much faster than even its founders expected it would. A year in, OpenStack is still picking up steam and looks not only like an open source alternative to Amazon Web Services and VMware vCloud in the public Infrastructure as a Service space, but also a democratizing force in the private-cloud software space.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the past year — at least what we covered — and what to expect in the year to come.

OpenStack year one

July

October

January

February

  • Feb. 3: OpenStack releases “Bexar” code and new corporate contributors, including Cisco.
  • Feb. 10: Rackspace buys Anso Labs, a software contractor that wrote Nova, the foundation of OpenStack Compute, for NASA’s Nebula cloud project.

March

April

May

July

Although the new code, contributors and ecosystem players came fast and furious, OpenStack wasn’t without some controversy regarding the open-source practices it employs. Some contributors were concerned with the amount of control that Rackspace maintains over the project, which led to the changes in the voting and board-selection process. Still, momentum was overwhelmingly positive, with even the federal government supposedly looking seriously at OpenStack as a means to achieving one of its primary goals of cloud interoperability.

What’s next

According to OpenStack project leader Jonathan Bryce, the next year for OpenStack likely will be defined by the creation of a large ecosystem. This means more software vendors selling OpenStack-based products — he said Piston is only the first-announced startup to get funding — as well as implementations. Aside from public clouds built on OpenStack, Bryce also thinks there will be dozens of publicly announced private clouds build atop the OpenStack code. Ultimately, it’s a self-sustaining cycle: More users means more software and services, which mean more users.

There’s going to be competition, he said, but that’s a good thing for the market because everyone will be pushing to make OpenStack itself better. The more appealing the OpenStack source code looks, the more potential business for Rackspace, Citrix, Piston, Dell, Internap and whoever else emerges as a commercial OpenStack entity.

If this comes to fruition, it’ll be a fun year to cover cloud computing and watch whether OpenStack can actually succeed on its lofty goals of upending what has been, up until now, a very proprietary marketplace.

Image courtesy of Flickr user chimothy27.
Infographic courtesy of Rackspace.

  1. Rohan Verma Monday, July 18, 2011

    Interesting article!

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  2. I like how the “Open Stack” initiative is really a Rackspace initiative… This is a ploy for competitive positioning and they have everyone by the hook. Don’t believe me? Go to 3:30 in this video -> http://vimeo.com/18801027

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  3. Great timeline. For another take on OpenStack’s first year, see the blog “Cloud Computing Today” at:

    http://cloud-computing-today.com/2011/07/20/openstacks-first-birthday-a-year-in-review-2/

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