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 19: OpenStack launches.
- Oct. 21: OpenStack announces “Austin” release; promises production readiness by Jan. 2011.
- Oct. 22: Microsoft partners with Cloud.com to bring Hyper-V support to OpenStack.
- Oct. 25:Canonical CEO announces that Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud operating system will support OpenStack.
- Jan. 18: Internap announces first (non-Rackspace) OpenStack-based public cloud-storage service.
- 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 3: OpenStack alters Project Oversight Committee process in response to complaints over Rackspace dominance.
- March 8: Rackspace launches Cloud Builders, an OpenStack service/consultancy offering leveraging the expertise is acquired with Anso Labs.
- April 7: Dell announces a forthcoming public cloud service based on OpenStack software.
- April 15: OpenStack releases “Cactus” code, which incorporates critical new features for enterprises and service providers.
- April 26: CloudBees extends its formerly hosted-only Java Platform as a Service to run on OpenStack-based clouds.
- April 29: AT&T details at the OpenStack Development Summit plans to build a private cloud based on OpenStack. Cisco’s involvement also shapes up at the Summit, as Lew Tucker details Network-as-a-Service proposal.
- May 3: Rackspace announces it will close the Slicehost cloud service to focus all IaaS development efforts on OpenStack.
- May 4: Internap announces first-(non Rackspace) OpenStack-based public IaaS offering.
- May 25: Citrix unveils plans for Project Olympus, the foundation of a forthcoming commercialized OpenStack distribution.
- July 11: Piston Cloud Computing, led by former NASA Nebula chief architect, announces funding and forthcoming OpenStack-based software and services.
- July 12: Citrix buys private-cloud startup (and OpenStack contributor) Cloud.com, promises tight integration between Cloud.com’s CloudStack software and Project Olympus.
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.
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.