Coding the Future: Computing Power to the People

OpenStack was developed as a way to provide cloud companies of all breeds a path to deploy services and applications on standard computing hardware. The budding Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution was developed over a two-year period in partnership with Rackspace Hosting and NASA. To date, several big-name tech companies have jumped on the OpenStack bandwagon, including Dell, HP, Cisco, Intel and AMD.

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More About OpenStack

The solution implements a combination of two open-source code platforms – NASA’s Nebula platform, and Rackspace’s Cloud Files platform – and is compatible with Amazon’s EC2 platform, and is licensed through Apache 2.0. This means that all the code is available for free, and can be used by anyone for development within the cloud. There are three main components of the OpenStack platform: Compute (Nova), Object Storage (Swift) and Image Service (Glance). Nova focuses on infrastructural resources, Swift is more about cloud storage and Glance enables speedy application deployment by providing registration, discovery and delivery services for virtual disk images.

Open Source Code Matters & Cloud Standardization

It’s no secret that the cloud is in desperate need of standards. Cloud technology is growing and evolving at a rapid rate, yet there are no UI or UX standards for the cloud to date. Each cloud app is approached from a seemingly isolated design and functionality point of view. A lack of standards can have devastating effects on the wide adoption of cloud technology. It’s from this vantage point that OpenStack was created.

Ending the Public vs. Private Cloud Debate

The latest release of OpenStack, née Essex, was developed with an increased focus on security. This is a direct result of the widespread critique of the open cloud’s lack of security. The effort to increase security in the open cloud is a sign that the OpenStack community is maturing and becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to make the cloud more stable. Ending the public vs. private cloud debate rests on the ability for the open source community to prove the public cloud is stable. While this may not sway IT professionals from their closed-only approach, it may influence decisions to implement a more hybrid approach to cloud service deployment and management.

Conclusion: Large-Scale Cloud Standards Just Around the Corner

While the OpenStack platform isn’t perfect by any means, it is telling that more and more large-scale enterprise tech companies are adopting it. Most recently, Sony transferred a portion of their cloud service from the Amazon cloud in favor of the OpenStack platform. This says that on some level Rackspace offers a cloud platform with better security. Sony isn’t the only company testing the open source waters at OpenStack. Companies as diverse as Disney, AT&T and CERN, an Eastern European nuclear science group, joined Sony, as well as 140 others. With big names like these joining the open source ranks at Rackspace, it’s clear that cloud standardization is not only important, but it is a reality that is not far off.