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UPDATE: As Open Source Cloud Options Grow, OpenStack Plods Ahead

While it took longer than planned, Rackspace, the first OpenStack co-sponsor and co-contributor along with NASA, says its cloud compute service is now based on the OpenStack platform. That means Rackspace has transitioned its existing Cloud Servers compute service to OpenStack, though it had originally gunned to have that work done by the end of last year. Customers can start utilizing it May 1.

It's always a good thing that the key sponsor is eating its own dog food. But OpenStack is a work in progress with much functionality to be added. The OpenStack Project’s backers are meeting this week in San Francisco for the OpenStack Design Summit and Conference.

Some beg to differ but the OpenStack effort appears to have the most momentum of the variety of open source efforts in play with 155-plus sponsors and 55 active contributors. It just gained two new heavyweights with IBM and Red Hat acknowledging they are on board.

The news comes as another OpenStack supporter, Hewlett-Packard, last week launched HP Cloud Services. Dell today also launched its Emerging Solutions Ecosystem, a partner program to bring interoperable and complimentary tools to its Dell Apache Hadoop and Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud solutions.

The first three Dell partners are Canonical, which is using Ubuntu's Linux distribution to power Dell's OpenStack solution, cloud infrastructure vendor enStratus and Mirantis, a provider of OpenStack infrastructure and apps. Mirantis said it has already completed a number of private cloud deployments with Dell. Mirantis provides custom solutions that work with Dell's OpenStack-based hardware, software and reference architecture.

Yet despite these latest milestones for OpenStack, critics argue it is far from mature. Perhaps the most prominent critic is member Citrix, which two weeks ago broke ranks from OpenStack and released to the Apache Software Foundation an alternative, CloudStack. While OpenStack is an alternative to Amazon, CloudStack is aiming to provide interoperability with it.

Another open source cloud operating platform that supports compatibility with Amazon is Eucalyptus, which last month inked an agreement with Amazon enabling it to license the Amazon Machine Interface APIs. On the heels of that agreement, Eucalyptus yesterday announced it raked in $30 million in Series C funding from Institutional Venture Partners, joining investors Benchmark Capital, BV Capital, and New Enterprise Associates, bringing its grant total up to $55 million.

Eucalyptus and Amazon don't support OpenStack. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier called out Amazon in a CRN interview as a proprietary cloud provider that locks its customers in.

Meanwhile, the OpenStack Project is looking ahead. The group earlier this month issued its latest release cycle of the platform, called Essex. The new release adds support for a Web-based dashboard, code-named Horizon, for managing OpenStack clouds and an identity and authentication system, code-named Keystone.

The next release on the agenda is Folsom, which will add a number of new features, many of which are being determined at this week's OpenStack Summit. A key area of focus will be on a project code-named Quantum, which will provide advanced networking, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Policy Board and co-founder Rackspace Cloud.

"That will bring some really great capabilities for managing networks and not just routing traffic to virtual machines and back out to the Internet but creating complex network configurations that let you do more advanced security, that lets you do quality of service, VLAN management, really the kinds of things that enterprises want to do," Bryce said. The release goal for Folsom is this Fall.

Also on the open source front, the VMware led Cloud Foundry initiative last week celebrated its first anniversary, by announcing it has successfully recruited partners ranging from service providers to ISVs to build PaaS-based services and private cloud solutions based in its stack. The latest are Cloud9, Collabnet, ServiceMesh, Soasta and X.commerce.

Cloud Foundry last week also demonstrated the deployment of an application to four Cloud Foundry-based clouds. Each took only a few minutes and didn't require code changes. Cloud Foundry also open-sourced under an Apache license BOSH, a tool to facilitate the deployment and management of instances to Cloud Foundry. So far it has received support from VMware for vSphere and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Partners supporting Cloud Foundry can build platform as a service (PaaS) clouds that run on premises, off site or by service providers and is viewed as a competitor to other PaaS offerings such as Microsoft's Windows Azure, Google App Engine and's Heroku and

Update: Based on clarifications from companies mentioned in this blog, we've corrected the fact that Rackspace Cloud Servers already supported object storage services, code-named Swift. Rackspace Cloud Servers on May 1 will support OpenStack compute, storage and networking services. It also clarifies the fact that new in the OpenStack Essex release is a Web-based dashboard, code-named Horizon, and identity services, code-named Keystone. Swift is not part of Essex. -- JS.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on April 19, 2012


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