Dell, Rackspace, Equinix Launch OpenStack Demo Environment for Cloud App Testing

Dell, Equinix and Rackspace have teamed up to launch an OpenStack demo environment on Wednesday in a bid to get customers to test cloud-based apps on the platform.

The three vendors hope the demo environment will encourage customers to engage in proof-of-concept tests using the OpenStack platform. The demo is the first implementation of geographically dispersed datacenters running on OpenStack.

The OpenStack cloud operating system, an open source platform that provides compute and storage, originated from code developed by Rackspace and NASA, which built the NASA Nebula Cloud Computing Platform. With 50 organizations now contributing to the effort, OpenStack is aimed at building large scalable public and private clouds. With OpenStack, customers can run apps in their datacenters and through public cloud providers and shift workloads as desired.

"As new customers are gaining interest about OpenStack, we want to show them a demonstration environment of what's possible with an OpenStack deployment," said Lou Najdzin, Equinix director of global cloud computing and IT services. "Once they get comfortable with the demonstration environment, they would then move to a proof of concept with the three parties."

The demo environment will be hosted in the Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) in Silicon Valley and Ashburn, Va., and in the Rackspace datacenter in Chicago. Equinix plans to make it available in datacenters in Europe and Asia during the next quarter.

Dell will be providing its PowerEdge C servers to the effort. Barton George, Dell's cloud computing and scale-out evangelist, said the demos will provide customers with a way to test OpenStack without having to open themselves up to any substantial risk or investment.

"We want as many people out there adopting OpenStack on our systems as possible," George said. "So we're looking to provide complete solutions -- in this case, we're providing the systems that run underneath it based on the experience we've had developing these scale-out types of systems."

Mark Collier, vice president of marketing and business development at Rackspace, emphasized that the tests will show the ability to run applications on OpenStack in multiple environments.

"One of the benefits of OpenStack is you can run it in any datacenter you want -- your own, with somebody who has incredible reach like Equinix, and of course there's always the option of running at Rackspace," Collier said. "But really it's about giving the customer that choice, and wherever they want to run it, OpenStack gives them that freedom."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.