OpenStack is celebrating its first anniversary, and the open source and cross platform project is claiming a rapidly growing volume of interest in its cloud platform from IT vendors, service providers and potential customers.
A year ago this month, OpenStack was formed as a cloud operating system that ties together pools of standard server systems.
The project was announced as a joint collaboration between Rackspace and NASA, but has now grown to consist of 83 companies including familiar names such as Citrix, Dell, Cisco, Intel and Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical.
Last week, the project held an EMEA OpenStack Day in London to celebrate the anniversary, and about 350 OpenStack partners and prospective customers attended the event.
OpenStack's success can be attributed to a number of factors, but its open source nature and support for all common hypervisors, such as VMware's vSphere, Xen, XenServer and KVM, help assure customers that they will not get locked into a single vendor's proprietary solution.
"There was a vacuum before OpenStack, where people were waiting for some kind of standard to emerge," said Mark Collier, vice president of business development at Rackspace's Cloud Builders support operation.
Collier explained that Rackspace's backing had been important to the project's success. Because the infrastructure firm is so large, it can demonstrate that the platform is truly scalable, he said.
But OpenStack is also vendor agnostic as well as hypervisor agnostic, and this flexibility "gives people the confidence that they won't be sealed into one vendor's roadmap", he added.
OpenStack is also more than just a set of specifications. At the core of the project is code that anyone can take, use and build on, said OpenStack founder Jonathan Bryce, who compared it with the Linux desktop operating system in that respect.
Like Linux, OpenStack is all about developing an ecosystem with plenty of room for vendors and service providers to add their own value, he added.
Citrix, for example, has based its own Project Olympus cloud platform on OpenStack, and has become one of the major developers working on the code.
"Citrix has played a vital role in OpenStack development, and they don't see it as a threat as they can make money from adding value and selling customers other infrastructure products such as NetScaler with it," said Collier.
OpenStack so far consists chiefly of the Compute module, which manages the pool of virtual machines inside the cloud, and the Object Storage module, which similarly pools storage resources to create a single, distributed storage system.
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