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 fas
ter 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.
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 governmentsupposedly 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.