Rackspace on Monday launched OpenStack, an open source cloud computing operating system, designed to take on the likes of VMware's vSphere and Microsoft's Azure. NASA, Citrix and Dell are among the key partners.
Rackspace, a key hosting and cloud computing provider, is hoping to change that operating system equation a bit (Techmeme). In a nutshell, Rackspace is donating the code behind its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers offering to the OpenStack project. Open Stack will also use the code behind the NASA Nebula Cloud Platform.
Combined, Rackspace and NASA plan to collaborate and develop the OpenStack OS. This open source formula has worked before---Android in the mobile space is one key example---and there's no reason why OpenStack couldn't do well in the cloud. Cloud Computing customers are very aware of potential lock-in so the message surrounding OpenStack could resonate. In a statement, Rackspace president Lew Moorman said OpenStack is aiming to prevent vendor lock-in. Indeed, customers are ultimately looking to be able to swap cloud providers at will in the future.
Among the key parts of OpenStack:
Meanwhile, there are a bevy of partners involved with OpenStack. Partners include AMD, Autonomic Resources, Citrix, Cloud.com, Cloudkick, Cloudscaling, CloudSwitch, Dell, enStratus, FathomDB, Intel, iomart Group, Limelight, Nicira, NTT DATA, Opscode, PEER 1, Puppet Labs, RightScale, Riptano, Scalr, SoftLayer, Sonian, Spiceworks, Zenoss and Zuora.
Also: Rackspace, cloud computing topic centers
Of that group, Citrix, which provides open source virtualization technology, will be critical. On the hardware side, where OpenStack would presumably be integrated and bundled, Dell, AMD and Intel are the heavy hitters.
Simply put, OpenStack is a powerful idea and the timing is good. Dell indicated that it plans to feature OpenStack on its systems for open source cloud deployments. Dell is talking the anti-lock-in message as rivals build enterprise IT stacks. However, OpenStack will need more hardware providers---notably IBM and HP---if it's going to crack the enterprise and garner momentum.