OpenStack Turned 3

22 Jul 2013

In UC, we talk a lot about virtualization and private cloud, but OpenStack doesn't get a lot of direct attention. OpenStack is an emerging open private cloud alternative, and it's sure to impact UC significantly. OpenStack just celebrated its third birthday.

OpenStack got its start from NASA and Rackspace as a private cloud alternative to Amazon's public AWS. In just three years, the effort now has support from 231 companies, contributions from 1,036 individuals, implementations in 121 countries, and several real-life customer implementations including Best Buy, Bloomberg, Comcast, Fidelity, and PayPal.

It has effectively become the center of cloud innovation sometimes best described as the Linux of cloud operating systems. OpenStack represents an open source alternative to private cloud provisioning and management much like Linux did for servers. There's no dominant solution in private clouds like there is with Amazon in public clouds.

OpenStack's official birthday party is in Portland on July 24, but there are some 40 community parties taking around the world. I attended the Colorado party yesterday. A very technical group of party goers who are on the bleeding edge.

OpenStack 3rd Birthday

There are four primary reasons why firms are adopting the technology so early. They include:

  • The need for a private implementation of what Amazon offers publicly. Make no mistake, OpenStack is a direct response to AWS. Amazon has been at this for years, and it appears no one company could pose a viable alternative alone. Even what should be competitors to Amazon are lining up as members.

  • There is clear demand for open clouds -- cloud work that doesn't have to pay use or licensing fees.

  • The desire to control shadow IT. Line of businesses sidestep IT with credit cards partly because they can, but also partly because IT could not effectively create and tear down resources as efficiently. CloudStack offers IT departments similar footing to AWS.

  • To be part of the solution, many of these early adopters are contributing code to the project. Code that meets their specific needs.

In the past 12 months, OpenStack project has added nearly 3 million lines of code. The "Grizzly" release (each release is named after cities; Grizzly was intend as tribute to numerous cities in California) from April is generally considered the first production-grade build. The next major release, Havana, is targeted for an October 2013 release.

OpenStack is clearly building momentum and cites four key opens as an explanation:

  • Open Design

  • Open Development

  • Open Community

  • Open Source

Amazon's cloud service has considerable traction in cloud computing circles, but not as much in UC. It's reputed as reliable and effective for testing, but there are many concerns about pushing real time communications to the Amazon public cloud infrastructure. Instead, UC cloud conversations are about hosted public services from providers or as private cloud implementations. However, OpenStack will likely draw UC implementations as it continues to make inroads into enterprise IT.

UC vendors seem to be aligning around VMware and Hyper-V, both of which are now part of the OpenStack community. In a conversation with Hyoun Park of Jupiter Research, he was quick to point out that Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and Avaya are all affiliated with the OpenStack Foundation.

OpenStack Timeline


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