Cloud Computing: OpenStack 101 – What Every CIO Needs To KnowMarch 16, 2012
In the last month, IBM, Red Hat, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have announced that they are joining OpenStack. This is only the latest indication that OpenStack has exploded onto the IT landscape and, over the last year, has captured the attention of the IT and business communities. While most CIOs already understand the benefits of private cloud, many are still in the dark when it comes to the specific IT services that OpenStack provides. With a global community of over 2,500 users and 150+ companies, OpenStack is here to stay.
So what is it?
OpenStack is a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the open standard for both public and private clouds. Rackspace and NASA are the key initial contributors to the project. Rackspace contributed the Cloud Files platform to power the Object Storage portion of OpenStack, while NASA contributed the Nebula NOVA fabric controller to power the compute portion. Cloud service providers, enterprises and government organizations can take advantage of the freely available, Apache-licensed software to build their own massively scalable cloud environments…
According to the OpenStack website, it is “aimed at providers, institutions and enterprises with highly technical operations teams that have the capabilities and needs to turn physical hardware into large-scale cloud deployments. Wide adoption of an open-source, open-standards cloud should be huge for everyone. It means customers won’t have to fear lock-in and technology companies can participate in a growing market that spans cloud providers.”
Similar to the openness, scalability and innovation Linux offered developers and users over the “walled garden” approach of early vendors like Microsoft, OpenStack is bringing more flexibility and a larger community together to innovate and improve technology in a collaborative fashion. More companies are choosing OpenStack over proprietary cloud solutions, such as those from VMware, than ever before.
Why Businesses are Taking Notice
According to published industry figures, the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, meaning that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years. Businesses need to scale quickly to meet the challenges of such rapidly growing volumes of data, but also want to make sure that their data is secure and easily accessible. OpenStack offers an open alternative road to the cloud while addressing the big data challenge head on. The OpenStack development community includes some of the world’s brightest minds and companies working together to accomplish more, faster, using code freely available under the Apache2 license. OpenStack is quickly gaining support because it is:
- Global: OpenStack is an open source project based on the efforts of over 2000 developers working to build a better cloud platform. That tremendous pool of talent drives OpenStack forward to meet public and private cloud needs, creating a safety net of community knowledge as well as rich development resources.
- Open: Open source means there is no point of single-vendor lock-in, be it hardware or software. OpenStack has a well-defined standard interface, supported by several vendors, which gives businesses portability across hardware and software layers. An open cloud stands to provide the same benefits for large-scale cloud computing that the Linux standard provided inside the server.
- A Coalition: With over 150 companies contributing, OpenStack is a community of enterprise level companies and engineers partnered to meet their development needs.
- Proven: The technology behind OpenStack compute was first used at NASA to host applications for the White House (USASpending.gov), Microsoft (WorldWideTelescope) and Google (GoogleMars). OpenStack Swift powers storage in the Rackspace public cloud for tens of thousands of users.
The CIO Imperative
The way we use and think about technology is evolving faster than ever before. To keep up, organizations must use tools that are built to be improved upon. It’s about agility and the ability to iterate rapidly. It means that, as technology races forward, an organization isn’t held back by aging infrastructure or the whims of a proprietary vendor. OpenStack is leading the way to a standards-based cloud, an even marketplace, and an adaptive IT business model.
Here are three ways to get involved with OpenStack:
- Attend an OpenStack event. There are several held throughout the year with the next one taking place in San Francisco April 16-20, 2012.
- Get your developers involved in OpenStack hackathons and events, held regularly in a growing number of tech hot spots around the world.
- Ask your colleagues. There’s a good chance they’ve already joined.