OpenStack Celebrates a Successful First Year

A year into the life of OpenStack, it seems like its success should have been more obvious.  The market lacked an open platform designed specifically for building and managing a cloud.  We knew that fact at Rackspace because we had been forced to build our own solution.  For five years we looked for off the shelf technologies that could power our public cloud but never found an acceptable solution.  So we kept building our own proprietary technology.  But that wasn’t the right answer.  As a company, we had always relied on standardized technologies to power our offers.  Technologies that our customers were also running in their own data centers.  But in cloud, such standards did not exist and were nowhere in sight.  Certainly, the ones that were emerging were not completely open.  And by building our own solution — one not available to anyone else — we weren’t actually helping to solve the problem.  So we decided to open source our technology, and make it available for use by our competitors and customers alike.  What we didn’t know was whether anyone else saw the world as we did.

A year later, its obvious we weren’t alone.  Consider these stats:

  • We grew from 2 organizations to 89
  • We grew from a couple dozen developers to nearly 250 unique contributors in the Cactus release and over 1,200 in the development community
  • Over 35,000 downloads from Launchpad and thousands more from our ecosystem
  • The scope of the project has truly evolved into a cloud operating system, tackling a diverse range of cloud infrastructure needs such as networking, load balancers and database.
  • Our initial conference and design summit had over 100 people, while the last in April hosted over 450
  • We have delivered 3 major releases and are halfway to the fourth
  • 17 countries have active participants and user groups now exist on 5 continents

One of the key reasons OpenStack has been successful is that it has such an audacious mission — to build an operating system to power both public and private clouds.  We believe that while public and private clouds do have different requirements, much of the core need is shared.  Things such as basic management, self-service and scalability.   OpenStack started with the large scale cloud expertise of Rackspace and NASA and has since added a wealth of knowledge from a who’s who list contributors with broad-ranging enterprise and service provider expertise.  All of these participants recognize that in order for the promise of cloud to be realized — for workloads to seamlessly migrate from one environment to another — a common platform is required inside the enterprise DC as well as the public cloud.  The technology should also be purpose-built for cloud, rather than a bolt-on to existing server virtualization technologies.  And that solution should be open and controlled by a vast community rather than a single vendor.

The shared community desire for an open cloud operating system powering both public and private clouds has resulted in a flurry of activity around OpenStack.  Consider the following:

  • Major enterprise software companies such as Citrix and Canonical, as well as startups such as StackOps, have announced commercial distributions of OpenStack.  This is a very key development for enterprise adoption.
  • Reference hardware architectures from the likes of Dell, Cisco, Intel and AMD for OpenStack.
  • The contributions from service providers and announcement of public clouds powered by OpenStack including Rackspace, Internap, Dreamhost, Dell, Korea Telecom, Memset and Nephoscale among others.
  • Support for OpenStack deployments by the likes of Cloudscaling, Cybera and Rackspace Cloud Builders.
  • Deployment support from Puppet Labs and Opscode.
  • A host of tools and software integration from scores of companies including Scalr, Rightscale, FathomDB, enStratus, and many others.
  • Venture funding and M&A activity have picked up in the community, including the recent funding of Piston and the acquisition of Cloud.com by Citrix (both OpenStack community members).

Most importantly, enterprises are really beginning to deploy OpenStack.  It wasn’t until the Cactus release in April that OpenStack truly became ready for production deployments.  But during the 3 months since that release, the number of companies deploying the technologies is truly remarkable.  Expect to see many of these stories coming to light in the next few months.

Thank you to everyone who has made OpenStack happen over the last year!  It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be part of such an engaged and diverse community committed to the goal of an open cloud operating system.  Happy first birthday to all!

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