Introducing OpenStack

If you were to pick one word to describe open source, it probably would be freedom. Freedom to innovate. Freedom to consume. Freedom to redefine. There is a great tradition of open source movements revolutionizing entire segments of the computing and software world by fostering freedom – Linux and operating systems, Apache and web servers, mySQL and databases — just to name a few. Those open source projects introduced freedom for both developers and consumers of technology, thus accelerating the pace of innovation and adoption. Today we are proud to add OpenStack to that list of revolutionary ideas, bringing a new era of freedom to the cloud marketplace.

What is OpenStack? Well, our mission statement says this:

To produce the ubiquitous OpenSource Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

That is a pretty big ambition. The good news is that OpenStack is starting with code contributions from two organizations that know how to build and run massively scalable clouds – Rackspace and NASA. Rackspace has been in the cloud business for four years and now serves tens of thousands of customers on its cloud platform. Likewise, NASA began building their Nebula cloud platform two years ago to meet the needs of their scientific community.

Today, OpenStack consists of two projects. The first is a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace’s Cloud Files offering called "OpenStack Object Storage". The code is available today at The second piece is a scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers offering called "OpenStack Compute." Developers can download components of OS Compute beginning today at The first release is expected to be available later this year. So starting today, anyone can build their own cloud using the same technology that underlies two of the largest and best ones out there.

But it’s not just code from Rackspace and NASA. Last week, more than 100 architects and developers from over 25 companies came to Austin to begin defining the roadmap for OpenStack… and more importantly to begin jamming away at the code! The list included developers from managed hosters, hardware and component manufacturers, enterprise software and service companies, other open source projects, and cloud tools vendors. These community founders are already driving our project forward, and we are actively seeking more contributors to do the same!

What does "openness" mean to us? "Open" and "open source" are thrown around a lot, so its worth specifically defining our commitment to the community:

  • COMMITMENT #1: We are producing truly open source software. No artificial limits will be placed or performance limitations maintained. No licensing model – one free, one paid – will be introduced. We are releasing the code under the Apache 2.0 license which allows the community to do with the software as they see fit, including implement into other distributions or “for fee” offerings.
  • COMMITMENT #2: We are committed to an open design process. Rackspace will provide dedicated project leads to guide the roadmap on behalf of the community. We will hold regular design summits—open to anyone—which will produce a roadmap to guide development.
  • COMMITMENT #3: All development will be done in the open. We will maintain a publicly available source code repository to simplify participation.
  • COMMITMENT #4: We will maintain an open community. Healthy, vibrant developer and user communities are the basis of any open source project. Most decisions will be made using a "lazy consensus" model. All processes will be documented, open and transparent.

You can learn more by going to the Rackspace press release. Also please follow us on Twitter (@openstack) for regular updates.

So the mission starts now! We are here to help you with this project any way we can, so please reach out and let us know what we can do. You can personally reach me anytime at [email protected] or by following me on twitter (@jimcurry).

Cloud freedom, open for business!

Jim Curry
OpenStack Lead,

2 Responses to “Introducing OpenStack”


  1.  Open Source Development at NASA - open.NASA

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