Chef Meets the iPad with OpenStack

Since OpenStack was announced, we’ve seen a flurry of activity in the developer community. Hundreds of people have made over a thousand contributions and we couldn’t be more excited.

Today I’d like to share one of the more unconventional contributions with you. Most of the development activity in OpenStack is in the storage and compute systems, but we also have front end projects for people who use OpenStack and need an easy way to manage their cloud resources.

One of these projects is the OpenStack iPad app, which is based on the Rackspace Cloud Pro iPad app that is currently in the App Store. This app uses the OpenStack compute and storage APIs to help you manage your cloud resources, and offers a few features outside of the scope of the APIs, such as viewing RSS system status feeds, pinging your compute nodes from several locations around the world, and emailing files from OpenStack Object Storage.

Our newest feature, made possible by working with people from Opscode, is integration with Chef and the Opscode Platform. Before, when you created a compute node on the iPad, you would then need to log into the node and manually install any software, data, and configurations you may need. This could take a considerable amount of time and effort for some deployments, but not anymore. If you’re a Chef user, you can configure the iPad app with your Chef or Opscode credentials to automatically run any recipes or role assignments immediately after the node is provisioned. Look ma, no shell!

Let’s suppose you’re running a Cassandra cluster to horizontally scale your data, and you’re out of town on a business trip. Your laptop is in your hotel room, and you’re stuck in a conference room across town with only your iPad. Then, your monitoring service sends you an SMS telling you that all of your Cassandra machines are running at capacity. But you were smart; you used Chef to automate your infrastructure by creating roles for all of your compute nodes. You simply log into the iPad app and provision a new node with “role[cassandra]” as your run list. The machine boots up and adds itself to your Cassandra cluster without requiring anything else from you. Awesome!

I’ve included a video below showing you the entire process as I bootstrap a compute node running Apache 2 and MySQL. I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any questions or want to talk about contributing to the OpenStack iOS apps, get in touch with me via email at [email protected], Twitter at @greenisus, or on the phone at 901-299-9306. Even if you’re new to Objective-C and Cocoa, I’ll be happy to help you get started and learn everything you need to know to help make the OpenStack apps even better.

OpenStack Community Update

It’s been four weeks since the launch of OpenStack, and we’ve been amazed by the response. A huge thank you to the developers who have been working tirelessly to move the OpenStack Object Storage and Compute projects along at a rapid pace, and to the commercial supporters who have been rallying around an open source cloud alternative. Since the launch of the project, we’ve reached some significant milestones and wanted to share the latest:

  • OpenStack Compute now supports three hypervisors (in just three weeks!) — KVM, XenServer (thanks Ewan Mellor @citrix) and VirtualBox (thanks Justin Santa Barbara ) furthering the community’s goal of broad support
  • Between the two projects, there have been 1,250 code commits and there are more than 55 active branches
  • To date more than 35 bugs have been fixed. The first bug was reported within 8 minutes of launch, and a patch submitted within 20!
  • There has been an average of 130-140 developers in the IRC channel each day, a strong showing for a relatively new community
  • More than 30 companies have joined the OpenStack community, and several are hiring. New members include Cloud Central, Morphlabs, and MidoKura. Check out our jobs page or submit your own.

We’re making progress. How do you get involved?

  • Join our IRC channel #openstack on freenode
  • Find the code and community tools hosted on Launchpad.
  • Ready to contribute code?  complete the process here then checkout our guide to Life with BZR and Launchpad
  • Once you’re part of Launchpad, join the mailing lists (links are inside the Launchpad pages for “Nova” and “Swift” which are the OpenStack Compute and Object Storage projects, respectively)
  • Attend upcoming meetings (see below) and our next design conference later this year; stay tuned for the dates
  • Follow @openstack on twitter — where we’ll be communicating project updates and upcoming events
  • Host your own Stackup!  Tell us about it and we’ll be sure to spread the word.

Upcoming Stackups

  • The Silicon Valley Cloud Computing Group is hosting their first Stackup on Tuesday August 24th.  Over 160 people have already RSVPd, so if you’re in the area sign up now.
  • Thursday August 26th there will be a Stackup at the NASA Ames Research Center with a focus on “Swift” the Object Storage project.  Details here.

Mark Collier

VP of Community & Business Development



You Are Now Free to Move About in the Cloud

Today announced that we have joined the OpenStack Initiative, providing our commitment to support, collaborate and contribute to the success of this community and it’s efforts to drive open standards and innovation in the cloud computing market.

We are very excited to be part of this effort as it signifies a few significant tipping points in the industry, and share Rightscale’s view that this is a game changing event. Linux and many open source projects reached their curve in the “hockey stick” of growth only when the customers joined in the effort of advancing the market. On top of Rackspace and NASA, I think it speaks volumes to see the OpenStack initiative include NTT, Peer1, Limelight, Softlayer and others all joining together as part of this initiative. Think about that for a second. These are all competitors joining together to advance the market.

Back to’s role in this initiative. When I talk about joining the cause, I want to call out three specific areas that we are already working on with the OpenStack team.

  1. will be adopting the OpenStack Object Storage platform into our CloudStack product, allowing us to immediately deliver a cloud storage offering to our open source IAAS stack. We’ve been approached by a number of service providers and enterprises across the board looking for a storage service that would deliver an Amazon equivalent storage architecture within their cloud. Their challenge? Vendors that they were relying on went bust leaving them without a solution or a trusted provider to enable them with this technology. The significance of Rackspace’s contribution of the OpenStack Object Storage is that can now take a proven, scalable, in production object storage and make that available to our customers. That’s pretty cool. We will, of course, also be contributing back to the project areas where we can improve implementation, management and orchestration of the service.
  2. will also be adding the OpenStack API implementation to our Common Cloud Framework, enabling customers and developers to leverage their existing cloud deployments. Interoperability is a key pinpoint for developers, customers and users and we are at a crucial point in the growth of this market where we need to truly enable cloud interoperability in order to achieve hyper growth.
  3. We will also be using our expertise in building out highly scalable, multi-tenant cloud environments for SPs and Enterprises to help advance the OpenStack initiative. We’ve been extremely successful in deploying large scale, in-production clouds and are looking forward to contributing towards commercializing and packaging the OpenStack for production use.

OpenStack and Rackspace/NASA have been working to solve certain, hard technology problems around scale and reliability in the cloud. and CloudStack will enable these technologies to work for an enterprise by integrating this technology with back office functionality, delivering interoperability through common cloud API’s and integrating additional user management and administrative tooling in a supported and sustainable offering. This makes partnering and working with a no brainer decision for us.

Learn more about our OpenStack momentum and other musings of on twitter @clouddotcom or @ulander

Congrats to the OpenStack team. As I read in a tweet on the announcement (which I should have saved for proper attribution), this is just the bottom of the first inning … but open source has just brought some big hitters to the game.

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,