Last Updated Jul 19, 2010 8:00 PM EDT
To date, cloud computing has become a focus of vendors that want to lock corporations into "their way" of doing cloud. Microsoft (MSFT) wants all-in on Azure. Amazon (AMZN) wants companies to use its services. IBM has its services -- and all of it is proprietary. No wonder. The vendors well understand the profit they can make from locking in customers.
So what does Rackspace, an outsourced infrastructure provider, do? It knows that large corporations will work with a combination of private clouds that they host themselves, and public clouds that essentially offer on-demand instant provisioning of resources. The company sees itself as a service provider, but understands that much of what corporations do, particularly as they warm up to the idea of having systems on a public cloud, will remain in-house. So why not enable potential clients to run a cloud on the same systems Rackspace uses itself? And between what Rackspace and NASA have both developed, it's something that will have substance:
- fully-distributed file and media storage and delivery
- scalable compute-provisioning engine for large-scale deployments
- Apache 2.0 license, so companies can run the systems, build on them, or submit changes back into the open source projects
Because both Rackspace and NASA have used parts of the software to power large-scale projects, OpenStack has a huge leap ahead of many open source projects, because potential users already know that it has worked. The effort has also gained important third-party support from the likes of Intel (INTC), Dell (DELL), and Citrix (CTXS). And making the software open source, even under the Apache 2.0 license, has no danger for Rackspace. What competitor would want to admit that it had used the company's software to drive its own cloud services?
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