Data center and cloud infrastructure service provider Rackspace is expected to announce Monday the release of a new open-source offering that will allow users to build and launch their own internal and hosted clouds.
Dubbed OpenStack, the new Apache-licensed project will feature several cloud infrastructure components, including a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files, the company's highly scalable storage engine.
In addition to the initial offering, a scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers technology is expected to be available later this year.
Rackspace has been hosting enterprise computing for many years and the use-cases of the OpenStack software are relevant to both software providers and enterprises.
Part of the reason this project is open source is that enterprise developers have more specific domain knowledge than service providers might and that open source provides a way for interested users to collaborate to create a better product, according to Mark Collier, Rackspace VP of business & corporate development.
It's important to note that this software powers Rackspace's cloud infrastructure--or at least a fairly large chunk of it--not just a random new open source project. The software has been proven in production and should provide a high level of confidence to those interested in the project.
And while service providers are typically running much larger infrastructures than enterprises, companies of all sizes are interested in experimenting with cloud-like functionality--especially if its free and open source.
Collier told CNET that the company decided to launch and support this project because it believes standardization is important in this space. I would expect a number of companies such as Red Hat and Canonical, as well as Hewlett-Packard and others to be interested in including this as part of their enterprise Linux and data center offerings.
Enterprises don't want to be locked-in to a specific technology or cloud provider right now--the market is just too nascent and most have spent significant amounts of dollars on virtualization efforts only to be locked-in to a specific VM provider.
There is an opportunity for open-source cloud infrastructure to become as ubiquitous as the Apache Web server. This project could provide a huge leap forward in opening up the clouds.