The open source cloud platform OpenStack has it’s first production use outside of the founding partners of Rackspace and NASA. Internap has launched, though still in beta, a cloud storage offering called XIPCloud that uses the OpenStack Object Storage.
The long road to adoption
While OpenStack was launched last year to much fanfare and attention (see the interesting, public community tracking they do), parts of the open source project is still in development so there haven’t been uses in the field (other than at Rackspace) of the stack. While Internap’s use is just of one part of the Open Stack, it’s a “mile stone,” as they say for the highly regarded stack…that hasn’t seen much production use as of yet.
By comparison, Eucalyptus which is often seen as the market-share foe of OpenStack recently released a press release saying “one in five of the Fortune 100 started a Eucalyptus Cloud in 2010.” Eucalyptus being bundled in Ubuntu certainly don’t hurt either.
When launching OpenStack, Rackspace admitted that they wanted to get the project started before the product was fully finished to get more people involved in the community – a move RedMonk thought was good for open spirit. With plenty of business in hand, Rackspace is looking at the long-term play for becoming “The New Linux” as El Reg so graciously dubbed the project in a rare charitable moment of headlinery.
Build a cloud business
I spoke with folks from Internap and Rackspace last Friday. Internap’s Scott Hrastar said they’d been working with the OpenStack crew for the past 4 months to get this offering up and running, integrating to the Internaps back-end billing and customer systems, I’d guess, given that those systems are not part of the general OpenStack offering. He also said they had some help from some of the original Nova/NASA coders.
Scott said part of the appeal of OpenStack was the ability to build differentiating services on-top of the basic offering – presumably, the open source nature will allow Internap to do this more easily than with proprietary offerings. For existing hosting companies like Internap, “cloud” brings a major fear of being “dumb infrastructure” (akin to the “dumb pipes” and “stupid networks” telcos fear becoming): swappable IT services that have no way of differentiating other than (low) price. While we didn’t go over what these unique services would be, presumably Internap things it can build additional value on-top of the default Object Storage offering, helping them gain and retain customers.
- Nancy Gohring at IDG coveres the announcement, including: “There has also been strong interest from financial services companies, he said. They tend to have very large operations so the deployments take time, he said. OpenStack expects to make more announcements about such large users in the coming months.”
- Cade Metz covers the story for The Register, adding: “Internap has not actually contributed to the OpenStack project, but it intends to do so. It’s also evaluating the Nova codebase, but at this point, Hrastar says, the company has no firm plans to offer a public service that serves up processing power.”
- The official press release.
Disclosure: Rackspace is a client, as is Eucalyptus, VMWare, IBM, Cloud.com, Microsoft.com, and many others working in this space.