OpenStack is an open source and free cloud computing software service. It is usually deployed as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution.
OpenStack provides a set of tools that helps users construct and manage cloud platforms for both public and private clouds. It allows users to deploy virtual machines and users can access the source code to make any changes to suit their own uses.
In 2010, Rackspace and NASA collaborated on a joint project which turned into OpenStack. The early code was used on NASA’s Nebula cloud platform. The project was further intended to help companies run cloud software on standard hardware.
Some of the biggest players which currently distribute and support OpenStack are Canonical, Cisco, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat. Current users include Bloomberg, Comcast, PayPal, and Wells Fargo. There are annual OpenStack summits around the globe which bring together dedicated coders, vendors, users and even critics.
Its community wide goals are to make OpenStack a ubiquitous cloud operating system, deliver high quality software releases that businesses can rely on, and ensure interoperability between OpenStack clouds.
OpenStack has grown hugely in the past four years, but it’s still got a long way to go before it really competes with cloud competitors such as Amazon Web Services. The main reason OpenStack is still slow to lift off in terms of deployments is the high barrier of entry to users. Being open source software, there is a steep learning curve for developers to get to grips with it, and this can cost companies premium if they employ a body to do this for them. OpenStack managing services such as Rackspace are particularly lucrative in this area.
There are endless ways an OpenStack cloud can be deployed, but there is still lack of knowledge and caution amongst users which turns them towards established public cloud vendors.
However, OpenStack says that demand for the software is currently outpacing the supply of engineers and developers, which can only be a good thing. To find out more about OpenStack, read ‘8 reasons you don’t want to use OpenStack’ here.
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