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Open Source Cloud Computing Platform OpenStack Goes Commercial

The OpenStack cloud computing platform, backed by Rackspace, NASA, Cisco, Dell and others, ramps up commercial support options for cloud and enterprise users.


The OpenStack open source cloud computing project isn't just for hobbyists and bleeding-edge developers anymore.

OpenStack began as a joint effort between Rackspace and NASA in July of 2010. The project has now expanded to over 40 partners and is now gearing up commercial support services in an effort to help grow production deployments.

"Since we started OpenStack we have seen a ton of momentum, but one thing we've heard is that while people love open source software, they really want some to stand behind it," Mark Collier, vice president of marketing and business development at Rackspace told InternetNews.com.

Another item that is sometimes a concern with open source software adoption is legal indemnification as part of a services or support engagement. Collier was unsure as to whether or not Rackspace would be providing any form of indemnification for OpenStack.

That said, Rackspace is only one part of the commercial services ecosystem surrounding OpenStack.

"From a software perspective we are not creating software distributions, we're working with partners like Canonical and Citrix who will be making software distributions," Collier said. "What we're doing is more on the services side, in terms of helping people get setup with operational support, as opposed to traditional software support which will be handled by the people building the software distributions."

Canonical is the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution and joined OpenStack earlier this year.

Collier sees demand for OpenStack coming from both service providers that are looking to build their own clouds as well as enterprises looking to build private clouds. Part of the go-to-market strategy for OpenStack commercialization includes leveraging services and hardware from Dell to help enable cloud or enterprise deployments. Collier explained that Dell will be providing a package of hardware, networking and the services needed to standup an OpenStack deployment.

From a management perspective, Collier noted that partners are also building out new tools as well. One of the new tools comes from Opscode with integration with their Chef language for configuration management.

"There is also an open source control panel as part of the project," Collier said. "Customers will have a lot of choice and we aren't saying it has to 100 percent open source or proprietary, users will have their choice of options."

Moving forward from the core OpenStack project perspective Collier noted that there are some discussions around providing some kind of long term supported releases of OpenStack. The OpenStack Bexar release debuted in February and the Cactus release is set to debut in April of this year.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
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