Today Rackspace has thrown their hat in the ring with their new OpenStack initiative in collaboration with NASA — as in rocket scientists, smartest guys in the world.
The goal of OpenStack is to allow any organization to create and offer cloud computing capabilities using open source software running on standard hardware.
Adding the Rackspace hosting model to a strong open source project makes this approach to cloud computing especially interesting. This initiative while founded on open source is not necessarily the cure for lock-in but it does go much farther than anyone else offering a fully accessible reference architecture available as open source.
OpenStack’s formula is more coordinated and with a respectable user to champion it, NASA.
I like that private clouds built on the OpenStack reference architecture should be fully compatible with Rackspace hosting services. The strong message accompanying the launch is one of open standards and prevention of cloud lock-in.
So with all this openness and commitment to open standards is the ability to move from cloud to cloud seamlessly just around the corner? Virtualization Portability – At a very simple level users need to be able to move from virtualization technologies including those hosted in the cloud need to be able to migrate seamlessly, that includes VMs running in VMware , Xen, HyperV and KVM. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

ZimbraWP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better. Opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of the author and do not express the views or opinions of my employer. Unlike Amazon’s EC2 which preaches open APIs, Rackspace is working to develop an open source platform that compliments their hosted cloud offering.
The closest comparison I see is Eucalyptus that is mimicks the Amazon EC2 cloud compute architecture (though not Amazon S3), though Amazon and Eucalyptus don’t seem to share a commonly agreed upon road map but rather a leader-follower relationship. This remains to be seen it but the initiatives all seem to be well-intentioned and moving in the right direction. Then once in the cloud they need to be able to move across clouds both public and private unencumbered — Amazon, Rackspace, Eucalyptus, Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud and others.
However to deliver on the true vision of true portability across cloud platforms other cloud providers and vendors other than Rackspace will have to participate.
They also have a strong open source partner in NASA who has been working on their own cloud computing platform, NASA Nebula. OpenStack Compute is software for automatically creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers and is available as a developer’s preview with a release target of October. The question effect will this initiative have to truly drive open cloud computing standards.

These portable data centers are a model that many organizations looking to build private clouds are watching with interest. Adoption of a widespread virtualization standard like Open Virtualization Format (OVF) could help (OpenStack does seem to already support OVF, a good sign). I am also an avid investor and have holdings in numerous industries, both public and private companies. OpenStack Storage is software for creating redundant, scalable object storage using clusters of commodity servers to store terabytes or even petabytes of data.
Investments are often made for me by a third party and best efforts will be made to disclose any investments that may be germane at the time of the posts made herein. Also available as a developer preview the OpenStack Storage project expects to release a production ready version in mid-September.

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