Today Rackspace announced it is open sourcing its cloud platform and releasing it as a project called OpenStack together with others. The code should be available for download (if not now then in a few hours) on http://OpenStack.org. From the official press release:
OpenStack will include several cloud infrastructure components, the first being OpenStack Object Storage, a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files, available today at OpenStack.org. The second component, OpenStack Compute, will be a massively scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula compute project and Rackspace Cloud Servers technology, available later in 2010. Any organization will be able to turn physical hardware into massively scalable and extensible cloud environments using the same code currently in production serving tens of thousands of customers and large government projects.
In addition to NASA's contribution of Nebula, a number of other companies have lined up behind the project. AMD, Citrix, Dell, CloudKick, Intel, Limelight, Puppet Labs, RightScale and Zenoss all participated in an OpenStack design summit hosted by Rackspace last week in Austin.
Back in February I wrote a blog post titled Rackspace: The Avis of Cloud Computing? in which I analyzed how Rackspace is competing with Amazon in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service space. I ended the post with the following paragraph:
Finally, one more factor will play an important role in the success of each of the cloud providers, and that is the ecosystem that evolves around their products. That means management, automation and monitoring tools (e.g., RightScale, CloudKick, enStratus), Machine Image support (such as the AMIs from Red Hat/Jboss on EC2) and other ancillary products and services that form a "whole product". Amazon has the lead here as of now, but Rackspace seems to be working hard to catch up.
And indeed today's announcement appears to be the culmination of a lot of that hard work. A smart move by Rackspace that encourages the ecosystem even further.
It also looks like we are entering the "Stack Wars", with the two leading IaaS cloud stacks being Amazon's (with Eucalyptus as the private cloud version of the Amazon stack) and now OpenStack. It will be interesting to see how VMWare, Microsoft and Google all respond to this move.
This will clearly have an impact on the cloud platform startups who were going for an open source strategy, namely Enomaly and Cloud.com. Rumor has it that the latter are already planning to support OpenStack and base their product on it. [Update: In the comments below, Peder Ulander from Cloud.com confirms their participation in CloudStack].
Also of interest is how this will affect proposed standards, such as OCCI.