OpenStack has come a long way since Rackspace and NASA first launched it in 2010. By sharing their own code — NASA’s Nebula and Rackspace’s Cloud Files — the two organizations gave OpenStack a head start on its vision of providing free, open-source cloud software to everyone.
A little turbulence after takeoff
Initially, there were some concerns over having the software under the control of the two founding companies. Those concerns were largely addressed by the establishment of the non-profit OpenStack Foundation. Since then, momentum for OpenStack has grown with hundreds of companies joining the initiative. And these are big name companies such as Cisco, Dell, HP, AT&T, EMC Intel and IBM. A look at the complete list of supporting companies makes it pretty clear that OpenStack has real support.
Who loves ya?
There’s certainly no shortage of positive news coverage about OpenStack. Everywhere you turn, headlines sing the praises of OpenStack. “Oracle Embraces Openstack,” says one headline. “Why Red Hat Needs OpenStack,” screams another. With new companies lending their endorsement to the open-source cloud operating system, it sometimes seems the OpenStack Foundation can do no wrong.
Some rain must fall
Despite all the praise OpenStack has received, and the predictions that 2014 will be the year of OpenStack, there are some ease-of-use and scalability problems to be worked out. While powerful and flexible, OpenStack is still hard to install and configure. According to Carl Brooks, an analyst at 451 Research, “All the pieces are in place, but OpenStack still has to improve on the point of usability.”
Last month, GigaOm reported that some organizations upgrading from one version of OpenStack to the latest release are experiencing “backbreaking” problems.
Fortunately, companies experienced at creating software that makes it easy to install, configure, and manage distributed systems (yes, that’s a plug for Bright Computing) are working on solving some of those problems. Soon, installing, configuring, and managing OpenStack clouds at scale will be much easier than it is today.
The road to Havana
With each release, OpenStack gains new capabilities that make it more attractive to those still on the fence. The latest release, code named Havana, contains contributions from 145 different organizations. It features new management capabilities, and user interface improvements.
Take ‘er out for a test drive
So whether you’re in the pro-OpenStack camp and believe it’s about to take the cloud market by storm, or the anti-OpenStack camp and think the future of OpenStack is still uncertain, there’s no denying that a lot of organizations are betting their cloud computing future on it.
If you’ve been thinking about implementing a cloud in your organization, OpenStack should be on your short list. Consider firing up an OpenStack cloud and taking it for a test drive. It’s easier than you may think. If you decide to get started with OpenStack let us know what you think.
photo credit: OpenStack Foundation