WEB HOSTING FIRM Rackspace has finally deployed an Openstack based cloud, playing down claims that it benefits the most from the alliance.
Rackspace is one of the leaders of the Openstack alliance, an open source cloud initiative that aims to break Amazon's stranglehold on the industry by offering open application programmable interfaces (APIs). Until now Openstack has largely been all talk, but Rackspace has deployed a production Openstack cloud that the firm claims will help it sell Openstack to the enterprise.
Fabio Torlini, VP of cloud at Rackspace told The INQUIRER the firm has been "going flat out to make the code production ready". Torlini said Rackspace's decision to deploy an Openstack based cloud could be a tipping point in deployment. "It's going to be the catalyst for many other companies deploying Openstack," said Torlini.
Rackspace has been the largest contributor to Openstack and the fact that it has the first major Openstack deployment lends support to claims that Rackspace is getting the most out of Openstack.
However Torlini said, "For us, we're able to be the first one to launch a large scale Openstack compute platform because, yes, we are one of the main providers of the original code and we are a founder of Openstack, so we have tried to develop Openstack as a neutral foundation and it is a foundation to provide a service to all its members. But we're lucky enough to be one of the founder members, to be able to drive it, and get there [deployment] first."
Torlini defended Rackspace's role in the Openstack alliance, claiming the strong leadership shown by the firm is good for the community. Torlini said, "Openstack is beneficial to the product itself but that's the whole point. The whole idea of many more providers going onto Openstack helping develop the Openstack cloud, helping advance the actual products and code is the whole point of Openstack. On the counter side of that argument is if it's beneficial for us it is just as beneficial for any other member of Openstack because they have access to the same code and they are able to provide."
Torlini admitted that Openstack and its community is an advantage for the firm but claimed it wasn't possible for Rackspace to dominate. "You have companies in Openstack that are far larger than Rackspace enabled to put much more resources into Openstack as well, [so] it's impossible for us to dominate Openstack - it's an independent foundation. Is it advantageous from a product perspective? I should damn well hope so," said Torlini.
As for Amazon, which operates a proprietary cloud, Torlini suggested that Amazon might have to open up to remain competitive. Torlini said, "I think they [Amazon] may need to force themselves to go in that direction. What I think they will struggle with is to offer is the complete level of service [...] in terms of supporting private clouds based on the same code set and public clouds based on the same codeset. There's a big gap for them to close because they don't come from a service background but I think they will have make their products more open."
Rackspace's Openstack cloud is a big seal of approval for the software to which the firm and many other large software vendors have contributed. Torlini is correct in that Rackspace's move could well spur others to move away from Amazon in the search of interoperability with multiple cloud providers, however until Rackspace's competitors start deploying Openstack based clouds, there won't be a big difference to developers. µ