On July 19, Rackspace Hosting, a specialist in the hosting and cloud computing industry, announced the launch of OpenStackTM, an open-source cloud platform designed to advance the emergence of technology standards and cloud interoperability. Rackspace is donating the code that fuels its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public-cloud offerings to the OpenStack project, which will additionally incorporate technology that powers the NASA Nebula Cloud Platform. NASA and Rackspace plan on collaborating on joint technology development and leveraging the efforts of open-source software developers on a global scale.

NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for IT Chris C. Kemp said of the announcement, “Modern scientific computation requires ever increasing storage and processing power delivered on-demand. To serve this demand, we built Nebula, an infrastructure cloud platform designed to meet the needs of our scientific and engineering community. NASA and Rackspace are uniquely positioned to drive this initiative based on our experience in building large scale cloud platforms and our desire to embrace open source.”

OpenStack is poised to feature several cloud infrastructure components including a fully distributed object store that is based on Rackspace Cloud Files (currently available at OpenStack.org). A scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers technology are the next components planned for release, anticipated to be available sometime in late 2010. Organizations using these components would be able to turn physical hardware into scalable and extensible cloud environments using the same code currently in production serving large government projects and tens of thousands of customers.

“We are founding the OpenStack initiative to help drive industry standards, prevent vendor lock-in and generally increase the velocity of innovation in cloud technologies. We are proud to have NASA’s support in this effort. Its Nebula Cloud Platform is a tremendous boost to the OpenStack community. We expect ongoing collaboration with NASA and the rest of the community to drive more-rapid cloud adoption and innovation, in the private and public spheres,” Lew Moorman, President and CSO at Rackspace, said at the time of the announcement.

Both organizations have committed to use OpenStack to power their cloud platforms, while Rackspace will dedicate open-source developers and resources to support adoption of OpenStack among service providers and enterprises. Rackspace hosted an OpenStack Design Summit in Austin, Texas from July 13 to 16, in which over 100 technical advisors, developers and founding members teamed up to validate the code and ratify the project roadmap. Among the more than 25 companies represented at the Design Summit were Autonomic Resources, AMD, Cloud.com, Citrix,  Dell, FathomDB, Intel, Limelight, Zuora, Zenoss, Riptano and Spiceworks.

“OpenStack provides a solid foundation for promoting the emergence of cloud standards and interoperability. As a longtime technology partner with Rackspace, Citrix will collaborate closely with the community to provide full support for the XenServer platform and our other cloud-enabling products,” said Peter Levine, SVP and GM, Datacenter and Cloud Division, Citrix Systems.

Forrest Norrod, Vice President and General manager of Server Platforms, Dell, added, “We believe in offering customers choice in cloud computing that helps them improve efficiency. OpenStack on Dell is a great option to create open source enterprise cloud solutions.”

As a founder of Nubifer.com, Chad Collins brings a wealth of experience obtained during more than seventeen years working on web-based systems. Chad’s background spans skills in User Interface development, cross platform web programming for enterprise companies, application scripting, cloud computing and software as a service innovation.

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