OpenStack is an umbrella of software projects, including core pieces that Rackspace contributes to: Glance, Nova and Swift. We take every bit of code that we contribute upstream to OpenStack and re-consume it. In the spirit of the Rackspace core value of transparency, we do not keep our patches private, but instead push everything out publically and then pull it back in to consume it and deploy it.
Working as an engineer, I want people to see what we are working on and see exactly how it works. If someone has a way to improve the codebase or they want to see something different, they can come to the community with improvements. This is the key characteristic to how open standards drive innovation.
We believe in this project so much that every bit, from the input to exhaust, of what we do to run our public facing open cloud is built on open sourced software. This means that a person with knowledge of the projects can redeploy and build what we have done.
One extreme challenge that our team faces in building an open cloud is how fast we pull in software from OpenStack trunk. We try to stay only a few hours behind OpenStack trunk; when someone commits code, we quick evaluate those patches and modifications to ensure that the code is compatible with our branch. We are committed to staying bleeding edge on this project and we strive to make sure that it stays up to the standards we expect and that it works to the scale that our customers expect.