Happy Birthday OpenStack!

This past weekend — July 19, to be exact — marked the 5th anniversary of the creation of OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform we developed at Rackspace, together with NASA, back in 2010.

I still fondly remember the early days of OpenStack, when there were spirited debates at the company around whether or not we could create our own open source cloud platform, or if we should even try.

Yet here we are, five years later, with one of the most successful, fastest-growing open source projects in the world. That kind of growth instills a lot of pride. It’s kind of like watching your child grow up.

Five years for a project like this isn’t very long, yet in this short period of time OpenStack has grown into a massive project, with lots of examples of production use. Some of the largest companies in the world are using it for some really interesting projects.

And because OpenStack is open source, it has allowed those users to be deeply invested in shaping the platform and defining standards for cloud computing. If you want to be a part of OpenStack, you can contribute your own ideas and your own code. That’s the beauty of open source; it’s something anyone — on a global scale — can be a part of.

OpenStack 5 Year

This is apparent to me every time we attend an OpenStack Summit and I get to see how far this project has come and how big it’s become.

The most recent summit, which took place in May in Vancouver, was huge. Every major IT company is rallying around OpenStack, and I always enjoy seeing all the different users and vendors in one place and hearing their success stories.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming OpenStack Summit Tokyo this October — our first summit in Japan. Next spring, it’s coming back home to the Lone Star State, where in April OpenStack Summit will be hosted in Austin.

As a company, Rackspace continues to be heavily invested in and committed to OpenStack. It’s certainly one of the most successful cloud platforms in the world, and we’re proud to run the largest OpenStack public cloud and manage many large scale private clouds for customers both here at Rackspace and on-site at customers’ own data centers.

We continue to contribute code into numerous projects, including new ones like Magnum, which was led by one of our own distinguished engineers, Adrian Otto. The Magnum project aims to make container orchestration systems such as Docker and Kubernetes available as first class resources in Openstack. And speaking of Kubernetes, we’d like to welcome Google to the OpenStack community. They recently became a member of the OpenStack foundation and we’re excited to have Google on board.

Having Google and all the other IT vendors involved is a good thing for OpenStack and a good thing for Rackspace. Why? Because cloud computing is becoming more and more hybrid. Companies are choosing multiple clouds, locations and technology platforms to host their applications. OpenStack gives companies choice in how and where they deploy their applications and it gives Rackspace the powerful software to run those workloads on.

Don’t be confused by our recent announcement of Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure. This should not be taken as a signal that we’re any less interested or involved in OpenStack. As I’ve said, companies are using multiple clouds and are definitely pursuing hybrid strategies for their adoption of cloud.

We have always been a company that’s taken a technology agnostic approach to serving our customers. We began as an open source company running Linux workloads, but Windows was interesting to many of our customers and so they drew us into fanatically supporting that technology stack as well.

Launching Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure doesn’t at all diminish our interest or commitment to the OpenStack ecosystem, in fact it’s the opposite — we have customers that need support and help on a variety of platforms.

As a company that isn’t tied to a single technology, we’re in a unique position to offer our customers OpenStack, Azure or VMware in addition to dedicated bare metal servers, all sitting side by side and complementing one another, and all while providing them the advice and support they need across those platforms.

This variety makes us a more trusted advisor, and we created OpenStack to complement our Managed Cloud services and make sure the world had more of a choice beyond one or two platforms. Now that choice exists, and we’re in a great position to deliver Fanatical Support across a wide range of leading technologies and platforms.

So without further ado, I’d like to wish OpenStack a very happy birthday — here’s to many more years of continued success.

John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Two years later, when Rackspace decided to add new services for larger enterprise customers, John created and helped develop the Intensive Hosting business unit. John played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace’s cloud-computing strategy and cloud products. John met frequently with customers to hear about their needs and concerns, and to discuss Rackspace’s vision for the future of cloud computing. John's final positions was as the company’s Chief Evangelist. John is also an internationally recognized cloud computing expert and a sought-after speaker at technology conferences, including CA World, the Goldman Sachs Techtonics Conference and Cloud Expo. He speaks on the future of cloud computing, enterprise cloud adoption, data center efficiency, green data center best practices, and more. Prior to joining Rackspace, John was a founder and General Manager at Internet Direct, one of the original Internet service providers in Texas. John is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting.

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