OpenStack 2013: The Year Of The User

There’s an interesting transformation happening at the OpenStack Summit. Since our humble beginnings with 75 or so developers in a small room in Austin, it has exploded.

What started out as an event catering to developers, quickly shifted to attract early adopters. From there, it ballooned further. Today, OpenStack Summit Portland marks the biggest ever Summit – with an estimated 2,600-plus in attendance. And the best part is, the majority of those people are users; and if they’re not users now, they’re potential users interested in giving OpenStack a shot. These are real companies building their businesses and doing great things on OpenStack, or they are hoping to.

This is huge. It’s a reminder of why we as a community are doing what we’re doing. This is a critical inflection point for OpenStack as a project. As a user and a major developer, Rackspace sees it from both sides.

Throughout the week we’ll hear from real customers using OpenStack in real ways. They like the advantages of an open, community-driven ecosystem. They’re tired of being locked in to closed, proprietary and expensive licensed software contracts.

Consider HubSpot, for example, a Boston-based company that got fed up with the limitations of its large, closed public cloud provider and turned to Rackspace and OpenStack for a hybrid environment that increased its efficiency four times over. This is a company that is breaking glass and embracing the shift to the open cloud. HubSpot has seen open cloud unlock new doors that were closed by proprietary providers. And they’re not only a user of OpenStack, they’re also contributing back to the community. HubSpot is a perfect example of a user that is using OpenStack to drive real business value.

It’s great to hear these user stories and see everyone so excited about OpenStack. For us at Rackspace, we also continue to see successes in running the world’s largest OpenStack-based public cloud.

Here are some stats that show users are really digging into OpenStack:

  • We at Rackspace have had more than 549 million API hits across our three regions. That’s a pretty impressive number and we’re happy with the scale.
  • We also continue to have high API availability across all three zones with better than 99.94 percent, including scheduled maintenance.
  • Version 3 of Rackspace Private Cloud has had more than 8,500 downloads in just six weeks.

And yesterday, we made another step toward getting OpenStack into the hands of more users around the world: we unveiled our plans to build a Rackspace Global Cloud Network, a new program that arms service providers and telcos with an interoperable and linked OpenStack-based public cloud environment.

We’re also currently running Grizzly. And while we’re ahead of the curve there, our code commits percentage continues to decrease as more companies get involved in OpenStack. Forty-five companies contributed to Grizzly and our percentage of code commits was 14 percent, that’s compared to 30 percent in Folsom and 54 percent in Essex.

We’re working hard on OpenStack. We’re ramping up our OpenStack investment and our involvement. We’re all working to improve the user experience. Our reduction in the percentage of committed code is an amazing illustration that no one company is driving OpenStack. This is not about one company winning the OpenStack market; it’s about OpenStack winning the cloud market. And, ultimately, it’s the users who win with an open cloud environment driven by a strong community.

It’s users that are now in the driver’s seat. This has been three years in the making. The time for users on OpenStack is now – and it is awesome.

Jim Curry was a Senior Consultant with Rackspace. He joined the company in 2006 to run corporate development efforts, which included new business incubation, venture investing activities, and mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisitions of, Slicehost, Jungle Disk and Cloudkick. Three years later, Jim led the founding of the OpenStack project on behalf of Rackspace and was responsible for developing the community until its transition to the OpenStack Foundation in 2012. Jim has previously held executive positions with several technology startups, including Bowstreet and Tivoli, which have since been acquired by IBM. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and an MBA from Harvard University. Jim and his wife Laurie have a son and twins, a boy and a girl. Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimcurry and on his blog at:


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