OpenStack Turns Two; Let’s Look Ahead

OpenStack is 2 years old today. Time flies. In that short amount of time we’ve seen tremendous growth. OpenStack has become the most important open source project in the industry, and we’re proud to have founded and helped build a top-notch community that is fueling a true open source cloud operating system and an open cloud revolution.

We’re thrilled that in two years OpenStack has been put into a host of production environments; is being used by some of the world’s largest companies; and has attracted some of the biggest technology names to drive the community effort. And we plan to continue this trajectory. Two years has also shown us that developing in the open is tough. It has challenges. There are now more users solving much harder problems, and they’re relying on us to help them do that.

The first two years were great, but let’s look to the future and where OpenStack goes from here.

OpenStack’s first two years focused heavily on its development. Now it’s time to think about the users; the customers who will leverage OpenStack. In the next two years and beyond, we plan to focus on what cloud customers need. They need ease of deployment, simple upgrades from one release to the next, tight management capabilities and more. We’ve laid the foundation for the open cloud, now let’s make it easier to use. At Rackspace, we’ll be the proof-point; we’re running the world’s largest OpenStack-based public cloud. That means OpenStack powers the second largest public cloud in the world. And come August 1, when Rackspace officially launches its open cloud portfolio, OpenStack will land in more customer environments than ever before.

As cloud users take the spotlight in the future of the open cloud and OpenStack, it’s also imperative that interoperability shares that spotlight. Interoperability is a core tenant of OpenStack. As vendors, customers and others leverage OpenStack we must be sure that applications will be portable across all of these environments. The open cloud is about choice and portability; the proprietary clouds are closed. It is the antithesis of lock-in against closed-cloud antagonists.

OpenStack will soon shift to the control of the community. This will serve as a rallying call for all stakeholders. We’ve seen proof that single vendor and proprietary projects have the ability to move quickly in the short term, but the wisdom and influence of a bigger team produces the best long term results. This is evident in the throw down between Android and the iPhone; it was never a question of if Android would win, it was a question of when. Same goes for OpenStack. But to get to that point and make OpenStack the Android of the cloud, we have to make it feel and act more like a product and less about the cool features – but the features sure are great, and they’re getting better!

Personally, I would like to thank all of the individuals, companies and others who have pushed OpenStack over many goal lines in just two years. It’s been a labor of love for a lot of us, and to see it turn two makes myself and many others extremely proud. But this major milestone is no time to rest on our laurels.

The mission of the OpenStack Foundation will be to define exactly what we want to build together and to innovate and execute. And the community continues to make great strides. There has been an explosive cadence of contributions that has accelerated the pace of innovation.

For Rackspace’s part, we will continue to invest in OpenStack in both our public cloud and private cloud. And OpenStack will not just be in our own data centers, but in our customers’ data centers, colocation facilities or any combination of them. Why?  Because the demand is real. Just ask anyone in the ecosystem – the developers, contributors, community members and customers. Every IT manager who is building out a cloud infrastructure strategy for the coming decade is looking at OpenStack. Period. Let’s serve our customers. And let’s serve them well.

For more on OpenStack’s first two years, check out this infographic that gives a by-the-numbers look at OpenStack.

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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