The Rackspace Open Cloud: What’s In It For Developers?

There has been a lot said about what Rackspace has done to build out our open cloud platform and products that leverage OpenStack. We’ve highlighted how it introduces a new level of choice for portability, avoids vendor lock-in and puts control back in our customer’s hands.

But I wanted to talk a bit about what this means for developers. The cloud has become an integrated component to modern application development. It has revolutionized the way software is built and deployed. How do developers get even more benefit from an open cloud ecosystem built on the OpenStack open source cloud operating system that we’ve helped build?

For developers, our open cloud offers a host of benefits, but three really percolate to the top of mind. First, developers can directly impact and influence the direction of products and have unprecedented insight into our product roadmap. Second, they have early access to the code and APIs to prepare well ahead of our product launches. Third, community members are building upon each other and more developers can write tools and bindings making integration quick and easy for everyone else.

With OpenStack and the Rackspace open cloud, the core of our infrastructure products are coded in the open. Developers can use the same code that we use. They can review and comment on proposed changes. They can get deep under the hood. If developers want to know what our agents are doing and how we supply them with information, they can simply look at them on github. And, if they don’t like it or see a way to improve it, they can suggest changes to the code. Through the OpenStack design summit and blueprint process, Rackspace is giving developers a clear view of our roadmap and a chance to influence which direction the product goes. This is miles ahead of the traditional, closed-door development process of the past.

Developers also get an advanced view of how our APIs will evolve. It’s like a crystal ball. Today, developers have full visibility into the Quantum (Networking) project, even though it is not yet released commercially. We may not have an exact release date, but developers are already playing with the code and can see the APIs well in advance – and they’ve been doing so for almost a year. In fact, many have been active in developing the Quantum 2.0 API that is part of the Folsom release. Instead of waiting for us to publish our APIs on launch day or trying to get a briefing under NDA, developers can start coding immediately. This gives them a powerful head-start in developing applications on the OpenStack platform and helps them stay ahead of the curve. The same can be said for the Cinder (Block Storage) and Glance (Images) projects, which developers had access to months before the commercial release. With Glance, developers can look at the API and test it now. When we do release the service, developers will be prepared to quickly offer support. This process allows new capabilities and access to new markets with increasing speed.

With the open cloud and OpenStack, we’re giving developers the keys to drive their applications forward in a transparent and open environment; a valuable and powerful capability that closed and proprietary offerings don’t match. We hope you’ll join us on the open cloud and help us shape OpenStack for the future.

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