Two More Reasons the Cloud Era Will be Open

Nine months ago, we joined forces with NASA and 20 leading tech companies to launch OpenStack, the open source project and community devoted to building the cloud operating system.  What a ride it has been!   Not only has community engagement exceeded our wildest dreams, but support for an open approach to the cloud has spread like a prairie fire.  Just in the last two weeks, two of the most innovative companies in tech have made major contributions to the open cloud movement.

Facebook kicked it off by launching Open Compute, a community effort to create the lowest-cost and greenest datacenters and servers on the planet.  We are thrilled to be charter members of the effort and are confident Open Compute will provide a great foundation on which Rackspace and others can integrate their deployment of OpenStack.

Last week, the trend continued with VMware announcing Cloud Foundry, a multi- language, open platform service that is a great fit to sit on top of a service-orchestration layer such as OpenStack.  VMware released all the code of Cloud Foundry to the developer community under Apache 2, completing the open cloud stack for several major frameworks.  We welcome VMware to the open world and look forward to close collaboration to bring innovation to all levels of the technology stack.

Rackspace views these new efforts as great compliments to the OpenStack project.  In fact, OpenStack community members are already working on how to tie all these components into one integrated system.  With over 500 people scheduled to attend next week’s OpenStack design summit, perhaps we will see some results of those efforts.

The open cloud is taking shape.  While OpenStack Open Compute and Cloud Foundry are a strong foundation, many other efforts are advancing the cause, including: excellent open source projects such as Openflow for networking, RabbitMQ for messaging, and even Crowbar for easy installation of OpenStack deployments.  In addition, the world’s great technology companies are working to create complimentary technologies and services and business models that will ensure the community keeps advancing.

Anyone who thinks the cloud era of computing is not a paradigm shift is not paying attention.  The benefits of instant, low-cost computing are everywhere.  New companies are starting at a record clip, creating new products, services and jobs.  Science and business are harnessing computing like never before. And our mobile world is being powered by more and more robust services, driving both consumer delight and business efficiency.   It is a whole new ballgame — and it’s just getting started.

While much remains uncertain in this new era of computing, this much is clear: the technology powering it will be very different from what we’ve known in previous computing eras.  The reign of rigid proprietary stacks dominated by a small number of big players is nearing its end.  The open cloud is upon us.

Lew Moorman is a senior consultant to the top executives of Rackspace, focusing on strategy and product issues. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Lew joined Rackspace in April of 2000 and has served in a variety of roles, including as President and Chief Strategy Officer, while the company grew to $1.3 billion in annual sales. Before joining Rackspace, he worked for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, advising technology clients on strategic issues. A native of San Antonio, Lew received a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.


  1. I agree, Cloud computing is here to stay — and for long — promising better platforms for greater efficiency and better customer service.

    Perhaps the question is not about industries migrating to the cloud, but how businesses’ existing security processes and methodologies translate to cloud computing and can be applied to it.


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