The New Linux: OpenStack aims for the heavens
An open source platform even Microsoft loves
In late November, Mark Collier brought his OpenStack crusade to the Far East. Collier oversees community relations for the OpenStack project, an ambitious effort to create a completely open source ecosystem for building Amazon-like "infrastructure clouds". After the Thanksgiving holidays, he and his team flew to Beijing and then Tokyo for pow wows with independent developers and big-name outfits who've embraced the project, including Japanese telecom giant NTT.
OpenStack is less than six months old, but the project has progressed to the point where its vice president of community finds himself on the other side of the planet addressing a standing-room-only audience through a Japanese translator. And if NTT's involvement doesn't impress you, keep in mind that here in the States, OpenStack has won the support of Microsoft, a tech giant not exactly known for embracing open source.
OpenStack was founded by NASA and Rackspace, Collier's employer. But the idea is to create a truly open platform that lets anyone build their own infrastructure clouds – online services that provide on-demand access to compute power and storage that can scale as needed. These might be "public clouds" similar to Amazon's AWS, a web service available to world+dog, but OpenStack is also meant for "private clouds" used behind the firewall.
Despite years of hype (and more hype), cloud computing has yet to really capture the enterprise. Big businesses are reluctant to adopt infrastructure clouds, Collier tells The Register, because they fear winding up in a situation where they're beholden to a single vendor – and they don't quite know what the vendor is doing. But naturally, he believes OpenStack will calm these fears.
"Customers are concerned about being locked in to any one vendor, whether it's a software vendor or a service provider...and they're concerned about lack of transparency: What's going on in that black box? They worry they won't really know what they're running on. That kind of fear slows down adoption," he says. "We felt that open source was the way to provide the ultimate transparency and portability, so you can run it in your data center and you can run it through service providers."
The platform is based on Nova, a compute engine and fabric controller designed by NASA, and the code behind Cloud Files, the public storage service operated by Rackspace. According to Collier, Rackspace was preparing to open source both its compute engine and its storage controller when NASA suddenly tossed its newly-built Nova code onto a public web server. Rackspace got on the phone, and the two founded an open source project.
"What we had in common with them was that we were operating at scale... [and] that we weren't a software company," Collier says. "There was no clash of interests where somebody says 'I'm not sure I'm going to open source this because it's going to kill my revenue.'"
Whereas Rackspace offers public compute and storage services, NASA is building its own private cloud, known as Nebula. This was originally built atop Eucalyptus, another open-source platform. But according to NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp, Eucalyptus didn't scale as well as NASA hoped, and it wasn't as open as the agency would have liked.
Next page: Open is as open does
GPL is the only reason we're all bitching here about Linux
while largely and unfairly ignoring FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and other like that. They are all powerful, robust, highly secure but they are rarely mentioned. Although their license is even more liberal than GPL and cost the same, Oracle, IBM, Intel, Google and other big names in the computing industry considered Linux instead. More than that, in Microsoft's opinion GPL is a cancer, is un-American, is communist, hell they can't even spell those three letters without giving them hive while BSD, Apache and other licenses are OK.
Yes, pro-GPL advocates are vocal because they do mind whenever someone tries to steal their work in the same way that Microsoft would be angry if you don't play nice with their license.
The only thing that really upsets the stomach of all those anti-GPL proponents is that this license ensures a perpetually level playing field. Maybe this is not important for you but for some of us it is.
@Can't be good..
MSFT's TCP stack is almost entirely open source ( BSD) - would it have been better for them to have 'done a DEC' and implemented their own proprietry version of the internet?
If using open source components without them giving anything back means that MSFT at least stays a little more compatible with open standards that's fine
" By adopting an Apache license thay have gone to the other extreme and basically given away all their work to any proprietary shark that wants to freeload on the tax payers' dollar and take the whole shebang private. "
What kind of "argument" is that? Even if MS were to "embrace and extend" OpenStack, it won't stop others from using the official OpenStack data and competing with their *own* contributions to the project.
I keep reading variations on this bizarre logic from pro-GPL advocates, but they've never once managed to provide any evidence that this anything other than a straw-man 'problem'.
Even Public Domain greatly predates the GPL, but it's still working just fine today. Personally, the only reason I can see for such vocal advocacy of GPL licensing is egotism. It's like giving away a million dollars to charity, while running a million-dollar PR campaign to make damned sure everyone knows about your "utterly selfless" gesture.