After almost a year of preparation, the OpenStack Foundation has launched as a stand-alone nonprofit organization, freeing its namesake stack of open source cloud hosting software from the management of hosting provider Rackspace.
Rackspace loosely oversaw the community development for the first two years of the project, though last year, the project leaders decided the open source software would be better managed in a vendor neutral setting, much like the Linux Foundation oversees the Linux OS kernel. On Wednesday, the newly formed organization announced that Rackspace transferred to it both the community management activities and the OpenStack trademark.
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"Putting OpenStack in an independent and vendor neutral foundation is one way to make sure you don't get stuck with a single vendor," said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, explaining why he believes the foundation will be beneficial to organizations that are considering the use of the technology.
"OpenStack will be around for years to come. [Vendor] acquisitions get made, product lines get slashed, strategies get changed. The foundation provides an independent home that will be the long term way that OpenStack will continue to be developed and supported," Bryce said.
The managers of the project took considerable effort to make sure the foundation would represent all the parties involved. Lingering concerns remain, however, about the transparency of the group.
The OpenStack project was launched two years ago and combined two separate cloud software projects: NASA's Nebula and Rackspace's Cloud Files. OpenStack provides a platform for running a private cloud infrastructure. Additionally, some cloud hosting providers, such as Rackspace and Hewlett-Packard use the software to host their own services.
Interest in the project has been strong since its launch. More than 573 developers have contributed to the code base, which now has more than 550,000 lines of code. The Foundation now boasts of more than 5,600 members, representing the interests of more than 850 organizations. The project garnered around $10 million in funding, mostly from corporate contributions.
The OpenStack Foundation will have three branches: a technical committee, a user committee and a board of directors.
The board provides strategic and financial oversight for the organization. The board is comprised 24 members: 8 members from the Platinum sponsors, 8 from the Gold sponsors, and 8 from individual members.
The membership is distributed so no one entity can have too much influence over the board, Bryce said. OpenStack will only issue 8 Platinum sponsorships, so each Platinum sponsorship comes with its own board seat. The gold members each elect eight of their own to sit on the board, as do the individual members.