As the recent uproar over the Amazon outage cast in bold relief, Amazon Web Services has become the de facto standard for IaaS in the public cloud. While companies such as VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, and IBM hope to use their data center presence to grab significant pieces of the IaaS pie, a growing number of technology providers are aligning around open source cloud contender OpenStack as a platform for both public cloud providers and for customers' private clouds.
That backing has by no means been trivial, either. Well-established vendors and providers such as Dell, Rackspace, and Citrix are throwing real weight behind OpenStack in the form of actual products and implementations (as opposed to intriguing propositions -- such as Cisco's vision of a network-as-a-service built on OpenStack or AT&T's consideration of building a private cloud on the platform).
That's good news. It means the year-old project isn't likely to fade away anytime soon -- unlike so many other well-intentioned open source projects -- unless the platform fails to live up to expectations as flexible cloud platform enabling the development of interoperable services that allow customers to seamlessly move workloads from one cloud service provider to another.
Dell is among the most notable companies to throw its weight behind OpenStack. The company this week unveiled its anticipated package of hardware, software, and services built around OpenStack, aimed at giving organizations the tools to deploy their own IaaS operations.
The cloud package includes the full suite of OpenStack software running on Linux Ubuntu 10.10 and installed on Dell PowerEdge C servers. Dell also rolled out its open source Crowbar software, which can automate the installation and configuration of OpenStack across multiple nodes, executing tasks such as BIOS configuration, RAID configuration, and network discovery. Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders will provide consultation services, and Dell supplies a reference architecture, or blueprint, to help organizations design their clouds.