Happy birthday, OpenStack -- but don't get too comfortable

OpenStack is now three years old and has notched notable victories. However, questions on its future remain

The open source cloud computing software project OpenStack turned three years old last week, and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. OpenStack has come a long way since its launch, with contributions from Rackspace, NASA, Intel, and other groups. It now counts more than 1,000 contributors and 1.28 million lines of code, from an initial roster of 20 contributors and 44,000 lines of code.

Moreover, the number of companies supporting OpenStack grew from 50 upon initial launch to 231, among them huge players such as IBM and HP. You can't argue with that progress.

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While OpenStack can boast big names, including Bloomberg, Comcast, Fidelity, and PayPal, the growth of OpenStack within traditional IT shops has been lackluster when compared to Amazon Web Services. The tech world has accepted OpenStack, but most enterprises looking at cloud computing still have questions around the long-term viability and the maturity of the standard.

My concern is that we've yet to see the number of OpenStack implementations I'd expect by now, at least for public clouds. OpenStack grew in response to Amazon's success, but when given a choice, most enterprises seem to prefer Amazon over OpenStack for their public cloud implementations. Interest in OpenStack does not seem to translate directly into growth of projects and installations.

The larger OpenStack players haven't seen the predicted growth either. Rackspace, one of the early OpenStack pioneers, missed its Q1 revenue forecast and even saw a dip in its stock price upon the news that Amazon was lowering its pricing yet again.

HP is just getting its cloud strategy up and running, and confusion still surrounds IBM's use of OpenStack. However, VMware, which seems to be OpenStack's key competitor these days, is not setting the world on fire with its recent loss of key executives and what seems to be a slowdown in the growth of its install base.

While OpenStack loyalists are getting together to celebrate the standard, Amazon is gathering market share. Either the key OpenStack players will get the work, or we could see OpenStack fall by the wayside sooner rather than later.

This article, "Happy birthday, OpenStack -- but don't get too comfortable," originally appeared atInfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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