The ready-to-run appliance uses staff time and technology donated by rPath for a test cloud based on equipment from Rackspace.
rPath is betting that the next big thing in cloud computing will be the OpenStack platform, and it is donating a ready-to-run appliance for push-button installation and upgrade to the open source cloud community. The software developer--which automates enterprise software system construction, deployment, configuration, and maintenance across physical, virtual, and cloud environments--has launched the OpenStack Compute Appliance and is donating staff time and company technology for a test cloud based on equipment from Rackspace.
Created a year ago by a consortium led by cloud service provider Rackspace, OpenStack joined forces with the NASA Ames Research Center, which was working on its own open source cloud platform. Rackspace is behind the storage OpenStack, while NASA is behind the compute OpenStack. The number of developers contributing to the project has grown to 70, with support from 50 organizations, including Cisco Systems, Dell, Intel, and NetApp.
Gartner analyst Donna Scott says OpenStack offers the engine behind infrastructure as a service (IaaS) across many hypervisor platforms. "rPath is correct in that OpenStack is just emerging and that cloud computing is 'early,' but because of the interest, contributing to OpenStack could be a positive thing for rPath and raising its awareness in the market."
Building and deploying OpenStack compute servers has been a challenge for the OpenStack development team, says rPath. What was needed was an easily consumable, up-to-date OpenStack solution that users could simply grab and go, and since automated build, deployment, and configuration of complex, multitier applications that include full OS and middleware stacks is what the company specializes in, the appliance was a natural evolution.
"rPath provides the ability to create images or versions of the software you want to run at an internal [private cloud] or external service provider [virtual private cloud or public cloud] sites," says Scott. "It adds value to OpenStack because the OpenStack community of developers can now more easily install and deploy the OpenStack software. This will streamline and speed up the dev/test process for OpenStack. The strength is speed and accuracy of creating, deploying and maintaining the software stack."
While rPath is convinced OpenStack is the best open source bet around, the company says its "retargetability" feature enables users to dynamically change to a different platform if and when they want. One of the major concerns the company is hearing about is vendor lock-in. The company says the "paralyzing fear" of VMware lock-in is driving the open source market, and that OpenStack will become the equivalent of Linux in the operating system domain.
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