Why Rackspace open sourced OpenStack

Making TurnKey easy to deploy on as many public and private clouds is an important goal for us. We're going to soon be expanding the number of image formats TurnKey officially support to include more major contenders in this space. We'd also like to establish a mirror network that supports rsync so that service providers will find it easy to get up-to-date images of all TurnKey appliances. By the way, if an rsync mirror is something you would find valuable, drop me a line.

Unfortunately there are too many players in the cloud software space for us to support every single one. It's much easier to put effort into making TurnKey work well with the winning horses. OpenStack is particularly interesting, because as I've said before it is most likely the future of open source clouds.

It was a very interesting move on RackSpace's part to put their weight behind the commoditization of cloud technology. You'd think after all of the effort and money they invested in developing their own cloud technology they'd want to keep it for themselves. Instead they form an alliance with their competitors and decide to give it away.

My take on this is that this is in fact a very smart move, but not necessarily for the official reasons RackSpace made public.

You see, well before OpenStack there was a fury of open source activity in this space and a few years down the road one of these projects (e.g., before OpenStack, Eucalyptus was my favorite candidate) would have inevitably become the "Linux" of cloud. This would have left RackSpace stuck with the costs of developing their own proprietary cloud operating system and robbed them of the ability to ride the wave of free innovation that almost magically happens once an open source project gathers enough momentum.

I think RackSpace realized, hey if it's going to happen anyway, we might as well lead the camp. I suspect this is a strong indicator that RackSpace really do believe their competitive advantage is based on branding, corporate culture (e.g., "fanatical support") and economies of scale rather than software development, which in this case is just a cost they would love to share with the community. They're probably right!

Also, having internal clouds run on the same platform as RackSpace's cloud will make interoperability much easier, unlocking a huge source of revenue as corporations finally begin trusting cloud providers, but not just any cloud provider, to offload (or outsource) their own internal IT infrastructure. Interesting how open source collaboration as a tool for reducing costs and commoditizing key technology components can make sense even to a large profit-oriented company. It doesn't have to be about the ideology, and these days I think it usually isn't - it just makes business cents.


brian mullan's picture


You may find this interesting info on OpenStack.   Rackspace engineers have been using Ubuntu servers to develop OpenStack for several years.   

When I found that out then Canonical/Ubuntu's move to switch from Eucalyptus to OpenStack this past year as the strategic Cloud architeture for Ubuntu made alot of sense.

Ubuntu 11.10 released in October 2011 now contains all the components of OpenStack in the Ubuntu Repositories so installing Nova, Swift etc servers is now just as simple as installing other Ubuntu repository apps.

If you goto the OpenStack website you will notice that all the Openstack software is also stored in Launchpad.   All the software is downloadable as .deb files or the Ubuntu PPA is published.

Rackspace is moving their public cloud to utilize only Openstack.

HP just announced that their new Public cloud will utilize Openstack and also Ubuntu as the primary host server and client server.

And for those that have not been following what Canonical is doing with their cloud provisioning efforts take a look at some of the information about Juju.

The following is a link to Ubuntu's Juju Charm Browser and the apps that juju can already deploy to EC2, Eucalyptus -or- Openstack using any of the Charms listed.


Overview preso of DevOps using Juju:   http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/6793/39309

Two examples of Juju use:

Deploying WordPress to the Cloud:   http://youtu.be/qxMhKbDSbOw

Deploying Hadoop to the Cloud:  http://youtu.be/e8IKkWJj7bA

Since Rackspace & HP are moving to OpenStack... this becomes really interesting.   TurnKeyLinux might want to look at utilizing Juju and developing "charms" for deployment to the cloud in the future.

Charm's are written in YAML and from what I understand any other language of your choosing.   The Overview Preso above is Mark Shuttleworth (owner of Canonical) and Clint Bynum (leading Ubuntu cloud eng) discussing the technology and its benefits.




OnePressTech's picture

I apologize in advance if huynhai is a real person but I really doubt it.

To take a copy of existing year old text just to get a link to nothing!

I'd press it to see what's there but it's probably just a Java exploit.

Copyright infringement + spam + a likely exploit. This could not possibly be any further from the productive efforts of the TKLX community. What a shame people choose to be that unproductive in life.

Mini rant over :-)


Tim (Managing Director - OnePressTech)

Jeremy Davis's picture

The spammers seem to love the TKL forums. I guess it's because it does so well in google page rankings, as well as being open (ie users can post without logging in). There have been mumerings of making it so only logged in users can post, but we do get a lot of good stuff posted by people who choose not to log in, and who knows how much of that we'd lose if we required login. Besides some of the spammers don't seem to realise that and create accounts anyway...

But between the automated anti-spam measures and the fairly responsive human anti-spam efforts we keep on top of it pretty well (mostly). Pity the spammers don't seem to realise that their efforts are wasted. Besides most of the spam is so irrelevant to the community and what goes on here that I find it hard to believe that they would get any real benefit out of it.

And yes I agree wouldn't it be great if instead of spamming they actually put their energy into something constructive. Even if they didn't, just leaving us alone would allow forum mods to put our time into something a little more constructive (other than deleteing spam) Oh wel...

OnePressTech's picture

Thanks for deleting the spam Jeremy...a thankless and endless job I'm sure!

For those just tuning in...my rant above was not directed at the well written article and response re. Rackspace but rather a spam entry that Jeremy then kindly deleted.

I'm not actually prone to random rants...usually :-)


Tim (Managing Director - OnePressTech)


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