Rackspace Hosting and NASA Monday launched an initiative that will rely on code from open sources to create cloud computing systems.

The new platform, which Rackspace calls OpenStack, is designed to foster the emergence of technology standards that will allow different computing "clouds" created by different companies and data center operators to work together.

Rackspace said it is donating the code that defines its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public-cloud offerings to the OpenStack project.  The project will also incorporate technology that powers the NASA Nebula Cloud Platform. 

Rackspace and the National Aeronautics and Aerospace Administration plan to actively collaborate on joint technology development and leverage the efforts of open-source software developers worldwide.

“Modern scientific computation requires ever increasing storage and processing power delivered on-demand,” said Chris C. Kemp, NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for IT.  “NASA and Rackspace are uniquely positioned to drive this initiative based on our experience in building large-scale cloud platforms and our desire to embrace open source.” 
 
OpenStack will feature several cloud infrastructure components including a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files, available at OpenStack.org.  The next component planned for release is a scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula cloud technology and Rackspace Cloud Servers technology.

That is expected to be available later this year.  Using these components, organizations would be able to turn physical hardware into scalable and extensible cloud environments using the same code currently in production serving tens of thousands of customers and large government projects.
 
“We are founding the OpenStack initiative to help drive industry standards, prevent vendor lock-in and generally increase the velocity of innovation in cloud technologies,” said Lew Moorman, President, Cloud and CSO at Rackspace.

Rackspace and NASA have committed to use OpenStack to power their cloud platforms, and Rackspace will dedicate open-source developers and resources to support adoption of OpenStack among enterprises and service providers.

 

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