OpenStack: Rackspace and NASA Nebula Join Forces for Open Cloud Ecosystem


Written by Alex Williams

     This post is part of our ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing. The channel is sponsored by Intel and VMware. How one company graduated to enterprise wide virtualization. Learn more in this ReadWriteWeb special report, made possible by Intel and VMware: Simplot Australia Takes Virtualization Beyond Test and Development.


       Rackspace and NASA are open-sourcing code and technology for people anywhere to create their own cloud environments.

       Called OpenStack, the initiative is one of the most substantive efforts to support interoperability in the cloud. As part of the initiative, Rackspace is donating the code that powers its files and servers, the foundation for its public-cloud offerings. NASA will contribute technology used to power its Nebula Cloud Platform.

       Twenty five companies have signed on to support OpenStack. These include Intel, Dell and Citrix. Discussions have started with companies like Microsoft. The goal is to create an ecosystem of open-cloud environments.

     OpenStack will feature several cloud infrastructure components including a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files.

     NASA Nebula is one of the world's most powerful cloud computing platforms. For instance, Nebula is processing the images from a camera that is orbiting Mars and taking images of the planet for use in the WorldWide telescope, a project of Microsoft Research. Nebula processed - and now hosts - more than 100 terabytes of high-resolution images, the equivalent of 20,000 DVDs worth of information.

    This level of computational capability makes Nebula viable for any enterprise or government agency.

     A Rackspace representative said the lack of interoperability is slowing down adoption of the cloud. Customers are asking about how they can move data around. When they don't find answers, they're having to make technology and architectural trade-offs.

    Those trade-offs should not be happening. If all the cloud providers used the same core technology then customers could shop around based on the value of the different cloud services. It would create a market where the core technology is not the core differentiator.

   All the cloud providers use open-source components. The need is for a Cloud OS that ties it all together.