Late yesterday, Rackspace launched OpenStack with a reasonable community of boosters. OpenStack aims to disrupt the cloud stack red ocean with a complete open source release of the Rackspace CloudServers compute and CloudFiles object storage systems for use by anybody.
Importantly, OpenStack is released under Apache 2.0, which basically means you can pretty much do as you please with the code – including commercializing it to a degree (e.g. charge for support). As Krish tweeted to me last night – OpenStack is kind of the Apache of cloud stacks.
Lots of people are jumping on the bandwagon, and this could end up being a very big issue for a number of the stack providers I have listed previously. My expectation is that this will serve the needs of service providers looking to deploy an SMB cloud offering similar to Rackspace Cloud, but that it won’t do much for the enterprise for some significant period of time. Service providers might be leary too – first in terms of having no throat to choke (no commercialization partner), but also out of concerns of having a me too service. Do you really want to compete with Rackspace with their own code? Smart people can still provide differentiation, but there may be a natural aversion to basing your cloud on one of your main competitor’s kit.
So, for now this is very exciting news that could change the face of the industry. I’m here at HostingCon and will try to get a reaction from folks to see how they feel about it. Some mass market hosters like Peer1 and SoftLayer have already joined the OpenStack bandwagon, but until they’ve actually deployed it (2011 ??), it’s just moral support.