Canonical Spreads its Open Cloud Wings with OpenStack
Back in July of last year, Rackspace and NASA announced an effort to create sophisticated open source cloud computing infrastructure that could compete with proprietary offerings. Dubbed the OpenStack project, it was targeted to manage both software-centric and storage-centric aspects of cloud computing, focusing on clusters that can leverage distributed resources. It has a number of heavy-hitters behind it, and now OpenStack has released a second version of its platform code-named Bexar. Now, both Canonical and Cisco have deepened relationships with OpenStack, with Canonical putting OpenStack in Ubuntu 11.04. All of a sudden, OpenStack is looking like a cloud platform to take very seriously, but it faces challenges. Meanwhile, Canonical's stance toward the cloud remains very open.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols quotes Canonical’s Cloud Solutions Lead, Nick Barcet, on Canonical embracing OpenStack:
"Our aim with OpenStack over time is to make Ubuntu the best OS for clouds built on this stack, both at the infrastructure and guest levels. There is real energy and momentum building around this technology and we congratulate the guys and girls in that project for their success so far. It looks a terrific base for building out open-source based public clouds and its embracing on not just its own APIs (application programming interfaces) but also the EC2 APIs. This offers great options for users and customers to remain flexible as we move towards industry-wide open standards for these types of architectures.”
Canonical is taking an ecumenical approach to cloud platforms, though. It continues to work with Eucalyptus Systems' cloud platform, which works with the new Dell servers featuring a Canonical cloud-focused core. Eucalyptus, too, essentially duplicates the functionality of Amazon's EC2 in an open, flexible platform.
In all likelihood, Canonical will stay ecumenical in embracing more than one cloud platform. So far, it has clearly gravitated toward open platforms, which both Eucalyptus and OpenStack are, and there should be no reason to stray from that strategy. If Canonical can offer the most open, flexible ways to allow businesses to deploy public and private hybrid cloud offerings, and continue to work with mighty hardware players like Dell, cloud computing could be Canonical's next big frontier.