Although Rackspace and NASA have not entered into a formal partnership, it is hoped that their collaboration on OpenStack will be an impetus for new cloud computing initiatives. Rackspace and NASA have been joined by companies such as AMD, Citrix, Dell, iomart, Spiceworks and many others.
Both Rackspace and NASA have donated code for the project: the former has donated the code that powers its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public-cloud offerings, while the space agency has donated the code of its Nebula Cloud Platform.
Fabio Torlini, Rackspace's head of cloud services said that the move would rapidly accelerate the take-up[ of cloud services and also help to strengthen the move to interoperability. " We expect our cloud platforms to become a de facto standard in time," he said. "We really expect this to take off massively."
Torlini added that while there would be little immediate benefit to enterprises looking to move to a cloud platform, in the long run there would be a boost to the number of applications available.
He acknowledged the concerns that many in the user community had over security in the cloud but said that by freeing up the code, there would be more opportunities to improve security. "If we'd left it like it was, it would just have been Rackspace and NASA working on their own, by freeing up the code, we enable many more companies to help improve security," he said. He also stressed that this shouldn't be seen as purely a Rackspace initiative, "Everyone is welcome to contribute," he said.
"Modern scientific computation requires ever increasing storage and processing power delivered on-demand," said Chris Kemp, NASA's Chief Technology Officer for IT. "To serve this demand, we built Nebula, an infrastructure cloud platform designed to meet the needs of our scientific and engineering community.
The companies have developed an OpenStack website with further information on the project with a complete list of members.