The promise of OpenStack is to provide an open source cloud platform that both end users and service providers can use that will give Amazon Web Services a run for its money. OpenStack backers say having a common cloud platform like OpenStack that powers both internal private clouds for users, as well as the public clouds from service providers will foster an ecosystem where customers will have the freedom to move their applications and workloads between their public and private clouds, and across to multiple vendors. The project is not quite there yet, though. Some, such as Gartner's Lydia Leong caution users to not expect such lofty expectations. She argues that interoperability between public and private OpenStack clouds is not inherent, for example.
But, the fact is OpenStack is growing. At the project's last summit in the fall of 2012, officials said that since the project launched it has expanded from 30,000 lines of code to now more than 600,000. More than 600 developers are working on the project, with more than 400 contributing to it within the last year.
2013 will be an important year for OpenStack, says Forrester cloud analyst James Staten. The vendor community for OpenStack has basically been ironed out; everyone knows who's in and who's out. Now, these vendors are going from planning their OpenStack strategies to executing them, and specifically looking for customer adoption. "There are a lot of companies that have committed to OpenStack but they're not making money on it yet," Staten says.
To make money these vendors need to be selling products though. Rackspace seems the most mature in its OpenStack powered cloud. As one of the original founding members of OpenStack, the company has continued to be a leader in the project and now is one of the first to roll out new features added to the OpenStack code in its commercial offering. HP has made its public cloud generally available, while Red Hat, Dell, IBM and a variety of smaller companies like Nimbula - which is founded by OpenStack pioneer Chris Kemp - are all expected to make major OpenStack product news in 2013.
LOOK AHEAD: 10 Cloud predictions for 2013