To aid in wider adoption, OpenStack is being outfitted with a number of new features that should make it more palatable for enterprises, said John Engates, chief technology officer for managed hosting provider Rackspace. One project, called Keystone, will allow organizations to integrate OpenStack with their identity management systems, those based on Microsoft Active Directory or other LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) implementations. Also, developers are working on a front-end portal for the software as well. Rackspace, which first partnered with NASA to package OpenStack for general usage, is also spinning off the project as a fully independent stand-alone entity, in hopes that it will be an attractive option for more cloud providers.
"2011 was the year for building the base of the product, but I think 2012 is where we really start to use that base for a lot of private and public clouds," Engates said.
The past year has seen the dramatic growth in the use of nonrelational databases, such as Cassandra, MongoDB, CouchDB and countless others. But at the NoSQL Now conference, held last September, much of the buzz surrounded a still unreleased data store called Stig. With any luck, we will see Stig in 2012.
Stig is designed for the unique workloads of social networking sites, its maintainers claim. It was created at the social networking site Tagged by software engineer Jason Lucas, who calls the technology a distributed graph database. It is designed to support heavily interactive and social Web applications. The data store's architecture allows for inferential searching, allowing users and applications to look for connections between disparate pieces of information. Because it was written, in part, in the Haskell functional programming language, it can easily divide up its workload across multiple servers.
Stig is still a bit of a mystery, as it hasn't been actually released yet. But observers are predicting it could fit a niche in the social networks and other applications that keep a wide range of data. The needs of social networking services are inherently different from other types of jobs, and would benefit from a database attuned to its needs, Lucas explained. "You can't be a relevant service in this space without being able to scale to a planetary size," he said.
Stig is currently operating on one server at Tagged, though the company expects to expand its use to the point where it will be the sole database for the company. Originally, the developers were planning to source code by December, but moved back the release to sometime in 2012.