by Ron Royston, Senior Solutions Architect

OpenStack may sound like something just begging to have syrup poured on it and be eaten joyously, but it’s not. Just like Velcro and scratch-resistant eyeglasses, it originated as a gift from NASA but is now a part of daily life that we can’t imagine living without. Unlike the others, however, you may not be aware that you use OpenStack or just how much easier it makes your life.

Conceived in 2010, it is – at its heart – a set of software components. The OpenStack website describes it as “a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds.” This collection of free, open-source projects functions most often as a solution based on the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model. It’s not overly dramatic to say that OpenStack represents the future of cloud computing.

NASA and Rackspace Hosting first came up with the idea and began developing the modules. Today the entire project is managed by the non-profit OpenStack Foundation and the platform itself is supported and relied on by many of the world’s largest and most advanced technology organizations. Cisco, IBM, Linux, Intel, AT&T and the NSA are among these devoted users, and naturally Onepath Systems is also a part of this high-tech vanguard.

The keys to OpenStack’s massive popularity are its almost infinite scalability, its cost (free) and the fact that it is entirely built and managed as an open-source project. Together, these attributes make it incredibly versatile and appropriate for large-scale cloud deployments, whether public or private.

Due to its vast support and open source nature, the cloud ecosystem receives constant upgrades and users have access to an immense database, of supporting documentation and assistance, including a comprehensive wiki and a blog. It offers consistency across providers that helps establish accepted standards for cloud software and design. Open source also means that deployments built on OpenStack aren’t vulnerable to vendor issues that could require expensive reconfigurations of cloud services or in a worst case scenario, loss of data.

Developers and users of the platform come together twice a year to share knowledge and discuss innovations. In May, Atlanta hosted the 2014 OpenStack Summit and in November there will be another Summit in Paris, France, if you’re fascinated and in the mood for a trip. For those who want to learn more but don’t feel up to a trans-Atlantic journey, there’s a video recapping the Atlanta OpenStack Summit.

OpenStack is one of the most exciting frontiers in computing today, and Onepath Systems is proud to be a part of this cutting edge experience. The potential it holds to provide new options in cloud storage and computing as well as what it offers in so many different areas to today’s users is truly exceptional. We encourage you to learn more about OpenStack and what it means for your organization, or even to get involved as a contributor to the project. You can help shape tomorrow’s cloud software!