…unobserved, in a remote forest, does it make a sound?“. You can of course argue this till you’re blue in the face, but I like the simple empirical approach: “No. Sound is a human experience of vibration, so no humans means no sound“.

Yesterday another redwood crashed to the ground without a sound. Nobody was paying attention to it. The news: the double whammy announcements by OpenStack.org of the Bexar release of OpenStack, and the simultaneous announcement by Cisco that it would embrace and contribute to the development of OpenStack.
It is difficult to understate the significance of OpenStack, and Cisco’s participation, to all prospective operators and users of cloud infrastructure. On behalf of the community, I want to recognize the help of Michael Enescu, CTO for Open Source Initiatives and Lew Tucker, CTO for Enterprise Cloud at Cisco, who have championed OpenStack at Cisco. Also, Canonical has announced that it is joining the OpenStack community, which is a substantial shift from its earlier embrace of Eucalyptus, and a very welcome addition of a high calibre engineering team to the OpenStack effort.

With its announcement Cisco has embraced a both a technology base and a process for delivery of an open, interoperable and compatible cloud framework. Building on the contributions of a community of over 50 vendors and about 150 developers, OpenStack is delivering open source cloud infrastructure that operates at provider scale, and guarantees openness, portability and compatibility. It supports all major hypervisors, including XenServer Hyper-V, KVM and (courtesy of Citrix) VMware ESXi. So, if your application vendor were foolish enough to insist that they would only support the app virtualized on ESX, you could still build a free cloud, and run the workload on ESXi.

OpenStack allows you to build a scalable service-provider class cloud of your own, featuring compute, block and object storage, and in future, a wide variety of value-added services from a rich ISV ecosystem that can use it. To be clear: Every ISV solution built to use the Margherita Pizza model of cloud infrastructure will also be able to deliver value on an OpenStack cloud. OpenStack is already making headlines in the service provider segment. With the help of our friends at CloudScaling, Internap has announced the first production deployment of a service based on the massively scalable OpenStack object store.

Cisco’s announcement signals clearly that OpenStack has emerged as the industry’s leading, collaboratively developed alternative to proprietary, closed cloud solutions. Figures released at the announcement event yesterday are indicative: About 150 contributors from over 50 member organizations contributed to the Bexar release. The rate of feature delivery is incredible, and the ISV ecosystem around OpenStack is growing fast. For example, Gazzang is now offering security for data in the cloud.

Anso Labs, a boutique code foundry that collaborated with NASA to deliver the original Nebula compute cloud that has evolved into OpenStack Nova has also been very active in the community. At a meeting at the Hilton Santa Clara last night, over 200 attendees got a first peek at the latest open source tools and APIs from Anso, and got to hear Chris Kemp, CTO of NASA, describe their use of the technology to build clouds for the NASA scientists. Gordon Mangione from Citrix articulated our strategy for the delivery of OpenStack clouds to the enterprise and service provider segment.