Igoe Reflects On OpenStack's

Igoe Reflects On OpenStack'sThis month, OpenStack celebrated its third birthday. To commemorate this event, John Igoe, VP of Rackspace, spoke with Web Hosting Industry Review about the cloud hosting business and just how much it has grown since 2010.

He hasn't always been a top dog at Rackspace. To start, he worked alongside Jim Curry, senior VP and general manager of Rackspace just as OpenStack was in development. He watched it grow and flourish, from a small community of developers to a community where 10,000 members contributed worldwide.


The OpenStack summits, held twice each year, demonstrate the growth of the company. The first summit hosted only 10-20 attendants according to Igoe, but the next summit, scheduled for this fall in Hong Kong, is expected to bring 4,000 people. This is also the first time the summit will be held outside the US, the result of the growing international representation at past summits.

“I know at the last summit in Portland I had members of the international community calling me the week before, explaining to me that they couldn't get tickets,” said Igoe. “People were getting on planes without tickets to the summit because even if they couldn't buy a ticket, they felt that just by being in the same hotel, walking through the hallways and talking to OpenStack members, they would gain value.”

OpenStack's Growth

According to Igoe, OpenStack has experienced three “tipping points.” The first: finding a new way to govern the organization, moving away from their tech focus. That led to the second: the break from Rackspace, the biggest transition their community faced, Igoe said.

The third is important: users embracing OpenStack. “In the early days it was mainly developers who came to the conference. Now there is a very healthy mix of developers, end-users, and people who operate OpenStack environments coming to the community, contributing to the community in a variety of ways,” said Igoe.

Service Providers And OpenStack

While there are other service providers offering OpenStack cloud hosting, but Rackspace is different, in Igoe's opinion. Why? To start, it has a firmly rooted history with OpenStack. What's more, it treats OpenStack differently than other service providers.

Rackspace not only has the largest OpenStack public cloud, it also pumps out the most bug fixes to the community. “We think that the adoption in the service provider space is one of the big forces driving the success of OpenStack,” Igoe said. “More and more we see hosting providers, we see traditional telecom providers, and also new-age telecom providers and service providers coming into the community and adopting this as a foundational component to their technology strategy.”

Competition Is Key

While competition is important, it's also tough with OpenStack. In Igoe's words, “In an environment that is growing so fast, with such a commitment to openness, collaboration and non-proprietary strategies and technologies, how do you also maintain and encourage competition?”

While he believes “competition is healthy,” he sees those companies typically competing against each other who “check their badges at the door and they begin to collaborate on what's best for the OpenStack community…You need to have a competitive, commercial environment around OpenStack and you need to stay true to an open source environment.”

With more services centering around OpenStack being offered, Igoe sees a potential problem: people who will manipulate the core OpenStack software and “begin to use it in a self-interest way to create a proprietary standard.”

Igoe Reflects On OpenStack's: The Future Of OpenStack

First and foremost, Igoe knows that developers must focus on the end-user. He said it “should be the primary interest of the community itself. Are we providing a piece of technology that solves a specific need in their environment, is that technology open and flexible, is that technology adaptable, and is that technology innovative on a regular cycle?”

He also points out that the hybrid cloud users should be taken into consideration in the future, citing the growing demand for that cloud hosting environment, and stating “that is the IT deployment model of choice. That is the way IT resources will be consumed moving forward.”

Happy birthday, OpenStack, we wish you a bright and prosperous future!

Do you rely on OpenStack architecture for your cloud solution?

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