Nebula Lures Key OpenStack Engineers

The OpenStack project centers on an open-source cloud-operating system.

Two years after the OpenStack project came into being, the OpenStack Foundation has officially launched. One of its first moves: hiring Alan Clark, director of industry initiatives and open source at SUSE, as chairman of the board. The foundation has already lined up more than 5,600 individual members and secured more than $10 million in funding.

The goal of the project is simple: create open-source software for building public and private clouds. It includes OpenStack Storage, described as a “fully distributed, API-accessible storage platform that can be integrated directly applications or used for backup, archiving and data retention,” as well as OpenStack Compute, designed to scale the software on standard hardware. The foundation will take the project step further by pushing the development and distribution of that cloud operating system.

Rackspace and NASA launched the OpenStack project in July 2010, supported by around 25 countries and a selection of independent developers. Those numbers have subsequently grown to more than 180 participating companies and 550 contributing developers, in addition to six software releases in a little over two years. (Members are expected to contribute through either technical contributions or community building.)

In 2011, Rackspace announced that it would be transitioning management of OpenStack to an independent foundation structure, allowing it to further develop without corporate oversight. “Since its inception, we knew a foundation was the ultimate goal for OpenStack,” Lew Moorman, president of Rackspace, wrote in a statement. “Today, we are proud to finalize the process by donating the assets, handing over community management and giving the OpenStack trademark to the OpenStack Foundation.”

The launch is a defining moment for the open cloud movement, added Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, in a statement. “When you look at what this community has done to innovate and make cloud technologies accessible, as well as make open source synonymous with cloud computing, you understand why huge technology industry leaders and users across the world are placing their bets on OpenStack.”

Nebula’s Hiring Spree

But as OpenStack technology spins off from RackSpace, a number of key engineers have jumped ship to cloud-systems company Nebula. It remains to be seen whether that will affect the OpenStack Foundation’s ability to succeed.

Nebula announced this week that it had hired what it called the key engineers of the original OpenStack team from NASA, including William Eshagh, who made possible NASA’s open-source release of Nova, the core component of OpenStack. At the same time, Nebula also grabbed engineers from Rackspace such as Brian Waldon, lead of the OpenStack Glance project. Another NASA engineer, Jesse Andrews—co-founder of ANSO Labs and the former director of Rackspace Cloud Builders—will serve as Nebula’s director of technology.

Nebula, the second largest contributor of code to OpenStack, claims that its recent hiring spree reunites under its roof nearly all the founding engineers from NASA that created OpenStack, including co-founder and CTO Devin Carlen and former NASA contractors Gabriel Hurley and Jeff Ward.

Nebula is also one of the Platinum Members of the Open Stack Foundation, a top-tier that includes AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE. Gold members include CCAT, Cisco, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing, Yahoo! Intel, NEC and VMware joining in September.

The next Open Stack Summit will be held Oct. 15-18 in San Diego.

 

Image: OpenStack.org

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