Over the last few months I did a series of interview with OpenStack board members, representing various types of organizations. Hence, allow me to share my key takeaways from those interviews: Why does OpenStack matter? OpenStack matters, because:

Enterprises want Amazon and VMware alternatives
“There was a lot of pressure in the market to have an alternative ecosystem to Amazon as a public cloud and to VMware as a licensed internal cloud.” Rob Hirschfeld, Principal Cloud Architect at Dell. As for the public cloud, hosting companies such as Rackspace and Dreamhost want to create an alternative ecosystem to Amazon AWS in order to differentiate through service. Private cloud users on the other hand, are seeking for alternatives, where costs do not scale linearly as they grow their infrastructure.

Cloud is open by nature …
“Cloud in general is a baby of the open source culture.” Boris Renski, Co-Founder and EVP at Mirantis. Large consumer internet companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google built their cloud infrastructure out of components they invented and then later on outsourced as well as on already existing open source solutions:  “These companies understood that if they took the traditional enterprise route, the price for licenses ultimately would be greater than the revenues they could ever achieve. So they built the superefficient infrastructure stack completely leveraging open components and paying licenses to nobody.”

… and so is OpenStack
“From day one it was not positioned central to any particular vendor but as a conglomerate of different independent organizations. Because cloud is about open, and OpenStack is THE thing in the open cloud, it is effectively going to be one of the most disruptive movements in infrastructure computing during the next 5 to 10 years. OpenStack is going to change the entire industry upside down.” Boris Renski.

OpenStack matures at rapid pace
“Two years ago OpenStack was more of a promise than a reality. We had a production grade object storage environment, but Nova, the compute project was at best a couple thousands lines of code. Here we are now 600,000 lines codes later with hundreds of contributors from nearly a hundred countries. It’s amazing to see the progress we made in maturing the product. At Rackspace, we’re using that code to power the world’s second largest public cloud … and there are a lot of diverse use cases such as MercadoLibre, eBay and PayPal to name a few.” Jim Curry, GM Private Cloud at Rackspace.

Its fundamental architecture is very sound
“If you want to build Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in a scale out manner, then you need an asynchronous, loosely coupled, message based type of solution, so that you can create a distributed software system.” Randy Bias, Co-Founder and CTO at Cloudscaling. OpenStack meets those expectations, unlike many other open source IaaS projects.

It’s driven by a diverse, huge community
“We have probably the most dynamic, engaged and diverse community ever. Linux had a perfect recipe of academic partners, enterprise partners and non-profits that had really moved the project forward. OpenStack has that same mix of academic users such as CERN and NeCTAR in Australia, and commercial users like eBay, Sony and PayPal, and a certain amount of non-profits like Wikimedia as well as big entities like IBM, HP and Intel.” Joshua McKenty, Co-Founder and CTO at Piston Cloud Computing.

OpenStack is ready to scale
“One of the developments we have been watching very closely has been the cells development.  Clearly a number of sites are pushing the thousand plus hypervisor scale at the moment, but the key break through will be with the OpenStack Grizzly release when the cells functionality is there, and this will allow us to construct hierarchies of cells of compute resources. This would remove one of the major limitations in terms of the total scalability.” Tim Bell, Infrastructure Manager at CERN.

If you want to learn about OpenStack, its components and capabilities please go to the OpenStack Foundation website. And if you have the opportunity to join the crowd in person, visit the upcoming OpenStack Summit in Portland (OR).