NeCTAR at the OpenStack Cloud Summit
Steven Manos, ITS, University of Melbourne, 10th October, 2011
OpenStack is an open source cloud platform which is being used by the NeCTAR project to build an Australian research cloud. Twice a year, the OpenStack community meets to discuss new ideas, their experiences, and the future direction of OpenStack. Lennie Au, Tom Fifield and I attended the latest summit which took place from October 3rd to 7th in Boston.
The summit was nothing short of inspiring. On Friday morning, Tom, Everett Toews (from Cybera in Canada, with whom we’re collaborating on our research cloud build) and myself gave a 30 minute presentation on our research cloud work to a 300-strong audience. To give you a sense of the significance of our work, our talk was timetabled between the Ubuntu keynote presentation (given by Jane Silber, the CEO of Canonical!) and a presentation by NetAPP.
There were two things which really struck me at the summit; the sense of community, and how disruptive OpenStack has been worldwide.
The sense of community was obvious everywhere, with lots of bright minds – developers, CIO’s, CEO’s and managers – from open source and enterprise – coming together to enthusiastically talk about how they’re using, operating and improving OpenStack.
In 2010, the cloud market was pretty fragmented, with no real contenders for a broad integrated community based cloud platform. Now, in 2011, OpenStack offers a robust public domain cloud platform. The value isn’t only in the common platform, but a platform upon which the community can collaboratively learn how to better operate these massive cloud environments.
The message I kept hearing through all the presentations was that OpenStack is not just another open source project, but a serious cloud kernel that powers some of the worlds biggest online businesses, such as DreamHost and Mercado Libre, amongst others. It also has the backing of major industry players; RackSpace, HP, Dell and Citrix to name but a few.
With our presence at the summit, the work Melbourne University is undertaking on the NeCTAR research cloud is now on the radar of the OpenStack developers, the Ubuntu linux team, and entrepreneurs in various companies, who are using OpenStack as the kernel of their cloud products. With the level of interest generated, they’ll be keeping a keen eye on how things develop in Australia.
Building on this idea of community, with users helping users, collaborations and plans were laid out with other OpenStack users such as CERN, NII (Japan) and even DreamHost, solidifying ideas to help each other to build federated authentication and IPv6 support – amongst other important features.
Our efforts at Melbourne are now firmly plugged in to the world-wide OpenStack community, and we’ll be sure to get along to the next summit in 2012.
A massive thanks goes out to Everett from Cybera for his work so far, and Tom in particular for his infectious enthusiasm and work in spreading the word on NeCTAR, getting people excited about the great work we’re doing in ITS at Melbourne University.