The open source OpenStack cloud computing platform has grown significantly since it was first introduced in July 2010. The effort was originally started by NASA and Rackspace and has since grown to include more than 100 vendors including HP, Dell and Cisco.
Now OpenStack developers are aiming to help make it easier than ever for enterprises and developers to get familiar with OpenStack. A new effort called TryStack debuted this week, providing developers and users the opportunity to try OpenStack on a hosted infrastructure.
"This environment is really meant to lower the barrier to getting that first glimpse of an OpenStack cloud," Mark Collier, Rackspace vice president of business & corporate development, told InternetNews.com . "That might be a user that just wants to try the Dashboard to launch a virtual machine or two, or a developer that wants to test their application using the OpenStack APIs to ensure compatibility."
With TryStack users, get their own OpenStack compute instance that lasts for up to 24 hours. The first TryStack deployment zone is hosted on infrastructure that has 156 cores, 1040GB memory and 59.1 TB of disk storage. While Rackspace is one of the leaders of the OpenStack effort, they aren't actually hosting the TryStack initiative.
"Equinix supplied the data center space in San Jose and Dell donated the servers," Collier said. "At a later point, HP plans to add a zone in a different data center, so we'll end up with some geographic diversity as well as hardware diversity."
Additionally, although there are now multiple commercial organizations that support OpenStack, the TryStack cloud is run by volunteers in the community. The TryStack experience is also not necessarily going to be a tool that users will be able to directly leverage to build their own product environments.
"The virtual machines are wiped every 24 hours, so it's doubtful someone will do a lot of configuration with the intent to move to a production environment," Collier said. "They could snapshot the machine, download a copy, and upload to another OpenStack cloud."
TryStack also isn't intended to be a sales lead generation tool for Rackspace or others in the OpenStack commercial ecosystem. Collier stressed that the intent of TryStack is to provide a service to the community to educate and gather feedback. With that feedback the overall community can then engage on improving the software. That said, Collier noted that he's sure there will be people that try it out and ultimately decide to build their own OpenStack clouds, and decide to engage companies in the ecosystem to help.
Looking beyond TryStack, there are already other tools and efforts to further adoption and development of OpenStack. One of those tools is a tool for developers who want to contribute to the OpenStack development called devstack.
"Devstack makes it easy for developers to quickly create an OpenStack environment, on a laptop for instance," Collier said. "This is more of a bleeding-edge tool for people that want to get closer to the code, as opposed to TryStack which is already a running cloud."
Collier also expects that beyond TryStack and DevStack, other efforts will emerge.
"There is a vibrant Chef community, for example, sharing recipes for setting up OpenStack clouds for different use cases," Collier said.