Two trends that have taken off in the IT world are the open source movement and cloud computing. Both have allowed innovations in web hosting that would not have otherwise been possible. OpenStack is a merging of these two trends into one. It is an open source cloud stack that aims to promote open cloud standards and provide a solid foundation for enterprise cloud development.
Originally launched as a joint collaboration between Rackspace and NASA, OpenStack now has the backing and community development contributions of over 150 companies, including Intel, Red Hat, HP, Dell, IBM, and Cisco. It is free and open source software, available under the Apache 2.0 license.
OpenStack consists of three components of data center management: Compute, Networking, and Storage. All three are managed through a dashboard web interface. OpenStack is primarily run on Linux, but it is portable to virtually any operating system. Its APIs are compatible with Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 for public cloud integration.
OpenStack is intended to be a framework for open cloud computing, and most of its users will mold it to fit whatever specific cloud needs they have. Some may need a private cloud, while others may be providing public cloud services to the world. Regardless of the reason, OpenStack offers a competitive cloud solution without vendor lock-in or expensive licensing. Some OpenStack competitors include Eucalyptus and CloudStack. Some of the OpenStack distributions are Debian, Cloudscaling, Ubuntu, Stackops, and SUSE.