Internap Uses OpenStack for Cloud Cred

Internap Network Services Corp. (Nasdaq: INAP)'s decision to be the first service provider to use OpenStack -- an open-source cloud infrastructure platform developed by NASA and Rackspace -- is intended to add credibility to the company's beta version of its Internap XIPCloud Storage offering in a competitive market for cloud services. (See Internap Uses OpenStack for Cloud Storage Offer.)

For Rackspace, the announcement marks a milestone for the six-month-old OpenStack platform, which has attracted 40 development partners but had yet be adopted by a service provider. Internap will be using the Object Storage software that enables a highly scalable and redundant public cloud solution with Internap’s industry-leading 100 percent SLA-backed reliability and performance guarantee.

Internap signaled its intention to add cloud-based offerings to its product portfolio last summer with a shift in its data center strategy. The company was born in the mid-90s as an Internet route optimization specialist and later had an unsuccessful push into the CDN/video space, but is now beefing up its data centers for a run at cloud offerings. (See Data Center Shift Gets Internap Cloud-Ready.)

"By basing our cloud storage service on OpenStack, we know it comes with a level of implicit trust as we go to market," says Scott Hrastar, senior vice president of technology at Internap. "We are excited to leverage a more credible and significant starting position in the use of this operating system. It isn't a homegrown product developed in a rush to market. And now we can focus our development cycles on areas where we can continue to differentiate, and we will develop some differentiated levels of performance."

Why this matters
As cloud-based services become more popular, an open-source approach could make it easier for enterprises to avoid being locked into one vendor or service provider's cloud offering. That approach would also more easily facilitate a hybrid route to using the cloud, as an enterprise could adopt OpenStack in its own data center and use a service provider product based on the open-source platform, as well as more easily move applications or data between the two.

Rackspace would like to see OpenStack become a de facto industry standard for cloud, but it is still very much early days for that kind of thinking. Like other open-source efforts, such as the Linux operating system developed by Linux Foundation , OpenStack is licensed at no cost, says Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Oversight Committee and co-founder of the Rackspace Cloud.

Rackspace continues to run its software on OpenStack and has the advantage of leveraging a significant headstart using the platform, Bryce says. The high degree of developer interest -- Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) are among those engaged with OpenStack -- is also pushing the product forward. Having service providers on board is a key next step and Bryce says he expects more announcements of this type to follow shortly.

For more
Other service providers have also kicked off 2011 with cloud announcements, and here's a look at some of those strategies:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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