OpenStack® has grown from its humble beginnings to become a formidable force in the cloud world. Started by Rackspace and NASA in 2010, OpenStack now has thousands of developers who contribute to its code each year (in fact, dozeitpc_open_stackns of vendors line up to get their sponsorships in with it).

Those vendors contributing thousands of lines of code to the open source project and helping deliver an updated version of the cloud computing platform and better manageability include Hewlett Packard, Ubuntu, VMware, Yahoo, NetApp, Juniper Networks, Cisco, and Dell.

Even Comcast, Avaya, F5, EMC, Fujitsu, Oracle, and Alcatel Lucent have given money and code to the project. There’s also various software distributions of OpenStack available, and all the code is freely downloadable under the Apache 2.0 license.

But the OpenStack project still needs one thing more: end users

Recent IDC research indicates that the number of users will increase as organizations stop managing their own infrastructures over the next 2 years and move towards a software-defined data center (SDDC).

An SDDC eliminates the lines between hardware and software by converging all elements of the infrastructure – networking, storage, CPU, and security – into a virtualized service. 

More and more companies seeing the value in the OpenStack project are turning towards the dedicated and shared cloud offerings of service provider data centers.

Companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Cisco, and Rackspace are leading the way by using OpenStack in a significant way in their cloud plans.

HP, for example, recently rebranded its cloud portfolio to Helion and announced a $1 billion commitment to developing its cloud based on OpenStack. HP will have its own distribution of OpenStack, and it's committed to developing its public and private cloud platforms using open source technology.

Forrester cloud analyst David Bartoletti says what the open source project really needs are enterprise end users. "Where OpenStack is right now, it's still more about getting vendors to round out their cloud strategies than customers using it for the cloud." But given the amount of big-name vendors involved in OpenStack, "It's not going away." OpenStack will be around for the long haul.

How do you get started with OpenStack?

For customers who want to use an open source platform, OpenStack is arguably a leading choice. For companies that want an open source cloud or are heavy Linux users, OpenStack could be a good fit because of its open source code philosophy.

Getting started with OpenStack is easy with these two options: Public Clouds on the Marketplace or local dev environment from devstack.org.

Public Clouds on the Marketplacelets you quickly try one of the many OpenStack public clouds in production across the world with the swipe of a credit card.

DevStack allows users with more technical expertise the great option to install and run an OpenStack cloud on their laptop (or even inside the VM on a cloud).

OpenStack Tools

Once you have your OpenStack cloud up and running, you’re ready to explore the many tools available to help you manage it. These are tools that talk to the OpenStack API and can be found by looking for the "OpenStack Compatible" logo.  

Is your business considering embracing open source technology? 

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