Internap Building First OpenStack-Based Public Cloud

Managed service provider Internap (s inap) has announced that it will offer a public infrastructure-as-a-service cloud built atop the OpenStack platform. The service will be available in the third quarter of this year, and also features the option of running applications on VMware-based virtual infrastructure for enterprise customers that want the hybrid capabilities, security and familiarity that come along with VMware.

Even if VMware (s vmw) drives much of Internap’s early cloud business, its inclusion of OpenStack is nonetheless a sign that the much-ballyhooed open source software will achieve a broad ecosystem of providers apart from project founder Rackspace (s rax).

Internap chose to offer both VMware and OpenStack options, said SVP of Product Management Paul Carmody, because many IT executives still want a known product that gives them a familiar option that integrates with their internal data center technologies, which would be VMware. However, he explained, there are plenty of other developers and even some executives that are interested in saving money and getting maximum flexibility, which is what OpenStack provides.

Additionally, Carmody said that OpenStack “gives [Internap] a lot of flexibility and options going forward.” The MSP is a “big fan” of OpenStack because it isn’t reliant on the project for future development or for adding features that customers want. Having open source software means that Internap can use hooks to integrate its existing technologies and otherwise make critical changes that customers demand, even if the OpenStack project were to slow down or cease development altogether. For example, he explained, Internap’s IaaS cloud will run atop the company’s Peformance IP network and will be hooked into its global CDN service, called MIRO (Managed Internet Route Optimizer).

Internap also began offering the first non-Rackspace OpenStack-based public cloud-storage earlier this year, and it has discovered a few customer pain points during its beta period, Carmody said. One of those is the object size limit of 5GB, which isn’t always large enough for certain customers’ files. He said Internap will resolve this and other issues before the cloud-storage offering hits general availability, either via using updated OpenStack source code or by overcoming that limitation via its own engineering effort.

Internap is just one service provider, but it’s a solid first step on the path toward a robust OpenStack ecosystem — especially considering that OpenStack won’t even incorporate certain must-have capabilities for service providers until its Diablo release in September. Internap is betting OpenStack will be ready at that time, and others certainly will come on board or make their OpenStack-based efforts public once Diablo is released and lives up to expectations. A big reason for creating OpenStack was to build an ecosystem of interoperable clouds that can compete with Amazon Web Services ( s amzn).

Along with Internap, project creator Rackspace is banking its cloud future on OpenStack. Just yesterday Rackspace announced it is closing down the Slicehost service, which was the previous technological underpinning of the Rackspace Cloud, to focus development efforts on OpenStack.

Image courtesy of Flickr user extranoise.