New OpenStack clouds mean something for everyone

Don’t fret if the OpenStack clouds now available from Hewlett-Packard(s hpq), Rackspace(s rax), Internap(s inap) and a handful of private-cloud-centric startups don’t suit your need. There will be more options to choose from very shortly.

This week at the OpenStack Summit in San Diego, new flavors of the open-source cloud will be unveiled by Cloudscaling, Dreamhost and Metacloud, among others. Here’s a roundup of some of the noteworthy news:

Cloudscaling’s Open Cloud System 2.0: An early proponent of OpenStack, Cloudscaling made waves with news that it’s new private cloud will facilitate deployment of modern applications and also allow those applications to “scale up” to both Amazon and Google Compute Engine public clouds as needed. Open Cloud System will support Amazon S3 and EC2 and relevant GCE APIs to support that, Cloudscaling CEO Michael Grant told me. The product is slated to come online by year’s end.

The GCE support raised eyebrows, but to Grant it was a no brainer. “We actually see customers wanting choice [in public cloud] and also see in Google Compute Engine a real commitment to public cloud, [it is] as a serious offering by Google,” he said. (Check out Cloudscaling CTO Randy Bias’ blog about why Google Compute Engine is a “game changer.”)

Cloudscaling co-founder and CTO Randy Bias

Open Cloud 2.0 targets modern, “dynamic” applications — software as a service, big data, media-intensive and mobile apps as opposed to legacy applications that now run in data centers, Grant said. Bias left the door open to supporting other leading public cloud infrastructure, including Rackspace, down the line.

Metacloud: This Pasadena, Calif.-based startup emerged from stealth just in time to tout its own private cloud solution at the summit. Backed by Storm Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures — the venture capital firm headed by former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang — Metacloud said its cloud is already in use by at least one (unnamed) Fortune 100 company.

The year-old company has impressive DNA in scale-out computing. CEO and co-founder Steve Curry formerly managed Yahoo’s global storage operations. Co-founder and CTO Sean Lynch was SVP of technology operations at Ticketmaster Entertainment, and Rafi Khardalian, Metacloud’s VP of operations, was director of systems architecture at Ticketmaster Entertainment.

Dreamhost’s DreamCompute: Web-hosting veteran Dreamhost is launching its take on the OpenStack public cloud with DreamCompute. This public cloud is one of first services to use Ceph as its storage subsystem, hardly surprising since Los Angeles-based Dreamhost spun off Inktank as a company to back Ceph as an alternative to the Swift storage used by other OpenStack implementations.

Prospective users can sign up for a private beta of the service this week. “This is a production-grade public cloud service launching on OpenStack but with Ceph in the box,” said Dreamhost CEO Simon Anderson. “It delivers live migration and operating efficiency from a storage perspective, which is a good next step for OpenStack.”

Anderson said DreamCompute will give Amazon a run for its money on pricing. For the company’s existing Dreamhost dedicated server, virtual private server and dedicated hosting services, for example, inbound and outbound data transfer is always free. For DreamObjects block storage, inbound data transfer is free, outbound transfers cost $0.07 per GB. While DreamCompute pricing won’t be announced for a few weeks, Anderson said simplicity and cost savings is paramount for developers and entrepreneurs wary of Amazon’s confusing price matrix.

Rackspace updates tools: OpenStack pioneer Rackspace will announce software development kits (SDKs) for PHP and Java to help developers write for its public OpenStack cloud in their language of choice. “We want to lift all boats, this will make it easier for developers to consume the cloud,” Jim Curry, GM of Rackspace’s Private Cloud business said last week.

In addition, Curry said 25 percent of the Fortune 100 companies have downloaded that private cloud implementation since it became available on Aug. 15.

Cisco Edition for OpenStack: This week the community will be able to download Cisco Edition for OpenStack which combines reference architectures, documentation and automation scripts to make it easier for service providers and private cloud customers to deploy OpenStack in production, said Cisco CTO (and OpenStack vice chairman) Lew Tucker.

Cisco, as it has discussed, is also baking in OpenStack support into its networking gear. The goal is to unify physical and virtual networking through programmable interfaces and make all of that available through OpenStack’s Quantum networking service, the company said.

Now bring on the customers

So there’s no dearth of available or soon-to-be-available OpenStack distributions coming on line. And there is no shortage of customers testing these clouds. The big question is when significant numbers of customers actually start using these clouds in production and as options or adjuncts to Amazon’s public cloud or their own VMware(s vmw)-based private infrastructure. That’s why last week’s news that Comcast(s cmst) is aboard OpenStack was newsworthy. With its broadband reach to consumers and small businesses, Comcast could drive real OpenStack user adoption. When and if these businesses are ready to make the move, there will be plenty of OpenStack iterations to chose from.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user JoeInSouthernCA