The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is going to stop active participation in the open-source infrastructure cloud project OpenStack – something the agency’s employees were deeply involved in creating.
Karen Petraska, service executive for computing services at NASA’s CIO office, said, now that OpenStack had started to see commercial adoption, the agency was going to minimize its involvement in development of the open-source platform.
NASA does not want to compete with commercial cloud providers, wanting instead to be a “smart consumer” of commercial cloud services, Petraska said during a presentation at the Uptime Institute’s symposium in Santa Clara, California, Tuesday.
Spending resources on development of commercial technology solutions was not the government’s role, Petraska explained after her presentation.
NASA – as are all other US federal government agencies – is going through a complete review and restructuring of the way it procures and uses IT resources. Rationalization and consolidation of data centers, IT gear and applications are all major components of the initiative, but so is transition of applications to the cloud, whenever possible.
Development of its own cloud solutions is not part of this vision.
Work on Nebula, the cloud infrastructure that was developed along with OpenStack and based on the OpenStack architecture to provide cloud-based services to NASA staff will also be halted, Petraska told DatacenterDynamics.
OpenStack was the result of combining a cloud-architecture project by NASA called Nova and of a similar project by the hosting company Rackspace. According to a report by Wired, both were developed in parallel and after people behind each learned details of the other group’s project, they decided to merge their efforts.
Since it first became available in 2010, OpenStack has enjoyed widespread support by many industry heavyweights, including Cisco, Dell, IBM, HP, Yahoo!, Red Hat, NetApp and others. Its latest release, called Essex, was launched in April 2012.
AT&T has a private cloud built on OpenStack that lives in three of its US data centers. Dell has launched a commercial OpenStack-based cloud offering, and Rackspace launched its Open-Stack based cloud services in limited availability in April. Rackspace VP of cloud Fabio Torlini said he saw the product “closing the gap on Amazon,” referring to the world’s largest provider of public-cloud services.