Ten years is a long time in the world of technology.
In 2010 Apple launched the first iPad, IBM’s Watson computer beat a contestant on the television show Jeopardy and Instagram was born.
The project began as a collaboration between NASA and Rackspace to develop an open source cloud computing platform. The team developing the Nectar Research Cloud in 2010 selected the newly established software to run its service, helping pioneer a large-scale deployment of OpenStack in the research sector.
OpenStack lets users control compute, storage and network infrastructure. It allows them to launch virtual machines, provide storage and create virtual network resources to connect up in the cloud.
This enables the Nectar Research Cloud to support a wide variety of the research community's requirements for computational resources and hosting services – including databases, web portals and virtual laboratories – in an environment that allows easy collaboration across national and international institutions.
The software is developed by an international community of contributors. It includes input from its users, which is reflected in the software’s bi-annual, alphabetically named releases and other updates.
“Being able to collaborate with people around the world on common bugs and features has demonstrated how invaluable the OpenStack community has been to us. It also has allowed us to easily customise OpenStack to suit our uses,” said Sam Morrison, Technical Lead, ARDC Core Services team.
As early adopters, the Nectar Research Cloud team was a major contributor to the development, testing and documentation of early releases of OpenStack, particularly components that enabled federated deployment across multiple sites and support for graphics processing units. The team continues to contribute to its development.
“Nectar and ARDC have made important contributions to the development of OpenStack and a national and international community of practice in the use of open source cloud technologies in the research sector,” Paul Coddington, ARDC Associate Director, Research Cloud and Storage, said.
Ten years after its founding, OpenStack is one of the largest open source software projects worldwide and the most widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software. It is used by major research clouds including CERN and EGI in Europe and Jetstream in the US.