Rackspace has taken the next step in getting two-year old open source cloud, OpenStack, ready for prime time. This week the hosting giant will begin stress-testing its OpenStack implementation by running tens of thousands of instances.

The Open Cloud

Cloud computing is no longer considered cutting edge and now plays a role in the infrastructure of organizations of all sizes and types. Yet there are very few standards for the technology. Official standards efforts are underway, but are progressing slowly (as standards often do). In parallel to these efforts, a coalition has formed to make cloud computing a little less risky from an integration perspective.

If you haven’t heard of OpenStack, you will soon. OpenStack is an open source cloud project, with the goal of providing a standard foundation for cloud services. OpenStack enables a higher level of interoperability between vendors, and would allow customers to move more easily between cloud offerings.

Today most cloud services, like Amazon Web Services, are completely proprietary. OpenStack was launched by enterprise hosting giant Rackspace and NASA, but is now being developed by a community of over 1,600 people and almost 130 companies from every corner of the globe.

What’s Next for OpenStack

Support of OpenStack is continuing to grow. Companies like Citrix, Cisco, Dell and just recently, IBM and Ericsson have embraced the effort and are planning their own OpenStack compliant implementations. Although the first public OpenStack compliant cloud has already launched, OpenStack is still very new.

Rackspace’s next round of testing will demonstrate if its OpenStack implementation is for full production use. If the test go well, the Rackspace OpenStack clouds will be available for business use in the third or fourth quarter. OpenStack will eventually replace the Slicehost technology that Rackspace has leveraged since 2008.

As more vendors adopt OpenStack, it could radically alter the cloud market. Although Amazon currently dominates by most measures, this may not be the case as the technology becomes more commoditized and mobile.