Cloud computing's big debt to NASA & Open Source

Patrick Thibodeau | ComputerWorld | March 8, 2013

IBM is betting big on OpenStack, deeply rooted in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's ingenuity

IBM's announcement this week that it would base its cloud services on OpenStack may help establish the open-source platform as the standard in enterprises. This means that just about every Fortune 1000 company will be using vendors that are building products and services based on the OpenStack-based cloud platform. Considering that OpenStack is less than three years old, this may be remarkable.

The rapid rise of OpenStack may not have happened without NASA. That may be worth noting, especially in a time of government sequesters, budget cutting and retreats on R&D spending. The government has played a crucial role in the development of many technologies and platforms, including GPS, lasers and the Internet, to name a few.

OpenStack's beginnings occurred when NASA started a project called Nebula, in what became a cloud management platform. It released compute engine code as open source under an Apache 2.0 license, which drew attention from Rackspace. The vendor had developed a storage cloud called Swift...