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The growth of OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, over the last year indicates that it is likely to take off this year, according to a member of the board, Tristan Goode.

Goode is the chief executive of Aptira, a managed hosting and infrastructure specialist company that is based in Sydney.

He gave a presentation on the global impact of OpenStack at the SUSE-organised conference "Open Source in the Modern Enterprise" in Melbourne yesterday.

Estimates showed that over the next five years, on-premise software growth would be just two percent while software as a service would grow to more than 50 percent, Goode (pictured above) said.

With this in mind, it was necessary for companies to start thinking of utilising either private or public cloud infrastructure.

OpenStack was launched in July 2010 by Rackspace Hosting and NASA. Since then it has grown beyond anyone's imagination and today there are 148 companies which have become members, sponsors or supporters, Goode said.

"We have 6967 individual members and, on average, 175 people make contributions every month," he added.

OpenStack has a number of interrelated projects which help to look after big amounts of processing, storage, and networking resources in a data centre.

All these resources can be controlled through a dashboard. Administrators who are in control can then allow users to utilise resources through a web interface.

Goode said OpenStack was designed to fail and could deal with the disappearance of any component. "The cloud does not make fundamental issues like reliability and access go away," he said, adding that OpenStack took these issues into account.

Asked how one could overcome the reluctance that many companies have to going in for a cloud solution, he said the best way was to deploy and manage a private cloud on-site for a company. Then when it came to the time for expansion, the cost and time factors alone would be enough to convince the company in question that a public cloud was the better option.

Goode said there was still a certain reluctance in certain markets and countries to entertain the idea that open source could be used to build a cloud infrastructure; some people still believed that proprietary software was better.

Given this, his company, Aptira, also offers VMWare services. "Certain workloads, the more static ones, are suited to it," he said, adding that in Australia three-quarters of the virtualisation market belonged to VMWare.

But, he added, the loads that were on VMWare could easily be moved to OpenStack without a problem. Big projects like SKA (the Square Kilometre Array) and organisations like the CSIRO were likely to take up cloud projects, he said.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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