In 2004, the term Web 2.0 was coined but the folks who did this at the San Francisco First Annual Web 2.0 Convention did not define it. Most folks who are active with Internet design and use say that Web 2.0 is a historical marker. It marks when the Internet went from being an information source for users to a collaborative tool that had programs and design to encourage users to contribute, modify, share and comment on content.
The technological advances that make this idea work are all the applications that work in browsers thanks to code such as Java, iOS, Android and Ajax. Folks are now able to access and collaborate on web sites regardless of their operating systems from anyplace in the world with an Internet or cell phone connection. Another term for this is “cloud” computing.
Office Live by Microsoft, Google Docs, Zoho, Facebook and Twitter are all examples of how users of PC’s and laptops running Windows, Linux or an Apple OS as well as those with smart phones or other hand held devices can access the same websites and interact on them no matter where they are or what their operating system is.
Many folks call web-based programs and sites like these Social Media – as they allow for vast numbers to collaborate on sites and communicate or perform tasks together. Businesses quickly saw the potential of web-based applications as a way to deploy software cheaply. The major drawback was that the software was mostly “one size fits all” and not very customizable.
Rackspace’s partnership with NASA began a project to provide an open source solution that would allow any business to have a scalable and customizable cloud based suite of business tools. The project was named OpenStack. Its purpose was to provide a single cloud standard, available to all as open source code.
The company is a well-known cloud based server provider offering cloud solutions for software, hardware and storage. Their mission with the project was to create a standard for private clouds, easily scalable and affordable to implement cheaply as the code would be in the public domain. The feeling is that any company, regardless of size, can harness the power of cloud computing into a “private” cloud. Totally altruistic? Perhaps not. Rackspace has a business track that will manage it in a businesses data center. However, it is only a business opportunity and other cloud companies also can manage OpenStack installations.
Nevertheless, in January 2011 the code was released to the public, NASA and 40 companies embraced the new standards for cloud computing almost immediately and Rackspace ultimately gave up all control over OpenStack to a non-profit foundation.
An open-source, ever evolving cloud framework is an example of how many of the walls that prevented global collaboration have been torn down, or rather flown over, by the cloud. Mobile application developers have also benefited from these new collaborative methods. Due to the increasing variation in smartphone hardware, developers who specialize in app creation for enterprise clients need to take a different approach to app development. Automated testing and parallel development have been used in the past, and HPs Application Lifestyle Intelligence system finds these methods compounded with social media methods. This innovation offers developers a platform to track what projects are where in the dev cycle, who is working on them and who else has offered input. It is like what Google Wave was supposed to be if it were ever finished.
The foundation solicits refinements to the releases of Openstack. Approved modifications are posted on the Openstack Foundation wiki and become available as freeware to any and all that want to use that.
While developing it many folks involved with the project said they thought and hoped it would become like Linux. It seems that this project is well on its way with about 150 agencies and companies adapting to the technology. They include:
- Dell Computing
- And over 100 more
If the enthusiasm of the worldwide development community is any indication, OpenStack is quickly becoming the standard that its developers hoped for.