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Rackspace opens cloud APIs to the masses

Speaking at the open-source hippie lovefest OSCON today, Rackspace made good today on last week’s report that it would open-source its APIs.

Rackspace released the API specification under the Creative Commons license. Source for the software used by the APIs is under the MIT X11 free software license. Find it at and start your own cloud.

Speaking from OSCON, Rackspace’s Erik Carlin said the company would maintain the code in traditional style.

“The intention was to open it up — we’d love to get to the point where we have external committers,” said Carlin. Currently, Rackspace is the only commiter (an entity that can make final changes to any open source project) for the code that’s been released. Carlin said Rackspace wanted to steer a “canonical set of bindings” on top of the project but looked forward to seeing what developers would do with the project.

“I hate to create our own interface and add to the [plethora of cloud APIs], but there was nothing we could embrace,” Carlin said. As it stands, the proliferation of both open and closed cloud interfaces has been an impediment to cloud computing adoption, he said.

Going forward, Carlin said he hoped to see standards emerge that will prune out the thicket of cloud technolgies and specifications, and said Rackspace will jump all over an open standard when it emerges.

Asked why Rackspace built its interface around webby ReSt instead of XML-y SOAP, like Amazon, Carlin said there was a trend toward web interfaces on the front end. Furthermore, there are plenty of other aspects to a cloud than just the user screen, he said. For example, issues like competing virtual machine formats and management specs still need to be hammered out.

“APIs are only half the battle,” he said.

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