Joshua McKenty, co-founder and chief executive officer of Piston Cloud, what he calls The Enterprise OpenStack Company, was in on the ground floor of OpenStack's creation, working as he was on the Anso Labs team at NASA to build a compute cloud on top of open source platform Eucalyptus. The team eventually gave up on that and wrote Nova, which NASA uses today to power its Nebula Cloud environment, and Nova was ultimately contributed to the OpenStack project, which it formed with Rackspace. McKenty left NASA after Anso was acquired by Rackspace in 2010, and formed Piston Cloud in 2011 with co-founders Gretchen Curtis (also of NASA) and Christopher MacGown of Rackspace. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently caught up with McKenty for a deep dive on why OpenStack matters and where Piston Cloud fits in.
When OpenStack launched and vendors started joining in, most of the development focus was on what service providers needed to operate at scale, and not what enterprise needed as far as security, regulatory compliance, ease of use and performance. So we kicked off Piston Cloud with a focus on making an OpenStack distribution specifically geared toward enterprise, and solving some of the really hard security problems. Our first product is Piston Enterprise OS, and it's essentially a very opinionated distribution of OpenStack that addresses the issues around making it easy to build a private cloud environment that meets regulatory requirements.