They say everything is bigger in Texas, and at the OpenStack Summit in Austin last week, that was definitely the case for the world’s premier open-source cloud event. Big crowds, big companies and big use cases all painted the picture of a technology that is growing at scale, and becoming an essential tool for creating smarter networks.

When we decided to build our Comcast Elastic Cloud using OpenStack in 2012, we were one of a handful of larger companies using the technology. Some questioned whether the open-source platform could perform at scale, or meet the needs of true enterprise users.

Last week, those early questions about scale seemed increasingly quaint, as not just a handful, but a host of large companies showed off their OpenStack deployments. And thanks to the collaborative and open nature of the OpenStack community, all of us – from those at the largest companies to those at the smallest – are learning from one another, sharing our challenges and teaming up to make the platform better.

As fits the setting, scale was a big topic of discussion last week. We’ve seen that OpenStack can perform well in a variety of environments, but refining its design to support large- and hyper-scale functions "out of the box" is the subject of much work currently underway in the community.

We’re extremely encouraged by all of the work that is taking place and are eager to help drive the continued evolution of OpenStack. Our OpenStack-powered Elastic Cloud has become a cornerstone of how we develop technology, deliver services to customers and architect our network to be not just bigger and faster, but smarter.

We already use OpenStack to power some of our most essential services, including our email platform and many of our cloud-enabled X1 set-top boxes. Our analytics teams run Hadoop and other tools on Elastic Cloud to optimize network infrastructure and monitor performance metrics. Our product development teams increasingly are leveraging container orchestration technologies, such as Mesos, to deploy and operate new consumer offerings.

We are also increasingly leveraging our Elastic Cloud to stretch the limits of our network’s capabilities. By embedding cloud resources in the network and pushing those resources closer to where they are needed, we shorten the distance between our customers and what they want, reducing latency and improving performance.

That embedded infrastructure forms the foundation for a wide range of innovations, including virtualized network functions for our business customers, and an array of other services that rely on flexible, powerful compute and storage, available as needed and at scale.

The stars of the open source cloud shined big and bright last week, and we’re looking forward to what comes next.