OpenStack scores IBM, Red Hat, Yahoo support

As OpenStack backers prepare for a design summit next week that will outline the future of the open source cloud project, three big-name companies - IBM, Red Hat and Yahoo - all officially joined OpenStack today.

Rumors of involvement from IBM and Red Hat have been circling for weeks. Sponsorship means three specific things, says Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack project oversight committee: Each company will invest $1.5 million over the next three years; employees from the companies will be assigned to submit code advancing the OpenStack project and, perhaps most importantly, the companies agree to integrate OpenStack products into offerings moving forward. "This group of companies can really drive significant adoption and can really change the industry to make OpenStack a cloud standard," Bryce says.

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IBM, Red Hat and Yahoo are among 19 companies announced today as being members of the OpenStack Foundation. The foundation was announced last year but is expected to be officially created in the third quarter of this year to take over management of the project from officials at RackSpace.

IBM and Red Hat have been contributing code to the project, Bryce says, but had not officially publicly supported it. IBM coders have specifically worked in the networking, storage and operating system areas, while Red Hat has been focused on packaging and support for the KVM hypervisor, he says. Other platinum members of the OpenStack Foundation include AT&T, Canonical, HP, Nebula, Rackspace and SUSE. Platinum members agree to invest $500,000 in each of the next three years.

"It's not just a monetary commitment," Bryce says. "It's really a strategic alignment of the company with OpenStack and a commitment to help move the project forward."

Gold members of the project include Cisco, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing, Yahoo! Gold memberships range from $50,000 to $200,000 annual contributions.

OpenStack is looking to build up its support from industry players as the open source cloud market has becoming increasingly competitive in the last month. In the past few weeks open source private cloud project Eucalyptus signed an agreement with IaaS public cloud leaders Amazon Web Services to advance integration of Eucalyptus with AWS systems. Earlier this month, Citrix announced it would bring its CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, in effect creating a competing open source cloud deployment project to OpenStack. That same week, OpenStack released its fifth installment of the OpenStack software, code named Essex.

While OpenStack is adding big-name companies to the project, officials emphasized that as an open-source project, OpenStack will still accept code from a broad and diverse community. "We've seen a lot of developers come into the project, and everyone who has come in and offered something of value has seen their code accepted," says Mark Collier, a vice president of marketing for Rackspace and an OpenStack backer. It's important for OpenStack to maintain a community and culture of valuing the work of individual developers, he says.

Today's news comes on the eve of the OpenStack Design Summit, which will be taking place next week in San Francisco. Bryce says he expects user stories to be shared, along with discussions that will lay the road map for improvements that will be made to the next release of the software, code named Folsom, which is set for the fall. Bryce says he expects virtual networking and continued user experience upgrades will continue to be advanced in the next release.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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