It’s official: IBM and Red Hat team up with OpenStack

6.7.2013 Daniel Jaramillo

OpenStack has fulfilled a few big  missions this week when it added IBM and Red Hat to its list of corporate backers.  As it was reported last week, the two tech giants will join the blossoming OpenStack Foundation as fully fledged Platinum members along with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Canonical, Nebula, Rackspace, and Suse.

The establishing of the foundation is important as OpenStack evolves from an effort driven by Rackspace and NASA, to a broad-based group. The goal that Openstack is based on is to provide an open-source cloud platform that is a competitive alternative to Amazon Web Services.

A number of companies including Cloudscaling, Cisco, Dell, Dreamhost, Morphlabs, Netapp and Piston Cloud Computing (see disclosure) are joining as Gold members — bringing the current total of foundation members to 18. That number will likely grow as the foundation evolves, said VP of business development for Rackspace, Mark Collier,.

Citrix, which was an OpenStack supporter but then pushed its very own CloudStack as a rival platform, was not mentioned at all in the foundation news. Citrix employees are still working with OpenStack particularly around Xen hypervisor support, said Jonathan Bryce, Rackspace Cloud creator and founder and also OpenStack board member.

Full, Platinum members pay $500,000 annually to participate with a minimum three-year commital.  Gold Members pay an amount set at .025 percent of their revenue, but if it turns out to be less, then the minimum is at least $50,000 and is capped off at a maximum of $200,000, according to the foundations wiki.

Collier insisted that the big spenders will not be able to manipulate and big foot the foundation, despite their contributions. ”Inclusion is not based on how much money you give but on the technical merit of your proposals,” he stated.

OpenStack partisans seek broad-based establishment

When Rackspace announced plans for the foundation last fall, OpenStack adherents were enthusiastic but vigilant. The principle item and proviso for them was that the foundation not be driven by any single entity, company or cadre of big companies. Many cited the Apache and Eclipse Foundations as models for OpenStack to look up to as reference. One reason IBM is such an important addition is because of its work in supporting the Eclipse Foundation and making it a huge success— largely by handing over control over the open-source Java IDE to an outside entity.

OpenStack took that as sound advice, according to Bryce, and will borrow from both the Apache and Eclipse models. Bryce said: “When you take the core principles of Apache — how developers are respected and empowered along with some Eclipse concepts around investing in the greater ecosystem, we think we’ll drive things forward,”.

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