Heavy hitters throw weight behind future OpenStack Foundation

IBM, HP, Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, and more sign up as premium members for foundation providing shared resources to continue OpenStack development

IBM, HP, Red Hat, Dell, Cisco, NetApp, and a host of other technology companies today announced plans to lay down big money and other resources to become premium members of a future OpenStack Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the open source cloud operating system.

OpenStack Foundation will be an independent body providing shared resources to continue the development of OpenStack while preserving the project's open development process. "The formation of a foundation is not about changing the approach, but preserving and accelerating what's working and moving the community building activities to a neutral long-term home with a broad base of support," said Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack Project Policy Board and co-founder of Rackspace Cloud.

In total, 18 companies have declared their intentions to become either platinum or gold members of the OpenStack Foundation. The platinum members include AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat, and Suse. Gold members include Cisco, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, and Piston Cloud Computing.

The announcement -- particularly the backing of a major player such as IBM -- comes at a critical time for OpenStack. The OpenStack community faced a setback earlier this month when Citrix bailed on OpenStack to focus on advancing rival cloud platform CloudStack as part of the Apache Foundation.

Explaining the decision, CloudStack representatives criticized the pace at which OpenStack was evolving, taking jabs at the community for being slow to respond to real-world customer demands. Citrix also cited technical incompatibilities between CloudStack and OpenStack. Citrix had ambitions to integrate the two platforms under the moniker Project Olympus.

Citrix's decision and associated qualms with OpenStack were clearly not enough to deter plenty of other companies to throw more support behind OpenStack. As outlined in the OpenStack wiki, platinum members will commit $500,000 annually over three years; gold members will contribute between $50,000 and $200,000 per year, depending on company revenue. Additionally, platinum and gold members will each be expected to dedicate at least two full-time employees (or the equivalent) to work on OpenStack. The foundation will also be open to individual members for free.

"This is not just about money. We want to make sure the foundation is well resourced to accomplish its mission and support the OpenStack community," said Bryce. "This is not about taking checks from anyone who wants to write one."

Premium membership will have its privileges: Platinum and gold members will participate in writing the Foundation's detailed bylaws. The goal is to reach a final draft for ratification by the Rackspace Board and the OpenStack Community by Q3 of this year. All members of the OpenStack community will have a say in the process, according to foundation organizers.

What's more, platinum members will have the authority to appoint one-third of the members of the foundation's board of directors, while gold members and independent members will each elect one-third of the board.

OpenStack licensing will not change with the establishment of the foundation.

This story, "Heavy hitters throw weight behind future OpenStack Foundation," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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