The open source OpenStack cloud project has officially revealed its list of corporate supporters today and for the first time, both Red Hat and IBM are among the supporters.
OpenStack is currently in the process of migrating from a loosely governed project to full open source foundation governance model. AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE will be Platinum members of the new foundation. Cisco, ClearPath, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing and Yahoo are joining the effort as Gold members. The difference between membership tiers is about money and doesn't affect the technical direction of the project.
Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the Project Policy Board for OpenStack, explained to InternetNews.com that as part of the process of building the OpenStack Foundation, it's now time to get companies to take a formal step and state their intentions around sponsoring the foundation.
The Platinum membership involves a three-year commitment of $500,000 a year, which will provide the OpenStack Foundation as a whole with a minimum of $4 million in funding a year.
"Money is just one part of it, we want companies to all pitch in so we can build something great together," Byrce said. "Platinum members also have requirements around full-time employees that they have contributing to the open source project and a corporate strategy that lines up with OpenStack as well."
That corporate strategy includes using OpenStack clouds and building it into products. He added that all of the companies that are members have also contributed code in the recent Essex release of OpenStack.
Gold membership, in contrast, is variable and is based on company size and can range from $50,000 to $200,000 a year. In terms of what different membership classes enable companies to do, it's not a limiting factor for technical development.
"The purpose of the foundation is really focused on community building," Bryce said. "The actual development, technical meritocracy and project technical leads that are elected by committers – all of those things are not changing."
Bryce stressed that the current development process is healthy and working as is. From a technical perspective, he added that no one has to pay anything to participate or consume the code.
In terms of what the membership fees will all be used for, Rackspace VP of Business & Corporate Development Mark Collier explained that Rackspace today is paying for the community building activities for OpenStack.
"We have dedicated community managers and folks that manage events so all those activities have costs and headcount associated with them," Collier said. "So the foundation will be taking over the responsibility for those activities."
Collier noted that as Rackspace transitions their responsibilities, they want to make sure that similar or greater resources are available to build the community.
The process to build an OpenStack Foundation kicked off in October of 2011. The general idea is to have an open structure that will enable the further development and adoption of OpenStack. OpenStack was originally started by Rackspace and NASA in July of 2010 and has since grown to include the support of 166 contributing companies.
"Now that OpenStack is moving to a foundation, Red Hat felt that this new governance structure would provide a good framework for enhancing open source collaboration around OpenStack," Red Hat wrote in a statement. "Yes, Red Hat is planning to introduce an enterprise distribution of OpenStack. However, we are not announcing any specific product plans right now."
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