04.06.2013 Blog

OpenStack — Red Hat, IBM, HP, Intel and others step up their commitment

If an open source IaaS cloud software technology did not exist, the leading server-side vendors would have needed to invent one. Fortunately for IBM, HP and others, Rackspace and NASA did the work. The result … OpenStack.

In early 2012, Domicity began writing about the market dynamics driving server-side vendors to adopt OpenStack at a rapid pace (link to some of these posts here:  OpenStack — Propelled forward by cloud market dynamicsOpenStack vs CloudStack — place your bets; and OpenStack momentum continues.)


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To offset a doomsday scenario, the big vendors needed an open source IaaS technology. By late 2011/early 2012, fear was mounting that enterprise IT shops would replace much of their infrastructure hardware, software and services with virtual machines, rented on an as-needed basis from AWS, Microsoft, Google or other proprietary public clouds.

OpenStack offered the traditional IT vendors an open source solution to divert demand away from AWS and the others by allowing the big vendors to offer their enterprise customers hybrid architectures that integrate a range of cloud types — private, managed, and public — all integrated using OpenStack at  the IaaS layer.

Now, the big server-side vendors are taking over OpenStack’s development.

Building clouds that are better alternatives to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google requires OpenStack to have comparable or better capabilities. Several large supply-side IT vendors are contributing technology and programmer resources at an accelerating rate to make sure this happens.

The table below, with data provided by bitergia.com, shows the top 10 contributors of “commits” (changes to source code) and the number of code authors from each company for each of the past three OpenStack releases: Essex (April, 2012); Folsom (September, 2012); and Grizzly (April, 2013).

 OpenStack contributors by release

From the table we can see several interesting trends:

  • Rackspace’s declining control over the development of OpenStack
  • Red Hat’s accelerating commitment and influence, because OpenStack can become an important bookend to Red Hat’s open source Linux and KVM businesses
  • IBM’s increasing influence and involvement, along with other large server-side vendors including HP, Intel, and VMware (EMC) (It has been hugely important that IBM and HP, the companies with the two largest enterprise customer bases, have both chosen to make OpenStack the keystone of their hybrid cloud strategies.)
  • The lack of code contributions by other big vendors, including: Dell, Cisco, Oracle, Fujitsu
  • With the exceptions of IBM and HP, the dearth of high-level participation by system integrators and outsourcers such as Accenture, Capgemini, CSC, Tata, Infosys, Wipro, and HCL.

A new era for OpenStack

The table shows the most active contributors of manpower and code to OpenStack’s technological maturation. There is also a much broader list of suppliers including Cisco, Dell, AT&T, Suse, Ericsson, Juniper, NEC, NetApp, and Yahoo! which, although they are not significant code contributors, are providing management talent and funding to the consortium.

In the past, the development of OpenStack was primarily driven by fear … the fear that server-side vendors will lose significant profits to AWS and other proprietary public cloud operators.

Domicity believes that OpenStack has moved into an new era. The consortium now perceives an opportunity to create a large new market for OpenStack-based clouds among enterprise IT shops. The growing manpower commitment by the large IT vendors to OpenStack code development, and the increase in consortium membership by other server-side players, signals that the competition for a share of this opportunity is well underway.


Marc Brien, VP Research, DOMICITY Ltd.
Posted by Marc Brien, VP Research, DOMICITY LTD.
Domicity has been publishing reports that analyze the strategies and operations of global I.T. and electronics leaders for more than two decades. Find out about Domicity’s latest report. In addition to published reports, Domicity consults on the strategies & operations of I.T. companies and market trends, and advises government on economic development and investment attraction opportunities.

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