Dell says it wants to help customers deploy whatever is best for them. That could be a private cloud built on OpenStack, or connections to one of the company's public cloud partners, like Joyent or Rackspace. Dell holds some important leadership positions in the OpenStack governance bodies, so it is certainly a force in the OpenStack community.
Why they're important: HP seems to be having trouble getting its cloud to catch on. The company has an impressive portfolio though. Its public cloud is based on OpenStack - with plenty of HP sauce layered on top. And that same OS is available to customers to run a private cloud, also leveraging OpenStack. Combined, HP says that creates a hybrid cloud for customers that rivals similar platform-centric plays from companies like VMware and Microsoft. In the Icehouse release HP trailed only Red Hat in terms of the number of contributions of code. So, HP is certainly among the big vendors in the OpenStack community.
Why they're important: Last year IBM publicly announced that OpenStack would be a central part of the company's cloud plans moving forward. Since then, though it's unclear just how big of a part OpenStack plays in the company's cloud plans. IBM has certainly been committed to contributing toward the development of OpenStack. IBM is one of the leading contributors to the project, along with every other company on this list. IBM is using its experience in working with enterprise customers to improve areas such as quality assurance and aligning the OpenStack API to key standards. But, the company has not made OpenStack central to its own products it sells. IBM bought SoftLayer, an IaaS provider, and is in the process of expanding OpenStack support in SoftLayer's cloud. Since that OpenStack announcement IBM has also made commitments to Cloud Foundry, another open source project for application development. And it has announced BlueMix, a PaaS offering that's still in its early stages.
Why they're important: It seems that the main goal of Cisco being involved in OpenStack is to ensure that the hardware the company makes - its networking, converged infrastructure and servers - are all compatible with OpenStack. Cisco also plays an important role on the leadership and marketing efforts, lending the head of its cloud technology team to be vice chairman of the OpenStack board of directors and sharing stories of how the company's WebEx team has deployed OpenStack within the company. It's yet to be seen how central of a role OpenStack will play in the company's recently announced InterCloud.
Why they're important: A number of companies have sprouted up as pure-play OpenStack vendors that focus solely on supporting and selling OpenStack-related products and services. Embracing this strategy has helped Mirantis, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company grow from a venture-backed startup to now one that has more than 400 employees. The company originally supported a variety of OpenStack deployment models, but as the open source project has matured, so too has Mirantis's offerings. The company now has its own distribution of OpenStack which users can implement on their own, or with the support of Mirantis engineers. The company is also building up its partnerships, including those announced with Red Hat, VMware and it recently publicized a $30 million deal, which was accompanied by an investment, from mobile provider Ericsson to implement a cloud for that company.
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