Why they're important: VMware and OpenStack? VMware has what could be viewed as somewhat of a love/hate relationship with OpenStack. Fundamentally, OpenStack can be seen as a threat to VMware, as an open source alternative to VMware's products for building and managing clouds. OpenStack is basically a free version of software that accomplishes the same thing that VMware's software does. VMware says that it wants customers to be able to manage their OpenStack clouds using VMware's tools, including its ESX hypervisor. On the networking front, the company's acquisition of Nicira two years ago automatically launched VMware into being a major OpenStack company. This is an evolving relationship that VMware is treading lightly on.
Why they're important: Metacloud is yet another pure-play OpenStack company that has built a service on top of OpenStack. Unlike Mirantis, Piston or Cloudscaling though, Metacloud has taken an approach where the company sells managed private clouds based on OpenStack. That means that the hardware Metacloud provides customers sits on their own premises behind their own firewall, but is fully managed by Metacloud. It's a convenience of a hosted solution with the peace of mind of an on-premises private cloud. And it's powered by OpenStack.
The end users
Why they're important: At the end of the day there can be lots of vendors selling OpenStack. But if OpenStack really catches on, it will be because there are end users - not vendors - who have adopted it.
There are a variety of other companies that are important to the OpenStack ecosystem because they are some of the projects' earliest production deployments of the software. Organizations like CERN, the European scientific group, are one of the first major deployments of OpenStack. Officials with the organization are now leading up an end user committee associated with the OpenStack board of directors. Other companies like Yahoo, Ericsson, AT&T, the GAP, PayPal/EBay and Comcast have all spoken about their use of OpenStack. For the open source project to really break into the enterprise, more stories from end users like these will help to convince the Fortune 2000 companies of the world that OpenStack is ready for them to use.
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