It came as a surprise when VMware submitted an application to join OpenStack Foundation which was posted on OpenStack Wiki. This announcement triggered many questions about the actual goal of such an undertaking because the two companies are seen as a threat to each other. They provide similar services with the difference in price and infrastructure which makes them competitors in the cloud market. However, this doesn’t seem like an obstacle to their cooperation.
VMware provides software virtualization services for companies and has had an important share in this market. Its proprietary vCloud initiative makes it an important competitor to OpenStack which provides open source cloud platform. Besides this, OpenStack powers the servers of its founder RackSpace which is also considered to be VMware’s cloud enemy. Therefore, VMware’s decision to join open source cloud foundation seemed like they were trying to ‘keep their enemies close’.
What further strengthens this impression is the fact that VMware was never actually seen as a company that would dive into open source projects. However, now they seem to be seriously rethinking their position in the cloud. Last month they acquired cloud-based provider of virtual networks Nicira, which is a big OpenStack player and this was in a way a hint about VMware’s future direction.
Some analysts saw this recent move as a Trojan horse that is bound to destroy OpenStack from the inside. The others have welcomed it as a mature move for both of the companies. Even though no official announcements were made, we are inclined to believe that the application is accepted and that this is a deal that is supposed to benefit both of the companies.
After the initial surprise that the news caused, it is not difficult to grasp the idea that both sides do this for their own good. Perhaps the greatest motive is improvement of services and creating a cloud option that would be a stronger alternative to Amazon Web Services. General expectations are that this cooperation would bring benefits to the whole cloud ecosystem. As long as their services are getting better there isn’t much point to question their reasons for joining. After all, both companies are important players in the scene and this can bring good results in several ways.
OpenStack project was started in 2010 by RackSpace and NASA. Over two years its development was supported by many major tech companies. Some of the current gold members of OpenStack Foundation are companies such as Dell, Cysco Systems, Cloudscaling and MorphLabs. Platinum members are AT&T, Canonical, HP, Rackspace, IBM, Nebula, Red Hat, and SUSE. The gold membership costs 0.025% of revenue, which translates into $66,666.67 for VMware.