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As for how much Dell will charge those involved in a proof-of-concept test, that appears to be negotiable. "We want to work with customers to figure out how to get that equipment in their environment," he says.
Because OpenStack can be used for both large-scale hosted clouds, and internal private clouds, it poses an interesting competitive dilemma for established providers of private cloud software such as Eucalyptus Systems. Eucalyptus has billed itself as an "open core" project, in which part of its code is open source and part isn't. Open core has been a hotly debated concept among open source advocates.
PRODUCT TEST: Private clouds: Not for the faint of heart
Additionally, Eucalyptus has married itself closely to Amazon EC2's APIs, which means that users are guided to Amazon should they want to move workloads from their own data center to a cloud-for-hire. Eucalyptus' CEO Marten Mikos (formerly of mySQL), even once argued that Amazon APIs are the cloud's de facto standard.
Those running competitive clouds, like Rackspace and Dell, didn't agree.
Until OpenStack, Eucalyptus was the entire basis of Canonical's cloud functionality in Ubuntu, known as the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). When Canonical's latest long-term support version of Ubuntu shipped in October, version 10.10 (also known as Maverick Meerkat), it was noted that through UEC, Ubuntu had tied itself pretty closely to a single vendor's proprietary cloud, Amazon's EC2.
Dell and Canonical are also close partners. So, last month, Dell rolled out servers pre-configured with UEC, and at the time it was asked if Dell would soon have servers pre-configured with OpenStack. The answer appears to be that Dell is working on it.
Announced in January 2010, OpenStack grew from a project developed jointly by NASA and RackSpace, and Dell has been an inaugural supporter. But in the past few months, vendor support has taken a massive upswing with companies like Canonical and Cisco signing on.
Other open source cloud operating systems are also participating, including Cloud.com. So is Microsoft. OpenStack's Compute operating system already supports Hyper-V and the Linux virtualization hypervisors Xen and KVM. VMware support is promised in the next release, code-named "Cactus." The consortium is also building an OpenStack Object Storage project.
Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.