Linux Foundation snags three enterprise cloud vendors as new members

Eucalyptus Systems, Nebula, Virtual Bridges join the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation has added three enterprise, cloud-focused companies to its membership, an interesting direction for the non-profit organization with a mission of supporting and promoting Linux. The new members are Eucalyptus Systems, Nebula and Virtual Bridges. The Linux Foundation has become a roll-call of companies that compete with each other  -- all of them trying to have their say in the direction of the powerful server operating system kernel.

Eucalyptus Systems and Nebula are, essentially, competitors with cloud platforms. I'm hoping that involvement with the Linux Foundation will help convince Eucalyptus Systems' charismatic CEO, Marten Mickos, that the company's "open core" strategy isn't really "open source" -- but a method of restricting users ability to modify the code the old fashioned way, by keeping the code closed. (See: Marten Mickos says open source doesn't have to be fully open)

That said, the fact that Eucalyptus is contributing to the Linux Foundation as a Silver Member deserves praise. Commercial companies that benefit greatly from Linux -- as Eucalyptus has done with its close relationship with Canonical -- are wise to contribute to the organization that pays Linus Torvald's salary. That earns them the right to a voting voice -- and the networking opportunities from being official members.

Startup Nebula is also an interesting addition to the Linux Foundation. Things are starting to get incestuous in the cloud computing companies involved with the Foundation. Nebula was founded by Chris Kemp, who previously worked at NASA where he co-founded the OpenStack project and started the Nebula Cloud Computing project. OpenStack began life as a cloud platform built and used by NASA and grew into a consortium when Rackspace stepped in to make it so. It has been going gangbusters with vendors falling over themselves to declare support -- including Cisco (one of the few open source projects that Cisco is working on) and Microsoft, though Microsoft just wants to make sure that Windows Server and Hyper-V remain supported options for those building OpenStack clouds.

Meanwhile, open source software storage company Gluster (also a Linux Foundation member) this summer released code to OpenStack that gives the cloud platform some powerful tools for managing virtual machines on GlusterFS clustered storage systems, such as VMotion instant failover. Yesterday, Linux Foundation member Red Hat acquired Gluster for $136 million in cash and promised to continue to support Gluster's contribution to OpenStack -- which was a first. Red Hat's own DeltaCloud initiative competes with OpenStack and Red Hat had been dissing OpenStack. (See Red Hat raids cloud storage market by acquiring Gluster ) ... Aside: did you know that the $1 billion Red Hat is not a top tier, Platinum sponsor of the Linux Foundation? It's not even a Gold member, but a third-tier Silver member, according to the Foundation's pubished roster.

Now, Nebula is not to be confused with OpenNebula, also a Linux Foundation Silver member. OpenNebula is another big competitor to OpenStack, with a large community, 5,000 downloads a month, used by KPMG, China Mobile, Telefónica Germany, its project leaders say. Microsoft just announced that it would be contributed to OpenNebula, again, mainly to keep Hyper-V as a supported option for those building OpenNebula clouds.

Virtual Bridges makes desktop virtualization software for Windows and Linux desktops. This means it competes with Citrix, also a Linux Foundation member, and, to some extent VMware, also a member (though VMware has yet to make any significant inroads with desktop virtualization). Earlier this year Virtual Bridges scored a big win when IBM partnered with it, over Citrix or VMware, to launch a VDI product, the Virtual Desktop for Smart Business. IBM is a big Platinum sponsor of the Linux Foundation.

Having a roster of frienemies isn't really new for the Linux Foundation, who prides itself on being a "neutral forum." Oracle is a platinum sponsor and Google is a Gold member and they are suing each other over Android. Cisco and HP are both Gold members, and they are busy bashing each other in public. Intel and AMD, EMC and Hitachi .. the list goes on and on. But one thing they all seem to agree on is that contributing to Linux is good for them all.

Here's the full press release:

Changes in Enterprise Computing Bring New Members to Linux Foundation

Eucalyptus Systems, Nebula and Virtual Bridges look to Linux to enable innovation in the new enterprise

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 5, 2011 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that three new members have joined the organization: Eucalyptus Systems, Nebula and Virtual Bridges.

Enterprise IT is undergoing a massive transformation as data explodes in volume and social technologies make their way into the business environment. As a result, data center, cloud computing and virtualization technologies are being pushed to the edge to help support this evolution. Companies that provide this infrastructure are depending more than ever on Linux and open source software to provide the foundation for innovating within this new environment.

Today’s new members are joining The Linux Foundation to collaborate on advancing Linux in the enterprise and to maximize their investments in the platform.

Eucalyptus Systems offers a software platform for on-premise infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds. More than 25,000 Eucalyptus clouds, which are uniquely suited for hybrid models, have been started around the globe.

"Open source has gone from disrupting the old to innovating the new -- and Linux and open source hypervisors form the main building blocks of the cloud," said Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems. "As pioneers of infrastructure-as-a-service software, Eucalyptus' membership in The Linux Foundation will keep us close to technology development that is vital for the advancement of new innovations in cloud computing."

Nebula is developing a Linux-based hardware appliance that will allow all businesses to easily, securely and inexpensively deploy large private cloud computing infrastructures.

“Nebula is proud to join The Linux Foundation,” said Chris C. Kemp, CEO of Nebula. “We are dedicated to contributing to open source and open standards, and see The Linux Foundation as the de-facto standard and champion of these principles. As operating systems continue to mature, it is Nebula's goal to ensure that Linux remains the best OS for cloud computing by contributing code and thought leadership in the Linux and cloud ecosystems.”

Virtual Bridges provide a second generation Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution that reduces complexities in virtual computing, simplifies desktop management and improves security.

“The Linux Foundation provides a neutral forum in which the next-generation enterprise can be realized,” said Jim Curtin, CEO of Virtual Bridges. “We are looking forward to collaborating on maximizing Linux’s role within this new environment.”

“Eucalyptus Systems, Nebula and Virtual Bridges are important additions to The Linux Foundation membership,” said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at The Linux Foundation. “The enterprise IT environment is growing more complex and Linux is helping users and vendors innovate within it. We are excited to collaborate with these companies to advance that work.”

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2000, the organization sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and promotes, protects and advances the Linux operating system by marshaling the resources of its members and the open source development community. The Linux Foundation provides a neutral forum for collaboration and education by hosting Linux conferences, including LinuxCon, and generating original Linux research and content that advances the understanding of the Linux platform. Its web properties, including, reach approximately two million people per month and include important Linux video resources. The organization also provides extensive Linux training opportunities that feature the Linux kernel community’s leading experts as instructors. Follow The Linux Foundation on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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