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May 26, 2015

10 most powerful OpenStack companies

OpenStack is seen as a way to avoid vendor lock-in and companies are looking to develop with this in mind, but who holds the power?

By James Nunns

The OpenStack summit has just finished in Vancouver and the talk is about who has developed what and which new collaborations and partnerships are the most important.

But which companies are the most powerful in the OpenStack community? CBR has compiled a list of who has the most financial and technological clout.

1. Rackspace

Total Revenue: $1.79B (2014)

Rackspace is one of the OpenStack founding fathers’, it contributed the original storage pieces while working with NASA who looked after the computing side.

Not only is it considered the ‘public face’ of OpenStack, it is also one of the most important contributors to it.

Its public cloud is run off the base of OpenStack and it also offers customers a distribution which allows them to create private and hybrid clouds based off the same platform.

2. Red Hat

Total Revenue: $1.79B (2015)

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Red Hat is one of the leading contributors to the OpenStack code, with some sources suggesting that it is the number one contributor.

It offers RHEL OpenStack and it is investing heavily in the area with key investments in VMTurbo and other areas that are designed to accelerate the enterprise adoption of OpenStack.

In the past it has joined forces with Cloudera for a Hadoop-on-OpenStack solution and it is this drive to push this technology to a large audience, combined with its contributions which makes it so powerful.

3. Dell

Total Revenue: $56.94bn (2013)

Dell is focused on delivering consulting and implementation services for customers in OpenStack, with Dell hardware and services on top.

The company, like Red Hat, is making a push to deploy this technology to its customers either through a private cloud or connections to one its public cloud partners such as Joyent.

Its role as one of the leaders of OpenStack governance bodies means that it is a force in this area.

4. HP

Total Revenue $111.4bn (2014)

HP is one of the largest contributors to OpenStack, with its policy of collaboration and openness is partly behind its push in this area.

With a public cloud based on the technology and with the same available to run a private cloud, the combination creates a hybrid solution.

The company is keen to overcome the challenges which face cloud solutions, such as vendor lock-in, a lack of control or customisability and an inability to scale applications, which is where OpenStack comes in.

It has made large contributions to Kilo, with the focus on supporting application-centric automated, converged storage management.

5. IBM

Total Revenue: $92.7 billion (2014)

Big Blue has made this technology a central part of its cloud plans moving forward. Although it has been a big contributor towards the development of it, where it actually fits into its cloud plans is a little unclear.

Its main contributions come from its experience in working with enterprise customers to improve quality assurance and to align the OpenStack API to key standards. Despite this work, it has not made the technology central to its own products.

OpenStack support is being increased for its SoftLayer cloud, while other developments for Cloud Foundry and BlueMix are also advancing.

It is making strides to contribute but it could probably be doing more.

6. Cisco

Total revenue $47.142 billion (2014)

Cisco’s main involvement in this area is to make sure that its hardware is compatible with OpenStack. That means the development of networking, converged infrastructure and servers are all developed with an aim to be compatible.

Lew Tucker, Cisco VP is a member of the OpenStack board of directors and the company plays an important role on the leadership and marketing efforts.

It offers a fully-managed on-premises solution with its Private cloud and is one of the major contributors to the Neutron networking project.

7. Mirantis

Capitalisation $120 million raised

Mirantis has popped up as one of the pure OpenStack vendors which has matured alongside the open source project. It now offers its own distribution of the technology and is building up a network of partnerships with companies such as Red Hat and VMware.

It is also seeing investment come along from other companies that are interested in its growth. The company which embraces solely supporting and selling OpenStack has recently partnered with Oracle and Pivotal to make PaaS faster and easier to consume.

8. VMware

Total Revenue $6.035 billion (2014)

Potentially seen as rivals, with OpenStack offering an open source alternative to VMware, but it is a big player in this space, it is certainly very influential.

VMware is aiming for customers to manage OpenStack clouds with its tools, such as the ESX hypervisor.

Additionally, the acquisition of Nicira made VMware a big player in the field. Although it is early days for the relationship, with VMware treading lightly, it looks as though this relationship may last, with the company keen on building partnerships to distribute its technology.

9. Canonical

Total Revenue $65.7 million (2013)

Canonical made its name through its Ubuntu operating system and has been busy integrating OpenStack features into its operating system.

It has become one of the major companies in this areas, with users of the technology naming Ubuntu as the leading operating system for OpenStack deployments.

A recent expansion of its partnership with Juniper will see them co-develop a carrier-grade, OpenStack software solution
The collaboration is aimed at enabling service providers to virtualise core networks and network functions for increased scale and reliability.

10. EMC

Total Revenue $24.440 billion (2014)

EMC is being pushed by its Emerging Technologies Division into OpenStack and other open source projects.

The company is starting to make the transition to OpenStack, perhaps seeing that the market is heading in that direction and not wanting to miss out.

Drivers have been released to its existing product line to help them be able to deploy smoothly on OpenStack. If the company puts its full weight behind an OpenStack project then it is likely that they will become one of the biggest players.

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