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VMware: OpenStack friend, foe, or frenemy?

David Marshall | Oct. 2, 2012
Some say VMware's membership spells doomsday for OpenStack, but could it instead provide a more flexible hybrid cloud environment?

While Renski believes VMware has subdued OpenStack, the company's membership shouldn't be enough to unduly change the current board of directors' way of thinking or alter its decision-making process.  And if VMware does step out of line or tries something contrary to the foundation's purpose, wouldn't you think there would be some sort of recourse?  If nothing else, the foundation could simply choose to not renew VMware's membership the following year.  And who would blame them?

And there is also little merit to the proposition that VMware is joining the foundation just to gain intelligence for its own cloud initiatives.  These projects are already open source, so how much more data could VMware gain by spying from within?

Finally, just because VMware is a gold member of the foundation, it doesn't necessarily mean it will be able to adversely affect OpenStack code or somehow alter the direction of the project -- unless of course it somehow covertly stacks the deck of developers and takes over the foundation's technical committee.  But with all eyes watching, is this really a possibility? 

VMware's involvement in OpenStack may actually cause some industry players, who otherwise wouldn't have, to take a closer look at the foundation.  And the virtualization giant may help bring additional visibility and further legitimize the group, thereby attracting additional heavy-hitter developers to contribute code to the group's various projects.

I'm not saying VMware is joining the group for humanitarian reasons or that it has a heart the size of Texas when it comes to open source technology.  But I'm also not ready to break out my tin foil hat and speak of conspiracy theories just yet either.  All eyes will be watching to see which way the wind blows.

What do you think?  Is VMware a friend, foe, or frenemy to OpenStack?


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