Oracle signs up to OpenStack - finally

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Oracle may be late to the OpenStack party, but this week, the systems and software company finally signed up to become a corporate sponsor of The OpenStack Foundation, joining competitors including IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Red Hat in the industry effort to deliver standards-based manageability for cloud infrastructures.

The move seems to have been prompted by a growing realisation at the Redwood Shores, California-based company that customers need - and will increasingly, demand - more flexibility and openness when it comes to managing public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures.

“We understand our customers need to have common management interfaces, rather than being locked into proprietary ones,” said Oracle Solaris vice president Markus Flierl, in an official statement. “OpenStack allows them to do that, both for more traditional, general-purpose IaaS [infrastructure-as-a-service] environments, as well as our Oracle Engineered Systems.”

What this means is that Oracle will integrate OpenStack cloud management components into a range of products: Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, Oracle Infrastructure as a Service, its ZS3 series of network-attached storage appliances, its Axiom storage systems and StorageTek tape systems.

Strictly speaking, it’s not the company’s first step into OpenStack waters. Earlier this year, Oracle announced it would integrate OpenStack with its cloud software, Nimbula, as well as its server hardware, Exadata. But having tested those waters, it’s clear that it felt a bigger commitment to the industry effort to deliver cloud portability was required.

As a corporate sponsor, Oracle will pay The OpenStack Foundation $25,000 per year - a drop in the ocean for a company with revenues in its last fiscal year of $37.2 billion. And it’s certainly not as great a commitment as rivals have made: HP, IBM and Red Hat, for example, are all platinum sponsors, paying $500,000 per year and putting staff to work on contributing OpenStack code, donating time equivalent to that of two full-time employees.

Still, it’s a start - and as well as greater customer choice and flexibility, it also holds out the promise of enabling Oracle to create greater interoperability between its own products.

And it’s an important endorsement for OpenStack, an effort that continues to gather momentum. “We are very excited to see the OpenStack ecosystem growing,” said OpenStack Foundation chief operating officer, Mark Collier. “We welcome Oracle to the OpenStack community and look forward to innovative contributions from their many domain experts, as we continue to pursue the vision of a common cloud management platform.”

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