VMware to Join OpenStack Camp

By Tiffany Trader

August 28, 2012

Cloud makes for some strange bedfellows. VMware is seeking to become a member of the foundation that governs OpenStack, the popular cloud-building framework. Intel and NEC are also applying. The news, uncovered the day before the annual VMworld gala, caught the cloud community by surprise and sparked speculation as to VMware’s motives. OpenStack was launched by NASA and Rackspace in July 2010 as an open-source alternative to proprietary cloud vendors like VMware. This is one of those full-circle moments.

vmware logoVMware created the technology that is a key enabler of enterprise clouds – be they public or private: virtualization. The company went on to become the dominant vendor for both virtualized datacenters and private clouds. In a recent survey of over 100 execs, VMware was ranked the number one IaaS provider, with OpenStack coming in second. But the open source cloud project is in strong growth mode; there’s no telling how long VMware would remain in front.

In the last few months, OpenStack has gained supporters and relevancy. In April, 19 technology companies joined forces to form the OpenStack Foundation, helping put to rest criticisms that founder Rackspace’s disproportionate control diminished its assertions of openness. As of now, the company has eight Platinum members: AT&T, Canonical, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE; and 11 Gold members: Cisco, ClearPath Networks, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, ITRI/CCAT, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing and Yahoo. VMware hypervisor rival Citrix used to be a major OpenStack supporter, until it left the fold in April – opting to back competing open source play, CloudStack, obtained in the cloud.com acquisition.

While OpenStack has been community-building, VMware has been busy with some open-sourcing of its own. The company launched its open PaaS play, Cloud Foundry, in 2010. And then last month, VMware, in a one-two cloud punch, purchased DynamicOps and Nicira. An OpenStack supporter, Nicira is key to OpenStack’s networking technology. This is just one sign that the lines between the camps were starting to break down.

Further evidence of VMware’s expanding cloud play can be traced to its relationship with gold-level OpenStack member, Piston Cloud. Back in April, Piston – which was no doubt thrilled to nab the trademark on “Enterprise OpenStack Company” – started a community open source project to enable VMware’s Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service to run on OpenStack. The official announcement explained that the two companies were working together to develop the Cloud Provider Interface that integrates OpenStack cloud infrastructure with Cloud Foundry. The stated goal was to include the integration capability in a future release of Piston Enterprise OS and submit the project to the OpenStack satellite ecosystem for consideration as an OpenStack incubation project.

A week ago, just days before VMware’s OpenStack aspirations were made public, Piston Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer Gretchen Curtis remarked on the unusual pairing:

Why this unlikely partnership? The answer is simple — we share Cloud Foundry’s vision of enabling developers, and like VMware, we believe the future of PaaS is inherently open source and multi-cloud.

A proposal signed by VMware Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod outlines VMware’s intention to obtain gold-level foundation membership, which according to OpenStack governance bylaws requires an investment of at least 0.25 percent of revenue, a $50,000 minimum and a $200,000 maximum. As stated on its application, VMware’s intended buy-in is $66,666.67. Intel and NEC are also seeking gold-level membership, and have each ponied up $200,000 for the honor.

The applications were on the agenda for the first full Board of Directors meeting, which was scheduled to take place earlier today, as outlined in this OpenStack Foundation Wiki.

Platinum membership, which requires $500,000 per year and a three-year commitment, is limited to a fixed number of spots and there are currently no openings. This could explain why all three companies on today’s agenda are seeking the lesser-tier membership. The significance of this is that none of these companies will get board membership, although they will have voting rights.

The applications do not require an essay of intent, so the question remains: what is VMware’s motivation? It would seem that not only are they losing market share to open source, but there is no longer much profit in hypervisors, VMware’s bread and butter. So the company is branching out and moving up stack, creating and leveraging partnerships along the way. They’re competitors yes, but they need each other. An idea that Ms. Curtis of Piston Cloud sums up well:

In IT – as in any business – co-opetition is not uncommon. Yes, we will continue to challenge VMware’s walled garden, but we will also work together for the greater good of developers and the OpenStack community.

VMware could be saying basically the same thing from behind its (more porous?) perimeter. Interestingly, according to the Foundation’s “Framework Acknowledgement” letter (aka commitment letter), “Platinum Members must be strategically aligned with the OpenStack Mission and provide funding and operational support,” but the mandate for Gold Members only requires that they “be active members of the community and provide funding.” Food for thought – this rather obvious omission could be interpreted as pragmatic acceptance of the inevitability of competition.

For its part, attracting VMware to its camp can be seen as a win for OpenStack. Formed as a response to growing closed-wall dominance by VMware on the private side and Amazon on the public side, the strategy has always been framed as the joining of forces against a common enemy. Which leaves a question: what do you do when you’ve subdued your foe, either through conquest or assimilation? The OpenStack ecosystem includes many natural competitors, but each of these companies is relying on a strong core code base for its success. While the current “Essex” version was good enough for Rackspace to launch with, other OpenStack distros, like Red Hat’s, are pinning their launch dates to the “Folsom” release, expected out sometime this fall. Once the early adopters get going with their distros, there will likely be some jockeying for position as the already thin line between cooperation and competition gets stretched even further.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

NSF Issues $60M RFP for “Towards a Leadership-Class” System

May 16, 2017

In case you missed it, the National Science Foundation issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the next ‘Towards a Leadership-Class Computing Facility – Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Azure Will Debut Pascal GPU Instances This Year

May 8, 2017

As Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference gets underway in San Jose, Calif., Microsoft today revealed plans to add Pascal-generation GPU horsepower to its Azure clo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This