Has OpenStack finally won over IBM?

Updated: Since it launched two years ago, the open-source cloud computing platform OpenStack has won over an impressive array of tech backers, including Dell(s dell), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) and Citrix(s ctsx). But not IBM.

That is about to change, according to this OpenStack contributor page, which lists IBM as a participant as of February 2. There has been no announcement, but Krishnan Subramanian over at CloudAve certainly spotted this and got the word out. Another, more official-looking OpenStack contributor page makes no mention of IBM.

OpenStack was launched by Rackspace(s rax) and NASA in 2010 to furnish an open-source cloud computing platform alternative to what VMware(s vmw), Amazon Web Services(s amzn) and others offered.  Last fall, Rackspace turned leadership over to a more independent OpenStack Foundation to run.

While most of the big tech companies that back OpenStack has its own proprietary cloud products, they are hedging their bets by joining the open-source effort in case it winds up becoming popular. As part of their backing, they contribute technology to the effort and support that technology. Early versions of OpenStack are now available. Ultimately, the idea is that each of the big tech companies might field its own version of OpenStack, but they would all be interoperable.

IBM, which has an arsenal of hardware, software and middleware, has done better than most legacy IT companies of moving in both the open source and commercial software world. It was, for example, largely responsible for the success of Eclipse, the open-source Java framework it launched and then released to an independent foundation.

IBM did not respond to requests for comment; Update: An IBM spokesman, responding via email Monday night, did not comment directly but said:

[IBM is encouraged to see] the OpenStack community growing rapidly in support of an open source IaaS Cloud technology. Most recently, OpenStack has announced the evolution of the organization into a more open governance process. We believe that this is a right step in the direction towards expanding the OpenStack ecosystem and in particular its support for standardized cloud APIs.

IBM supports the implementation of standards-based interfaces, he said. “The same holds true for cloud and we’ll continue to explore any efforts that legitimately work to address issues our customers face.”

An OpenStack spokeswoman had no comment.

It could be that one or both companies are holding off on a formal announcement — IBM’s big PartnerWorld Leadership Conference kicks off tomorrow in New Orelans.  This is the kind of announcement that would be ideal for that venue. There is also an OpenStack Conference in April.

Feature photo courtesy of karindalziel