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Staten says establishing a foundation now to oversee OpenStack could increase business interest by heading off problems that have plagued other open-source products. Staten says a foundation means less risk that one company would control the code, or that the software would splinter into multiple incompatible versions known as “forks.”

On Thursday, Jonathan Bryce, founder of RackSpace’s cloud business and chair of the OpenStack project’s policy board, announced that RackSpace would donate its OpenStack trademarks and copyrights to the foundation.

OpenStack isn’t the only “open” cloud provider. Red Hat, a company that distributes free software, has been developing its own open-source cloud, called Aeolus; on Wednesday, the company bought Gluster, a startup that has contributed cloud storage code to OpenStack. Bryce has said that he hoped Gluster would continue to work with OpenStack, and noted that Red Hat was using some code developed for OpenStack.

Some other companies, including Facebook, have also been trying to encourage open-source design of the actual hardware used in large data centers, including power supplies and cooling systems. Some of the OpenStack tools need to be improved in order to compete with established platforms. Swift, which is OpenStack’s counterpart to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or S3, “is very basic,” Kemp said.

Kemp, who is also founder and CEO of Nebula, a startup developing a networking appliance for cloud computing, says that OpenStack’s future depends on ensuring that each component is top of the line. “If we don’t do those things well, the project will not achieve its potential. It won’t scale to the point where big telcos or enterprises can deploy it,” Kemp said. 

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Tagged: Business, Web, Business Impact, Internet, cloud computing, networking, open source, linux

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