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OpenStack's Board Breakdown - StackGeek

OpenStack's Board Breakdown

Wed, 30 Jan 2013


Nick Heath of ZDNet has an article out today titled 'OpenStack dominated by big vendors' interests? "No way.", says Co-Founder' where he attempts to refute Lydia Leong's opinion on the matter and where Chris Kemp claims large companies don't dominate the OpenStack board.

Chris is quoted as saying 'Only one-third of the voting influence is in the hands of big corporations'. However, I think it's crystal clear to anyone involved in the OpenStack community that big corporations are heavily involved.

Let's dig in to the data though, shall we?

Data doesn't lie.

OpenStack Board Structure

OpenStack's Bylaws state the board is comprised of 24 total seats. Seats are evenly (8 seats each) elected by 3 classes of members: Individuals, Platnum Members and Gold Members. Note that Individual Members are allowed to be employed by Platinum or Gold Members.

The Foundation's site also provides gives a breakdown of the Platinum and Gold Members. AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula (founded by Chris Kemp himself), RackSpace, Redhat and SUSE make up the 8 Platinum Members. Cisco, Dell, Intel, NetApp, VMWare, Yahoo, NEC and a few others make up the 14 Gold Members.

Over 50% of the Platinum and Gold members are publicly traded companies, with a total marketshare that is North of 1/2 a TRILLION dollars.

OpenStack Board Breakdown

If we look at the board, 13 of the 24 (54%) board members work for publicly traded companies, including AT&T, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Rackspace, RedHat, Sina, and Yahoo.

Of the remaining companies, over 50% are focused on making money of OpenStack or virtualization technologies. Those include Canonical, Cloudscaling, DreamHost, Mirantis, Nebula, Piston Computing, and SUSE. All of these companies are extremely well funded and some of them are big companies in their own right. SUSE, for example, is wholy owned by a private company with over 4K employees and over $1B in revenue. Is it fair to say they are a 'big' company? I'm going to say, "yes it is"!

OpenStack is Influenced by Big Vendor's Interests

Chris argues "Arguably the individual and smaller interests cancel out the large corporate interests.", but in reality the large corporations completely dominate the board. I'm not even sure who qualifies as a 'smaller interest' here. Perhaps he's making some vaugue reference to Nebula, Piston and CloudScaling's seats as the smaller guys in the market.

Regardless, 3 or 4 seats out of the whole is hardly a decent representation for smaller and individual interests. It's pretty clear by the board makeup that big interests control the board.

I don't always agree with what Lydia writes, but in this case I'm going to have to take her side and call BS on Chris' strawman arguments. It's clear OpenStack's fate is in the hands of big corporations.

Thankfully there's always that fork button on Github to save us all from their evil ways. In fact, fork all you big corporations!