Somebody's proprietary software -- VMware's, Microsoft's, CA Technologies' -- will ultimately run the private, on-premises cloud. Or at least that's what that some people believe as they look at the IT manager's traditional need to have a major company backing and supporting the software.
But, when it comes to cloud computing, there's initiative on the open source code side of the ledger. Three projects, Eucalyptus Systems, OpenStack and CloudStack, are vying to establish a stronghold with developers and users, hoping to gain an edge in propelling the cloud forward. Each is innovating in virtual networking, a laggard in the reorganization of the data center around virtualization. OpenStack's Project Quantum is rich in virtual networking talent as it captures code contributions from HP, Nicira, Cisco, IBM and others.
Whether one or all of these projects can gain a rapid leading edge remains to be seen. But if any get the upper hand in implementing a more fully automated data center, thanks to the flexibility of new virtual networking services, they are likely to compete effectively with commercial software. The Linux example has made believers out of many IT managers when it comes to open source. Cloud computing may be the next place where open source systems match or surpass the proprietary competition.