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Oracle plugs OpenStack into its cloud

But where are the code contributions, Larry?

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OpenWorld Oracle has adopted the open source OpenStack cloud technology for its upcoming public cloud service, but though the company has made many tweaks and advancements to the technology, it does not appear to have yet contributed code back to the community.

The OpenStack announcement was made by the company on Tuesday at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. It sees the company embrace OpenStack for provisioning its infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service assets.

OpenStack is a cross-industry open source cloud platform, which has received major code contributions from companies such as Red Hat, Rackspace, NASA, and HP as they try to develop a system that will let them compete with proprietary cloud behemoths such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Rackspace's cloud runs off of OpenStack, as does AT&T's and HP's, and now – it seems – Oracle.

With the Oracle Public Cloud, the OpenStack Swift API can be used to manipulate storage resources in the Oracle IaaS cloud, Oracle's senior veep of product development Thomas Kurian said on Tuesday.

Far from just implementing API compatibility with a separate internal system, Kurian confirmed that Oracle is using OpenStack for the provisioning, deployment, and management of basic cloud assets.

"We've obviously written our own software," he told El Reg. "There's a lot of value we've added around performance and scalability and other things."

By using OpenStack, Oracle hopes to assuage concerns about proprietary lock-in. By building applications around the resource semantics of OpenStack APIs like Swift, or Nova for compute, customers will be able to migrate data out of Oracle and into another cloud platform without their apps breaking – or so the theory goes.

"We're not going to tie you into a programming language," Kurian said. "We're going to give you a cloud environment to allow you to use these workloads."

Though Oracle has written its own additions to OpenStack, the company does not appear to have contributed any of that code back to the wider community. In fact, Oracle as a corporate entity has made zero commits to the mammoth codebase over all of its release, according to data put together by OpenStack commit watchers Stackalytics. This compares with, say, 12,492 from leader Rackspace or 554 from mid-size users like Intel, or 12 from arm's-length developer EMC.

Many organizations use Linux without contributing changes back to the community, but to this hack's mind it's bad form for an influential company such as Oracle to adopt a young open source technology like OpenStack and not give that info back to the community. At the time of writing, Oracle had not responded to requests for clarification on its future contributions to the tech.

The upcoming Oracle public cloud will run from 13 data centers around the world, Kurian said. Along with offering storage and compute services to companies, it will also provide database-as-a-service, document syncing, mobile services, a database backup cloud, a platform-as-a-service, a full suite of software-as-a-service products, and others.

Today, 21.5 million users in 163 countries working for some 18,000 companies are using the cloud, Kurian confirmed. It currently has "205 petabytes of storage under management" and its major categories are HR and customer-experience apps. We suspect that the yet-to-launch storage and compute is much, much smaller, given how alien this tech segment is to Oracle's traditional product line. ®

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