The Twittersphere, or that part of it with a clue about cloud, erupted. Some asked why IBM would care about a "commodity market," others asked why I considered Rackspace "too big to fail." Marten Mickos, who runs Eucalyptus Systems, which enables Amazon-compatible private clouds, cheered me by suggesting that Red Hat will eventually become the dominant voice in the OpenStack Foundation, surpassing Rackspace. I own a few shares of Red Hat but, again, how does a private cloud technology get traction without a compatible public cloud player to connect with? The VAR Guy insisted, in a column, that OpenStack advocates really have nothing to worry about. OpenStack isn't a failure, it's a work in progress, use of the software continues to increase, and these are still early days in the cloud game. HP also seems committed to OpenStack, with Saar Gillai, named head of its cloud operations in January, telling Infoworld that Service Level Agreements and personal service will bring in the customers, and that OpenStack is just a kernel you build on, not a complete solution.
The VAR Guy added that Dell hasn't abandoned OpenStack at all, just switched from being a public cloud provider to an arms dealer for those who want to build private clouds. But who wants to build something that's incompatible with what they can rent? That remains my question. Until OpenStack has a price-competitive offering in the public cloud market, it will remain my question, and I think it's one investors should take seriously, until it's answered. At the time of publication, the author was long Google, Red Hat and IBM. Follow @DanaBlankenhornThis article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.