macro points on market participants in OpenStack and red hat
Some things I think people should consider.
In my view, when looking at a new segment (e.g. IaaS, PaaS, Hadoop/BigData, No/NewSQL Data), both existing large companies and smaller for-profit companies need to carefully study and look for the best places and best chance to participate, add value and make money. Also looking to see if there are existing companies that might have a very good shot at winning parts of that new market, and look to avoid or complement those.
In the case of OpenStack, which is an open-source centric market area, and where the key technologies relies alot on Linux, and to some extent KVM, I would think that people would give Red Hat a pretty good chance at winning the major role in this market. Looking at Red Hat and seeing that they have become the #1 contributor to the project, and given Red Hat's track record in linux and jboss, and in being able to balance community with commercial open source to profitable success, I would stay away from the key market area that Red Hat is targeting.
If I add in the fact that openstack, when combined with Linux and kvm is kind of like "Super-sized-Linux" in many ways, and it will require a strong third party ecosystem of hardware and software participants and developers. I would then look and see if players in this market have experience in this area, have existing relationships with ISV's and IHV's, and are trusted by the third parties to build a sustainable platform, price it fair and provide updates and support. On that front Red Hat would be in the best position, and maybe IBM has some chops there, and VMWare some, but they are not fully in with OpenStack from what I see. Given that you have a company in Red Hat, that most all ISV and IHV companies would trust to be a solid, stable company, and have support and technical skills to back up their solution, and open source skills to balance community and commercial interests, I am not sure why people are trying to take the core Openstack part of the business. That is a very tough battle.
I think it is better to get some concentration of force around one company that can be trusted to drive it forward, and build applications and hardware and software solutions around it. Having 5-10+ OpenStack versions confuses third party ISVs, IHVs and end customers.
I can see why someone like HP fancies going after this area. They currently have no strategic infrastructure software (i.e. virtualization, operating system, database, middleware), and with IaaS emerging as a strategic new infrastructure technology, I can see why they would want to try it. The challenge is that their ability to attract an ecosystem that includes their head-head system vendors like Cisco, Dell, IBM and others, is very unlikely to happen. I just don't see it happening.