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Cloud customer relationship management vendor Salesforce.com has thrown its support behind open source cloud platform OpenStack, the Wall Street Journal reports – though the company itself is remaining mum on the issue.

Editor Michael Hickins got the news from Graham Weston, co-founder of Rackspace Hosting Inc., who told him that Salesforce.com will make its services available on OpenStack. Rackspace has been a key proponent of OpenStack.

OpenStack is a project to create a free, open source cloud computing platform. Its more than 200 vendor members include networking firms, hardware manufacturers, chipmakers and software companies. Salesforce.com is believed to be the first pure-play software-as-a-service company to come on board.

After Salesforce and Hewlett-Packard announced the availability of the Superpod, a dedicated software-hardware package for customers, Forbes contributor Ben Kepes speculated that it was a move toward delivering Salesforce as an on-premise, private cloud offering. OpenStack support would be another step down that road, if Weston is correct.

At the time, commentator Phil Wainewright dismissed the Superpod as a “vanity cloud” for large enterprises, and the tie-up as an attempt to “get even” with Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, with whom Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff (pictured above) had had a very public falling out.

Salesforce has been criticized for building its cloud solution in a proprietary language, making migration to another platform difficult, Hickins notes. The open platform will also attract more developers, as they can be sure their applications will work on other OpenStack clouds.

OpenStack has been in the news frequently in recent weeks. Earlier this week, server-maker Dell Inc. and Linux distributor Red Hat announced a partnership to develop enterprise-grade private cloud offerings on OpenStack, with Dell creating a dedicated Red Hat Enterprise OpenStack practice within its cloud computing group.

Oracle Corp. also announced this week it would support OpenStack on its Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux and Oracle VM products, and Hewlett-Packard Co. has created its own “hardened” version of OpenStack.

 

Read the WSJ story here.

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