Server-maker Dell Inc. and Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. have announced a partnership to develop enterprise-grade private cloud offerings by early in the new year, The Register reports.

Dell hardware will run Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, including Red Hat’s Linux distribution and hypervisor.

Open Stack is a project to create a free, open source cloud computing platform with more than 200 members including networking firms (Cisco, Brocade), hardware manufacturers (IBM, HP, Dell), OS distributors (Suse, Red Hat), chipmakers (Intel, AMD), and more. The project was launched by NASA and Rackspace Hosting in 2010. It is composed of nine components, from compute, storage and networking to telemetry and orchestration.

Red Hat claims to be the No. 1 contributor to the OpenStack project for the last two distributions, which are released roughly every six months. Both Dell and Red Hat say they will contribute code to the Open Stack community from the beta version of Red Hat’s next release of the platform, running on the Havana release of OpenStack, which was released in October.

Dell says it is the first company to OEM Red Hat’s OpenStack offering, and the company is creating a Red Hat Enetrprise Open Stack practice within its cloud computing group, according to CIO Today.

The companies also plan to work together to enable software-defined networking and networking-as-a-service capabilities on the platform, CIO Today wrote. These will be developed as part of the OpenStack networking component, Neuron.

Hewlett-Packard Co. recently announced its own “hardened” version of OpenStack, while Oracle Corp. also pledged this week to support OpenStack on its Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux and Oracle VM . That’s an about-face from Oracle 2011 stance on virtualization, when it refused to support its database on Xen Server, pushing Oracle VM as the only supportable hypervisor, writes Randy Bias in Information Week.