Update: Rackspace(s rax), the big hosting provider that launched the OpenStack open-source cloud project two years ago, is giving that project an important new stress test.

This week, it will start beta testing the software, running tens of thousands of computing instances as opposed to the hundreds under alpha test now, John Engates, Rackspace’s CTO, said Tuesday.

OpenStack’s goal is to provide an open-source software foundation for public or private clouds that would act as an alternative to proprietary technology from Amazon Web Services (s amzn) and VMware(s vmw), much as Linux was a counterweight to Windows(s msft) in PC and server operating systems.

The effort, initially driven by Rackspace and NASA, now has other big backers in Citrix(s ctsx), Dell(s dell), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq), Cisco(s csco) and others.  Ericsson joined on Tuesday, and IBM(s ibm) is newly on board as well. Most of these companies plan their own…

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About Dana Gardner

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years. Gardner tracks and analyzes a critical set of enterprise software technologies and business development issues: Cloud computing, SOA, business process management, business intelligence, next-generation data centers, and application lifecycle optimization. His specific interests include Enterprise 2.0 and social media, cloud standards and security, as well as integrated marketing technologies and techniques. Gardner is a former senior analyst at Yankee Group and Aberdeen Group, and a former editor-at-large and founding online news editor at InfoWorld. He is a former news editor at IDG News Service, Digital News & Review, and Design News.
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