Red Hat Kicks OpenStack Startup Piston Cloud Out Of Upcoming Conference

Red Hat has uninvited San Francisco-based startup Piston Cloud Computing from an upcoming open-source conference it's running, apparently without explanation.

Piston Cloud had paid $13,000 to be a sponsor for The Red Hat Summit, which is being held in San Francisco from April 14-17. But Red Hat has canceled the sponsorship and will refund the sponsorship fee. Its motives for doing so are unclear.

"Upon reviewing the 2014 Red Hat Summit sponsor list, Red Hat leadership has requested the termination of the sponsorship agreement with Piston Cloud," Michael Fremder, Red Hat's global corporate sponsorship marketing manager, said in an email sent to Piston Cloud Friday, which was viewed by CRN.

"Per the terms of the sponsorship agreement, Red Hat may terminate the agreement at its sole discretion. Please consider this e-mail your formal notice," Fremder said in the email. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused Piston Cloud."

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Red Hat wasn't immediately available for comment.

Piston Cloud co-founder and CTO Josh McKenty shared the news with his Twitter followers Friday and suggested rallying an effort to kick Red Hat out of the OpenStack Summit, which is being held in Atlanta from May 12-16.

RedHat just kicked out and refunded our sponsorship. So much for open community?

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Piston Cloud emerged from stealth mode in 2011 with a product that simplifies the process for setting up OpenStack-based private clouds, which can be difficult for the uninitiated given the technical complexity of OpenStack. The startup has a number of ex-NASA engineers on staff, including McKenty, who was technical architect of NASA's Nebula Cloud Computing Platform and the OpenStack compute components.

Red Hat was slow to embrace OpenStack, and its version finally arrived in the Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure cloud platform unveiled in July. In October, Red Hat unveiled its On-Ramp to Enterprise OpenStack program, which aims to boost OpenStack adoption in enterprises by touting the advantages of running Red Hat OpenStack on servers running Intel chips.