ownCloud Inc., which develops open-source software for building cloud infrastructure, has existed as a commercial entity for only a few short months.  But it has already begun racking up partnerships throughout the channel, highlighting the plentiful opportunities available at the juncture of the cloud and open-source. Read on for the scoop, and what it means for the open-source ecosystem more broadly.

ownCloud has been around as an open-source project for a while, but its launch as a commercial venture dates only to late last year.  Since that time, ownCloud has pushed out an important point release of its platform that brought novel functionality not only to the ownCloud package, but to the open-source channel as a whole, where ownCloud currently has no real contenders -- which is probably for the best, since competition from proprietary platforms like Dropbox and iCloud should keep the team busy enough.

Building Partnerships

Given the stiff competition that ownCloud faces, and the uphill battle that most open-source organizations are fighting more generally to establish themselves in the evolving cloud niche, it's only natural for ownCloud to seek strong partnerships with other companies in the open-source channel.  Toward that end, it recently announced a new partner program and has already enrolled a number of organizations around the globe. The full list is available on ownCloud's site, but a few notable names include:
ownCloud's partners provide a variety of solutions ranging from pre-installation of the software on hardware devices, to assistance configuring and maintaining the platform, to data hosting services.  Combined, these various offerings should go a long way in helping to make open-source cloud infrastructures more accessible to many customers.

And that's important not only to potential ownCloud users -- who already number 400,000 when counting the platform's free community edition alone -- but to the open-source channel as a whole.  These partnerships will go a long way toward integrating and solidifying a segment of the open-source ecosystem that until a few months ago had no real commercial representation.

That isn't to say, of course, that the commercialization ownCloud and its partners are pursuing in this space is necessary for open-source to succeed in the world of the cloud.  ownCloud was already a pretty formidable platform before it morphed into a business.  But in order to give proprietary competitors a real run for their money, a well coordinated front composed of organizations with a stake in the open-source cloud space will be vital.

By all indications, ownCloud -- and the world of open-source cloud solutions -- will continue to evolve as rapidly going forward as they have over the last few months.  We'll stay tuned.