Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Red Hat (RHT) have their own OpenStack distributions. SUSE and Ubuntu each bundle OpenStack with their private cloud platforms. So does VMware (VMW) -- king of virtualization -- need its own OpenStack distribution to compete with emerging cloud rivals?

The VAR Guy suspects not. Here's why.

OpenStack is an open source platform for building public and private clouds. Rackspace (RAX) is the prime promoter, but dozens of companies have agreed to promote the emerging cloud offering. In some cases, vendors are hoping OpenStack becomes a building block for countering Amazon Web Services out in the public cloud.

Where VMware Wins Big

No doubt OpenStack has generated a lot of interest. But here's the reality: A survey to identify the world's Top 100 Cloud Services Providers revealed that 72.7 percent of CSPs use VMware vSphere for their virtualization platforms, compared to 34.8 percent for Microsoft Hyper-V and 33.7 percent for Citrix Systems Xen (multiple answers permitted so total exceeds 100 percent). Moreover, only 6.4 percent of CSPs use OpenStack for IaaS build-outs, according to the survey, compiled by Talkin' Cloud (The VAR Guy' sister site).

Meanwhile, VMware is working hard to launch its vCloud Hybrid Service during or shortly after VMworld later this month in San Francisco, The VAR Guy has heard. Some critics say VMware is late to the OpenStack party. Others say VMware has a love-hate relationship with OpenStack.

The VAR Guy's spin? VMware is saying just enough about OpenStack to keep CIOs and channel partners at rest -- but the real play remains VMware's core software for software-defined data centers.

Stay tuned for VMworld updates from The VAR Guy.