With the triumphant return of Arsenio Hall to the late night talk show circuit this fall, let's file this bit of news under "things that make you go hmmm." Oracle (ORCL), which has a toe or three in the open source world mostly due to its acquisition of Sun Microsystems a few years back, has joined the OpenStack Foundation as a corporate sponsor.

Oracle's plan is to integrate OpenStack cloud management components into Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, Oracle IaaS, its Z23 Series, Axiom storage systems and StorageTek tape systems. It also plans to work towards achieving OpenStack compatibility with Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Compute Cloud Service and Oracle Storage Cloud Service.

It's an interesting move by the software vendor, particularly because Oracle doesn't generally like to share its sandbox with other kids. But maybe these last three years with Sun brainshare within its midst has had a significant effect on the vendor that has been dabbling in open source since the 1990s. Even with that dabbling, though, Oracle likes to play its hand close to its chest.

"Oracle is pleased to join the OpenStack Foundation and plans to integrate OpenStack capabilities into a broad set of Oracle products and cloud services," said Edward Screven, chief corporate architect at Oracle, in a prepared statement. "Our goal is to give customers greater choice and flexibility in how they use Oracle products and services in public and private clouds."

Oracle is known more for its proprietary software, and if there's ever a real case of a vendor trying to lock its customers in, that may very well be the company that Larry Ellison built. But 2013 has suggested a turning point in Oracle's overall go-to-market strategy. Prior to the announcement regarding OpenStack, Oracle inked a deal with Microsoft (MSFT) to link Oracle technology to Windows Azure.

No matter what has prompted these changes, it's putting Oracle in a much better position in the growing cloud computing market.