OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, won praise today from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Seagate Technologies (NASDAQ: STX). Call it a hunch but I bet Seagate's cloud backup business (EVault) makes some OpenStack moves, too. The applause comes as cloud services providers (CSPs) and the open source community prepare for a major OpenStack Conference in April 2013.

OpenStack seeks to offer a standard platform for public and private clouds, allowing partners and customers to move workloads more easily between various cloud systems. HP Public Cloud is built on OpenStack, and now Seagate has also endorsed the platform. 

Seagate is now a corporate sponsor member of the OpenStack Foundation and Open Compute Project. Seagate says it will help cloud builders to develop more scalable, customizable solutions using open platforms while reducing operating costs and providing benefits for consumers in the marketplace. More than 150 companies have joined the foundation and project initiatives. 

The big question: Does Seagate's cloud-enbabled backup company, called EVault, plan to run its cloud atop OpenStack? It's a particularly interesting question for channel partners, since so many MSPs plug into that EVault system. EVault offered no comment but I think it's a safe bet they are going in that direction.

Still, some critics have openly wondered if OpenStack is mature enough for production deployment. Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) and HP, among others, both have gone live with OpenStack. And HP today said the open source software, although rough around the edges, still offers high-quality scalability and reliability. HP's praise surfaced at the company's Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the OpenStack industry is gearing up for a major conference in April. The event is expected to atract open source contributors, ISVs, cloud services providers and technology companies.

In recent weeks, OpenStack-focused companies have attracked venture capital. Mirantis, one of the largest systems integrators focused on OpenStack, raised $10 million from Dell, Intel and WestSummit. And Piston Cloud also raised $8 million to further enhance its own OpenStack distribution, which is designed for IaaS (infrastructure as a service).

Still, OpenStack faces plenty of competition. Potential alternatives for enterprises and cloud services providers include CloudStackEucalyptus and OpenNebula. It sounds CloudStack momentum has been accelerating, though OpenStack seems to remain the frontrunner in this early-stage market.