Nebula OpenStack Cloud Startup Gets New CEO

Gordon Stitt, former CEO of Extreme Networks, will become Nebula's CEO. He replaces Nebula co-founder and former NASA CTO Chris Kemp.

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OpenStack cloud startup Nebula is retooling its executive suite today, with a new CEO to take the reins from co-founder Chris Kemp. Gordon Stitt, co-founder and former CEO of Extreme Networks, will be the new CEO of Nebula, with Kemp taking on the role of chief strategy officer.

Chris Kemp is a pivotal figure and force in the cloud computing world. In 2010, while he was CTO of NASA, Kemp helped launch the open-source OpenStack cloud computing effort. Today, OpenStack has been embraced by the biggest names in IT, including IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Intel among others. Kemp left NASA in 2011 to found his own OpenStack startup called Nebula, where he has been serving as CEO.

Kemp told eWEEK that he has always had lofty goals for Nebula as a company.

"Enterprise computing is a huge market, and we knew we would need to bring someone in with a lot of enterprise sales and marketing experience, which I don’t have," Kemp said. "We knew we would also need experience with manufacturing hardware that looked a lot like a complex network switch—which I don’t have either."

That's where new CEO Gordon Stitt comes in. Stitt is a co-founder and former CEO of Extreme Networks, a company he took public in 1999.

"Gordon Stitt is smart, decisive and shares my values, and he believes in the vision that I have laid out for the company," Kemp said. "In short, he’s a fantastic partner, and the perfect candidate to join me to help us build Nebula into a company of consequence."

From an organizational perspective, Stitt will now be the CEO and Kemp's co-founder Devin Carlen is Nebula's CTO. Kemp will hold the role of chief strategy officer, and will focus on thought leadership, vision and strategy development.

"I will remain the primary evangelist for the company and will focus on building the ecosystem of hardware and software that is emerging around our product," Kemp said.

Kemp's transition out of the CEO role is similar to a move made by one of his former NASA OpenStack colleagues. Joshua McKenty was part of Kemp's team at NASA and also founded his own OpenStack startup. McKenty's OpenStack startup, called Piston Cloud Computing, named its new CEO in December. Jim Morrisroe took the role of Piston CEO, while McKenty is now the CTO.


Nebula launched its commercial Nebula One product in April. Nebula One is an OpenStack cloud controller designed to enable organizations to rapidly deploy and scale a cloud.

"We launched our product on April 2, and beat our first quarter’s forecast by a wide margin," Kemp said. "The product has delivered on its promise of being turnkey and our customers love it, and we’ve received repeat orders from all of our beta customers. All systems are go."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.