Rackspace is working with three open communities to form a mega-open platform. Two of those communities are widely known: OpenStack for cloud software and the Open Compute Project for data center hardware. Its part in the third was formally announced today.

Rackspace is now an official member of the IBM-led OpenPOWER foundation, which tackles the server firmware through an open approach. This is about innovating at the firmware level, the big holdout for openness. Rackspace has been involved with OpenPOWER behind the scenes for more than 18 months.

The company announced it has joined the consortium and that it is building an OpenPOWER-based Open Compute server platform that will run OpenStack services. It will engage with partners in the community to build the platform and contribute it and its open source POWER server firmware set to OCP.

Firmware can be a tricky area as developers don’t normally worry about firmware and managing memory requirements. “These are parts of the system many developers are not even aware of,” said Aaron Sullivan, director and principal engineer at Rackspace. “Firmware has different programming models. The OpenPOWER needs the community involved, needs developers on board to achieve real performance gains.”