En garde!

Apache CloudStack graduates, but is it qualified to challenge OpenStack?

Chris Mayer

Almost a year since it entered the incubator, the cloud management platform graduates at Apache, ready to take on its main competitor.

Nearly 12 months after being donated by
, Apache Cloudstack has graduated from the
Foundation’s “incubation” stage.

The news means that the cloud infrastructure manager holds
a strong enough community to be set free from the Apache Incubator,
and adheres the open source rules to the Apache Software

Unlike many burgeoning Apache projects,
CloudStack already has a mature codebase behind it and is currently
in use in production. Originally developed by Cloud.com, the
software suite which can spin out and manage IaaS instances was
acquired by Citrix in July 2011.

The following month, Citrix released CloudStack
3.0 under a GPLv3 license,
removing the remaining 5%
proprietary code in the project. At the same time, it also unveiled
support for OpenStack’s storage component Swift. However, Citrix’s
submission to
the ASF in April 2012 meant
a quick reversal to these changes, switching to the Apache v2
license and cutting all ties to the rival OpenStack

Having taken the dramatic decision to
fully open source CloudStack, Citrix’s work since has been
dedicated to fostering a community and freeing the project from its
shackles to the company. VP of Products Kevin Kluge

reflects on the Apache transition
process in
a blog post,
suggesting that the
CloudStack’s future was “limited” with few outside contributors and
an undefined governance model.

“We believed the structure of the ASF separated
the funding of the foundation from the influence on the project,
explained Kluge. “We knew that the ASF had a clear process for
project entry and incubation / maturation, and it had mentors that
would step forward and help the evolving community learn to work
like an Apache project.”

Kluge admitted he was surprised at the rate
vendors expressed interest in the project
once it had
entered the ASF
and believes that
CloudStack will only grow faster once a fully-fledged
top-level project
. The project looks to be heading on
the right track, with

data from open source analyser Ohloh
steady growth in contributors over the past few months.

The project’s greatest challenge now is gaining
ground on OpenStack, both in terms of media attention and active
contributors. It will need commercial vendors, too, to break into
the corporate space.

CloudStack has been proven to scale well in
production environments and holds an impressive list of clients
using the software, like service providers GoDaddy and

Following Apache’s seal of approval,
as well as a new
stable release,
that number should

The next release of the project,
Apache CloudStack 4.1
is expected imminently,
bringing with it functionality akin to
. With OpenStack
due at the beginning of the April, the
race for cloud infrastructure supremacy just got that much

Image courtesy of uwdigitalcollections

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