Storm brewing in cloud ecosystem?

Citrix offers CloudStack to Apache Foundation

Chris Mayer
CloudStack

Citrix’s open source move with CloudStack could make it a cloud infrastructure juggernaut, but where does it leave OpenStack?

There were big ruptures across the open source landscape
yesterday, as virtualisation heavyweight Citrix revealed that it
had donated their platform CloudStack to the open source foundation
Apache, which has gone straight into the Apache Incubator

For those unitiated in CloudStack, this move will essentially
allow enterprises and service providers, to create cloud
infrastructures, that bare resemblence to Amazon Web Services.
CloudStack is quite advanced too, offering hosted public and
private clouds (and the bridge between them) as well as on-premise
private clouds, all with an air of relative simplicity when
creating the infrastructure.

It’s a pretty monumental announcement for both parties, given
that this is the first cloud platform of its kind to make its way
over to the huge open source foundation. The goal in sight for
Citrix seems clear – to assume mass adoption and follow the path of
recent Apache converts Hadoop and Cassandra to assume dominance
within the burgeoning cloud infrastructure field.

The Fall
2011 Forrsights Hardware Survey
 shows that about 36%
of enterprise IT leaders are prioritizing and planning to invest in
IaaS this year. They want a ready-built solution now to integrate
into their workplace and don’t want to dally about with it. Whilst
CloudStack shows promise, it needs that extra push and guidance to
truly become ubiquituous. By letting Apache become a steward, it’s
highly likely that CloudStack will gain the mass adoption that it
craves.

Not that they don’t already have a good steady
following. CloudStack will bring 30,000 community
members to Apache, according to Citrix as well as certified apps
and production clouds. All of which generate something to the tune
of a $1bn. Alongside that, Citrix will become a platinum member of
Apache alongside fellow luminaries like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook
and Microsoft. Not bad company to be in at all.

However, there is still something that needs to be cleared up.
Citrix have said that they will create a commercially-viable
version of Apache CloudStack as a sort of overload to its cloud
offering. But issues arise when you realise that CloudStack was
borne out of open source version OpenStack, which has been in limbo
since Citrix’s money-generating aspirations took centre stage.

A lot of the codebase crosses over from the two and it was
difficult for enterprises to firmly back CloudStack when it wasn’t
clear whether OpenStack was part of CloudStack or the two were
separate entities. Fears appear to have been allayed here as
vendors won’t have to migrate to OpenStack in the future after it
has been kicked to the kerb. There were concerns that OpenStack’s
code wasn’t maturing at a rate acceptable enough for a commercial
offering and by shifting to Apache, it could really progress with
their leadership.

In fact, an OpenStack release is due tomorrow with Essex
arriving
, which many expected to be the first commercially
friendly version. Not so. Admittedly, a fiercely unpopular decision
to shift away from OpenStack politically, but it was always on the
cards since Citrix acquired cloud.com last year and put the code
under a GNU GPL v3 license. Whilst CloudStack is now
under the preferred Apache 2.0 license, Citrix had
already set their stall out.

Sameer Dholakia, Citrix’s general manager of cloud platforms,
announced:

While other vendors will attempt to add cloud-like management
layers to their existing proprietary datacenter virtualization
products, we believe the biggest winners in the Cloud Era will be
clouds built on a platform that is designed from the ground up with
a true Amazon-style architecture, proven at scale in real
production clouds, compatible with the Amazon architecture and
fully committed to open source.

With the significant momentum CloudStack has gained over the
past year, it is the only cloud platform on the market that even
comes close to meeting these requirements. This move will position
CloudStack to become the de facto industry standard platform for
cloud computing.”

RedMonk co-founder Stephen O’Grady believes it is a key moment
saying: 

Whether it’s enterprises building internal private clouds or
managed service providers adding cloud services, interest in cloud
stacks is growing by the day. CloudStack’s unique combination of an
Apache-licensed open source project offering Amazon compatibility
is likely to pique the interest of partners and customers
alike.”

The Amazon hook-up is definitely the clincher for enterprises
here, and even though this move may displease some, we expect
CloudStack to become a huge player for IaaS now this move has been
made. And if you didn’t already think Apache was at the epicentre
of cloud, then think again.

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