Battle of the stacks

Apache CloudStack takes on OpenStack with first open source release

Chris Mayer

CloudStack’s fourth version set to be unveiled in September, just days from Folsom’s arrival

With OpenStack garnering much of the press attention in recent weeks, some might have forgotten that their open source infrastructure competitor, Cloudstack is in the midst of regeneration.

After original proprietors Citrix donated the project to the open source foundation back in April (not long after the 3.0 release), CloudStack has been transitioning from a closed-doors project to one compliant with Apache licenses.

Within the Apache Incubator, the focus has been on ensuring the general project infrastructure is in place. This includes things such as new mailing lists, the obligatory wiki and a Review Board to cast judgement on the project.

Whilst this doesn’t seem quite enough to garner a full 4.0 release – after all, a few bugs squashed does not an integer release make – it’s presumably designed to reflect project’s the change of hands (or a clever PR move, depending on your level of cynicism).

Something of this scale takes time and it’s not surprising to hear that the release date for the cloud orchestrator has been pushed back by two weeks to accommodate for the major shift.

Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, a member of the CloudStack evangelism team at Citrix assured readers on his blog that the project was progressing in the correct manner however:

 In short, it’s pretty typical for the first release from an incubating project to take a while to bootstrap. Once that process is finished, the next release (and the one after that, etc.) should happen much more quickly and on a regular schedule.

He added in that more time is needed “testing to ensure that upgrades from the CloudStack 3.0.2 release to the 4.0 release work,” which is fair enough. A new tentative schedule for the upcoming weeks has been released:

  • Stability and bugfix work continues until Friday, August 31st.
  • 1st Release Candidate Build on Friday, August 31st.
  • Testing and additional RCs through Friday, September 14th.
  • Proposed release build on Monday, September 17th.
  • Voting on proposed release from Monday, September 17th through Monday, September 24th.
  • Release Announcement on Wednesday, September 26th.

It’s interesting to note that Cloudstack’s scheduled release announcement pips OpenStack’s Folsom release by 24 hours. Intentional? Perhaps.

Whilst we’re glad that the CloudStack community of developers ( and Citrix, who are still playing a key part in the transition) are taking their time over such important things, we can’t help but think that the rapid pace of the OpenStack might overwhelm it when it finally does arrive.

Both tackle the area of building private clouds, but there’s a fundamental difference between the two, in that CloudStack keeps close to the plethora of Amazon options and hypervisors, whilst the OpenStack contributors prefer to strike out alone with its own distinct API.

As Zenoss Cloud Technical Evangelist, Floyd Strimling points out in our chat from a few months back, the move across to Apache doesn’t necessarily guarantee success for CloudStack, but it does give them huge potential to “disrupt the cloud market”. The real acid test comes once Apache CloudStack 4.0 hits in September – only then will we be able to see how interested clients are. It will all come down to who puts out the most compelling commercialised versions based on the codebases, and currently, only OpenStack compete here. Keep your eyes peeled come the end of September.


Image courtesy of uwdigitalcollections

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