The industry is moving up the stack. We're migrating from a focus on Layer 1, physical, to Layer 7, applications.
Software is king in the future of IT--applications and services are what matter. Cloud is what we've
termed it for now, and when discussing cloud, open and standard are key discussions.
Open source is often touted,
as it gives IT environments control of their own code and a community of support. Open source also liberates customers from
licensing costs and provides customization and flexibility.
The world of open source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) has two prominent players: CloudStack
Both offer options for turning an IT infrastructure into a cloud
platform capable of quickly adapting to changing business requirements.
Both CloudStack and OpenStack offer an open source software platform for IaaS
Both systems will provide orchestration tools for provisioning services and managing network, compute and storage resources.
Both platforms come with significant backing from major IT vendors, and both have support for Amazon API calls, allowing for
hybrid clouds or Amazon-hosted private clouds. For a complete feature comparison of Amazon API compatibility, visit OpenStack.org.
OpenStack was originally developed by NASA and
Rackspace, and is also backed by the likes of IBM, HP and Dell. It's a series of three core projects that can be used to build
a private cloud platform: Compute, Object Storage and Image Service. These three projects provide the base for managing virtual
servers, storage and machine images. The core projects do not provide a self-service portal, but there are OpenStack-incubated
projects that do.
OpenStack provides full hypervisor support for KVM and Xen, with limited support for Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen
Server, VMware ESX and others. Persistent storage is provided using OpenStack Object Storage to manage the local disk on compute
node clusters. Lastly, machine images of various types (including Raw, VHD, VDI, VMDK and OVF) are managed through the OpenStack
OpenStack is deployed via the various core and incubator projects, and as such requires time and know how to get
up and running. The upside of this is that users can choose which projects/features are required. Various installation packages
are available for the separate projects.
With networking being a critical competent of private cloud architecture, the Quantum incubation
project is quite interesting. Quantum is an extensible API driven tool for building and managing networks.
CloudStack has been
around since 2009 and is implemented in more than 100 production clouds (including GoDaddy, KT and Tata). It's governed by
the Apache Software Foundation and supported by Citrix and about 50 other technology partners. Unlike OpenStack, the CloudStack
installation is very streamlined and well documented. The CloudStack open source code was acquired by Citrix with the Cloud.com
acquisition and released as open source.
This gives CloudStack a head start as it was already software being used
CloudStack is designed for massive scalability and centralized management, allowing tens of thousands of geographically
distributed servers to be managed from a single portal. CloudStack software works with a variety of hypervisors, including
Oracle VM, KVM, vSphere and Citrix XenServer, with Oracle VM being a key differentiator from CloudStack. Another differentiator
is support for bare-metal servers. Additionally, CloudStack supports multiple networking models, such as OpenFlow, VLANs and
Overall, CloudStack is better packaged for enterprise adoption, especially in environments not already familiar with
open source. Its installation packaging and customizable admin/end-user portal are designed for quick, scalable adoption of
the private cloud.
OpenStack, on the other hand, can be best described as a foundation or framework for cloud
computing, not nearly as polished.
That being said, OpenStack currently has a deeper pool of open source contributors
actively participating. CloudStack comes with a more refined product and heavy user adoption, while OpenStack comes with a
strong set of contributors.
Cloud.com and Apache
and Cloud Stack...it's all coming together...in the new Cloud 2.0
The cloud strategy used by Citrix
Systems (CTXS) is showing signs of coming together, analysts
a year after buying open-source software firm Cloud.com for an estimated $160 million, Citrix seems well-positioned as it
and rivals square off to set key cloud computing standards, analysts say.
Cloud software runs on computer servers in corporate data centers.
The servers dish out data to branch offices that connect to data centers as well as to wireless devices used by staff and
recently donated its open-source programming code, now called CloudStack, to the Apache Software Foundation. Ties with that
foundation, an influential engineering group, should help Citrix compete in the cloud market, analysts say.
Citrix has launched a business strategy called
Project Avalon that's linked to its cloud computing push. Project Avalon aims at integrating and updating Citrix's current
server, desktop and application networking products into a package that can be sold to corporate IT departments deploying
new private clouds.
One key for Citrix is that its CloudStack software moves computing workloads to Amazon Web Services, the arm of online
retailer Amazon.com (AMZN) and by far the
biggest provider of public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service. Companies rent computer servers from Amazon for about 8 cents
per hour via the Internet.
While AWS is the 800-pound gorilla in the public cloud, Citrix's traditional foe has
been VMware (VMW). Its "virtualization"
software is widely used in corporate data centers and private clouds. Virtualization software lets computers run multiple
software applications and operating systems on the same machine, creating multiple "virtual" computers.
VMware and Citrix are
racing to improve their software for cloud computing environments, analysts say. With the CloudStack software platform, Citrix
has the right stuff as corporate America invests in next-generation data centers, says Peder Ulander, vice president of product
marketing at Citrix.
"The reality is there is going to be consolidation and dropouts in this space," Ulander said. "When
I look at the competition, at Citrix we're really focused on riding the open-source momentum. Amazon (compatibility) is an
important part of our business, and we focus on both private and public cloud. In the end, for us it is about competing against
the VMware empire."
Shares in Citrix have climbed nearly 30% in 2012. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimate Citrix to report Q2
profit minus items of 59 cents a share, up 3.5% from the year-earlier quarter, on revenue of $613.5 million, up 15.6%.
VMware, roughly 80%
owned by data storage system maker EMC (EMC), rakes in nearly twice the revenue of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix. Citrix's roots are in selling software
that provides remote access to desktop computers using Microsoft's operating system. Citrix's ties to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft
are getting stronger as competition heats up, says Citigroup analyst Walter Pritchard.
"Citrix has a close history of working with Microsoft to extend
the Windows platform," he wrote in a report. "The Microsoft partnership is as strong as ever and Citrix is becoming
more strategic in Redmond as VMware grows."
While some analysts have questioned how much success Microsoft is having with its Azure
cloud data storage service, Citrix's Ulander says Microsoft will be a top cloud player.
"We believe there's going to be three
platforms that drive cloud adoption," said Ulander, formerly the chief marketing officer of Cloud.com. "VMware is
going to be successful, because of the large footprint of server virtualization. You also can't count out the installed base
of Microsoft and Azure.
"Then I think there will be an open-source leader. We're in a strong position to turn out as that leader, though
there are other (contenders), like Eucalyptus, Nimbula and (Rackspace-led) OpenStack."
Citrix aims to get an edge on VMware by making
CloudStack's open-source software freely available. Citrix had been aligned with Rackspace's
(RAX) similar OpenStack initiative, which
has been joined by some 150 companies. But Citrix backed away from OpenStack and then offered its CloudStack software to the
Forrester analyst James Staten says CloudStack is ahead of OpenStack.
"Citrix has an open-source solution that's already commercially
available," he said. "Associating with the Apache (software developers) community is going to help them take it
forward. Citrix has been very focused on winning (customer) accounts. A lot of the battleground is in private cloud deployments."