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Citrix Walks Away from OpenStack, Moves to Apache CloudStack

By Sean Kerner (Send Email)
Posted April 3, 2012


In May 2011, Citrix announced an effort called Project Olympus to provide a commercial implementation of the open source OpenStack cloud platform. Less than a year later, Citrix is killing Project Olympus in favor of its own open source effort called CloudStack.

Citrix acquired CloudStack as part of its acquisition of Cloud.com in July 2011. In an effort to make CloudStack more open, Citrix is now moving the effort to the Apache Software Foundation.

Sameer Dholakia, group VP and GM of Cloud Platforms at Citrix, explained during a press conference, that it is Citrix's view that when it comes to cloud technologies, being open is the key. Dholakia admitted that focusing on CloudStack and moving away from OpenStack is a departure from its original plans for building on top of OpenStack. According to Dholakia, the OpenStack path was not viable due to organizational issues and technical maturity concerns.

Dholakia also claimed that OpenStack does not support the Amazon APIs, which would make for a compatibility challenge. In his view, OpenStack is interested only in establishing its own set of cloud APIs as opposed to working with existing industry specifications. OpenStack executives, however, disagree.

"We have had Amazon compatibility since the beginning," Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the Project Policy Board for OpenStack told InternetNews.com. "In the most recent OpenStack release, there were about 150 contributions to the Amazon APIs from 24 developers. So it's definitely a part of OpenStack that is alive and well."

Although Citrix is abandoning its own full commercial implementation of OpenStack, it isn't actually leaving all of OpenStack all together. CloudStack, at Apache or otherwise, includes the OpenStack Swift object storage project as one of its key components.

Dholakia noted that Citrix will continue to participate in OpenStack efforts and will still take code when appropriate to include in CloudStack.

Citrix does, however, have an issue with the organizational structure that OpenStack is headed toward. OpenStack is currently in the process of forming an open source foundation to govern the project and push it forward.

"Citrix does not believe that the establishment of a foundation is a trivial matter; it's a task and risk that is unnecessary, particularly when there is something like Apache," Dholakia said.

The reason OpenStack is headed toward its own foundation is because of its own unique community that is looking to grow both code and the broader community of companies that participate in the effort. OpenStack's Bryce noted that although Apache is a great place for code, when it comes to building out a cloud operating system that will power compute, storage and networking, there must be something more.

"You need to have a broad coalition of companies that are really committed to putting both developer and money resources to push the project forward," Bryce said. "It's something that is a foundational piece, and it needs to have tight integration with a lot of companies, and we felt that it would be easier and more effective to have in a structure that is completely organized around OpenStack."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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