Back in the dark ages, and by dark ages I mean about five years ago, a seed of an idea was conjured up jointly between NASA and Rackspace. That idea was to offer an open source cloud computing operating system. The idea (at the time) being that OpenStack would enable organizations to build their own cloud computing infrastructures to achieve “AWS-like” services but within their own private context. Of course, OpenStack grew, morphed and changed, and had its fair share of challenges. But it’s still going strong and being used extensively in production.

What is less well known than the history of OpenStack, however, is that there was another open source cloud operating system that has existed since back in 2008. Yes, around five years before OpenStack was conjured up, an almost forgotten startup called VMOps came up with a project. VMOps was founded by founded by Sheng Liang, Shannon Williams, Alex Huang, Will Chan, and Chiradeep Vittal, some of whom would go on to have a long and interwoven part to play in the most modern approaches towards infrastructure.

That cloud project was released, by the newly renamed company Cloud.com, in May 2010 as CloudStack. CloudStack was released under the GNU General Public License.

Cloud.com was acquired by Citrix in 2011, and the remainder of CloudStack’s code was released (again, under the GPLv3) in August 2011. Citrix released CloudStack 3.0 in early 2012. In April 2012, Citrix re-licensed CloudStack under the Apache Software License 2.0 (ASLv2) and submitted CloudStack to the Apache Incubator.

Fast forward to last year and, as so often happens when large companies make an acquisition, Citrix had decided that its focus wasn’t actually CloudStack (or the CloudStack-powered CloudPlatform) anymore and therefore decided to hock it off to the highest bidder. That bidder was a company that has a habit of buying distressed technology assets, generally for peanuts, and successfully commercializing them itself. Essentially doing what those large vendors promised to do, but didn’t. Accelerite was that company, and people wondered what the deal would mean for CloudStack.

The backstory: The best products don’t always win

The VHS versus Beta story is often held up as a perfect example of how the best product doesn’t always win. Betamax was a better video standard, but commercial drivers meant that VHS decimated the Betamax opportunity and VHS became the video standard for years.

An analogous situation existed between OpenStack and CloudStack. Without getting into a he said/she said argument with my friend Jonathan Bryce, executive director of The OpenStack Foundation, many people suggested that, at least in the early days, CloudStack was actually a better product than OpenStack – more ready for real deployments.

But OpenStack caught the attention of investors, large existing vendors, and the technology media and meant that CloudStack was largely unknown. While a fairly rough measure of actual awareness, the Google trends plot showing relative OpenStack versus CloudStack attention is telling.

So, what has Accelerite been cooking up?

Because the product offering hasn’t had enough names in its history, Accelerite decided on another rename and Rovius Cloud, Accelerite’s enterprise hybrid cloud offering is now a hyper-flexible cloud operating system that can be deployed on commodity hardware, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) or traditional blade servers.

Unlike current open source, HCI and virtualization vendor-driven approaches to hybrid cloud deployment, Rovius Cloud is server, storage (SDS, NAS, SAN, All) and hypervisor (VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer) agnostic. Following its generally modus operandi of combining different parts of its portfolio to create “better together” platforms, the Ops Manager at the heart of the platform provides resource discovery, integrated infrastructure monitoring, log analytics, performance monitoring and capacity planning.

Rovius is very much leveraging the current theme of hybrid cloud and is leading with a federation message – Rovius federates on-premises resources with public clouds including AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

Managed Services Deployment Option 

As mentioned before, Rovius Cloud can be deployed on-premises or in third-party data centers. As such, it enables managed service providers and other channel partners to offer a product pre-configured and packaged and (theoretically) allowing them to offset (at least for a time) the risk of domination by the public clouds. The company sees this as a tool to really resolve the issues that enterprise are facing today. Says Rajesh Ramchandani, general manager of cloud services and platforms for Accelerite:

We developed Rovius Cloud specifically to address the pain we saw enterprises experiencing when trying to deploy and manage hybrid clouds at scale. Existing approaches were both too limited in their capabilities and rigid in their implementation requirements. With Rovius Cloud, users get the scalability, monitoring and management functionality they need with the flexibility and simplicity they have been missing. It’s a clear win for IT, end users and cloud providers.

MyPOV

CloudStack is a good product, and organizations who have used it since the early days rave about it. It hasn’t gathered sufficient momentum to deliver continual innovation, however, and hence, whereas OpenStack has ducked and weaved as new approaches (containers, Kubernetes, PaaS) have come to fruition, CloudStack has been far more measured and kept to its original value proposition.

Some might say this is a bad thing and means that CloudStack has been left behind, while others contend that this focus has in fact been beneficial to the project and its users. Your perspective on that really depends on whether your ambition is simply to create an infrastructure resource that is more flexible than what you currently have, or whether you’re looking to fundamentally rethink the way your IT operations works. As is often the case, your mileage may vary.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply