Almost a year ago Citrix scored a coup when it’s CloudStack product (which itself was formerly the cloud operating system known as cloud.com) was elevated to the cloud platform of the Apache foundation. It was all the more interesting sine Cloud.com were founding members of OpenStack and the war of words between CloudStack (in particular it’s colorful marketing head Peder Ulander) and the OpenStack community has given those of us in the gallery much to chuckle about since then – if nothing else it’s been great popcorn fodder.

While it’s fair to say that CloudStack had the high ground early on in terms of on-the-ground adoption with enterprises, it’s also fair to say that OpenStack, with the massive buy in from big names vendors like HP, IBM and Dell, won out on the attention measures. OpenStack was, from a technical perspective, a little rough around the edges 12 months ago but it’s fair to say that the past year has seen it come along nicely and the upcoming OpenStack summit will no doubt be a showcase of enterprise adoption (disclosure – OpenStack is covering my T&E to attend the OpenStack summit in Portland and as part of the summit I have written a general open cloud report for the foundation). Much of the criticism that OpenStack proponents have been able to level at CloudStack has focused on its apparently limited contributor base – in their minds, a project with support from essentially only one company is never going to get the traction it needs to truly become an accepted standard.

Which is why the announcement that the Apache Software Foundation is promoting CloudStack to a top level project next week is so important – to qualify as a TLP, an initiative needs to have proven a well developed community, strong governance and, by definition, widespread adoption.

According to Chip Childers, Vic President of Apahe CloudStack, the foundation’s work since adoption has focused on growing a strong community around the code and ensuring the governance is robust. As a thinly veiled criticism of some previous dramatic and unhappy happenings in the OpenStack community, Childers went on to say that:

…we’ve managed to build a diverse, friendly and very open community around CloudStack. New participants receive a really warm welcome and we  make sure that all contributors are on an equal footing, whether they are writing code or helping with any other aspect of the project. Anybody thinking of getting involved in the project would quickly find what a great community we are

In terms of how the project actually works – Apache CloudStack software is released under the Apache License v2.0, and is overseen by a self-selected team of active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC) guides the Project’s day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases. Apache CloudStack source code, documentation, mailing lists, and related resources are available at http://cloudstack.apache.org/.

The key thing here though is just how wise the developer community to CloudStack is. The foundation reports that as of today the initiative boasts some 440 developers and, in the most important metric of all, only 32% of those developers are from Citrix. That’s a positive statistic and should give the CloudStack fans cause for cheers. While CloudStack has some loyal customer however, it’s hard to see how they’ll manage to push through the OpenStack juggernaut – time will tell how that all shakes down…

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.

5 Comments
  • Ben,

    Patience is the key to reporting timely “Announcements”… 🙁

  • This is good news for CloudStack as it has not been a year since it was accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an incubator project. I agree that having Citrix developers representing just 32 percent of the 440 contributors is a good sign regarding the health of the CloudStack project. OpenStack gets a lot of publicity for the sheer numbers of contributors and commercial sponsors. However, CloudStack and the Citrix branded CloudPlatform may be able to make good technical progress without nearly the same amount of friction and sharp elbows that have been part of OpenStack since Rackspace handed over governance to the OpenStack Foundation a year ago. CloudStack may never “take over” the position held by OpenStack, but it is good to have multiple “cloudstacks” to choose from.

  • Chip Childers |

    Ben,

    Thanks for the good analysis.

    Just to be clear on one point: You state “As a thinly veiled criticism of some previous dramatic and unhappy happenings in the OpenStack community…” before my quote about the CloudStack community. I’d like to be clear about something: I’m from the US North East, so I don’t “thinly veil” anything. It’s just not in my nature, and frankly I wasn’t contrasting our project with OpenStack at all.

    I believe in the power of open source to fuel the ongoing industry transition to utility-based consumption of compute services, and believe that we should support all related projects to that end.

    Take my quote at face value please. No need to insert meaning that isn’t there.

    Again, thanks for the good write-up.

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