Citrix CloudStack to Apache Changes the OpenStack Equation = Brilliant!

Today, Citrix has forever changed the technology landscape and has sent shockwaves throughout the Cloud ecosystem.  After reportedly spending in excess of $200 million for Cloud.com, Citrix has entrusted CloudStack’s future to the Apache Foundation and the broader open source community. It is a testament to the leadership of Citrix and the power of the Apache Foundation; CloudStack will join the likes of Hadoop, Cassandra, Hive, and more as a full open source project.

Citrix has been on a mission to promote open and interoperable Cloud computing.  They have been active within the OpenStack community, arguably their biggest rival, and have maintained a truly heterogeneous offering supporting the likes of VMware, Microsoft, Xen, and more.  Additionally, Citrix has maintained an aggressive roadmap while releasing stable and mature code to both their community and commercial customers.

While OpenStack has garnered much of the hype within the industry, questions remain regarding its governance model and foundation as well as the ability for its rival members to cooperate for the common good of the project.  Meanwhile, OpenStack must be commercialized with the likes of Piston Cloud, Nebula, Rackspace, and recent entrant Cloudscaling, seeking to do just that.

The real question still remains: does CloudStack and the Apache Foundation change the equation and offer a unique alternative to OpenStack?  More importantly, does this move by Citrix impact the likes of Red Hat, IBM, and maybe Oracle?  In a recent blog post, I surmised that Red Hat must dance with OpenStack, but perhaps they will now look toward CloudStack instead.  After all, the Apache Foundation offers a proven governance model and Red Hat has an innate comfort with Java via their JBoss solution.

In any case, the big winner is Citrix along with anyone looking to build an open Cloud.  Sadly, with a winner comes a loser and that may be reserved for OpenStack, on a smaller scale, and VMware’s proprietary vCloud, on a larger scale.  VMware must now contend with multiple open source projects aimed at providing high quality and scalable software without vendor-lock-in; a scary proposition for any proprietary software vendor.

This is a great day for Citrix, the Apache Foundation, and Cloud computing as a whole.  In my estimation, there is only one word to describe this news…brilliant!



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