When the open source OpenStack cloud management framework first launched, there appeared to be a lot of overlap with an open source CloudStack project that Citrix took over when it acquired Cloud.com way back in 2011. Ever since then there has been a fair amount of sniping going back and forth between proponents of the two open source cloud management frameworks.
Citrix today announced it wants to put an end to the war of words between the two camps by formally becoming a member of the OpenStack Foundation.
Nand Mulchandani, vice president of product marketing for the Cloud Platforms Group at Citrix, said that over the years the scope of the OpenStack project has expanded well beyond the ambitions of the CloudStack project, which he said is designed to provide a fairly simply to standup cloud management framework. In fact, Mulchandani noted that Citrix has already been incorporating OpenStack components into some of its offerings for years now.
To that end, Mulchandani says the first two products that Citrix will now have officially certified for OpenStack environments is the XenServer virtualization platform and the NetScaler application delivery controller. The XenServer support is particularly noteworthy for cloud service providers that standardized on the Xen virtual machine because OpenStack itself is optimized for Kernel-based virtual machines that were initially created by Red Hat (RHT). Support for Xen means that many cloud service providers that want to apply OpenStack to their environments don’t necessarily have to do as much engineering work themselves or replace Xen with KVM virtual machines.
Mulchandani said Citrix currently has about 250 customers using CloudStack, the majority of which are cloud service providers based in Europe and Japan. He said that unlike rivals such as Red Hat and VMware that are trying to use distributions of OpenStack to lock customers into a particular hypervisor platform, Citrix itself has no plans to provide a distribution of OpenStack of its own. Instead, Citrix will opt to extend OpenStack distributions wherever it finds them, while continuing to incorporate OpenStack components into its own products whenever appropriate.
At a time when the OpenStack community is trying to apply pressure against proprietary management frameworks used by cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), having the open source community appear to be split concerning how the management of cloud computing should evolve is at best counter-productive for the open source community as a whole. If nothing else, having Citrix contributing to the OpenStack Foundation should considerably reduce a level of noise in the open source community that for all intents and purposes at this point has become little more than a distraction.