When Citrix Systems submitted its CloudStack solution to the Apache Software Foundation -- a popular home for open source projects -- plenty of folks took notice. The Citrix CloudStack effort aims to accelerate "open source in the cloud era." The big question: Can the Citrix CloudStack effort steal momentum from OpenStack (another fast-growing open source cloud platform)?
I must concede: I'm not sure CloudStack and OpenStack belong in the same sentence right now.
On the one hand, more than 100 technology companies and cloud services providers have lined up to support OpenStack. Many of those vendors -- Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Rackspace -- will be on hand for an OpenStack Design Summit and Conference in April.
Here Comes Citrix CloudStack
But on the other hand, Citrix is a leader in virtualization and the CloudStack push with Apache seems like a legitimate, big-time move. It's safe to expect Citrix to offer more CloudStack details at the Citrix Synergy 2012 conference (May 9-11, San Francisco). Plus, Citrix will sponsor two CloudStack Design Summits within the year.
And Citrix claims more than 50 ISVs and technology partners are backing CloudStack. Big-name backers include Alcatel-Lucent, BT Global Services, GoDaddy and Juniper Networks.
Still, I get the feeling that the biggest names in IT remain firmly committed to OpenStack. It's nice to see Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper in the CloudStack camp, but Cisco is in the OpenStack camp. That's one of many examples I could mention.
Why Channel Partners Should Care
Whether you're a VAR or a cloud consultant, the CloudStack vs. OpenStack discussion is an important one.
Over time, it's a safe bet customers will want to easily migrate applications from private clouds to public clouds. Moreover, customers may want to move their applications from one cloud services provider to another.
Open cloud standards -- involving such options as CloudStack, OpenStack and Eucalyptus -- can potentially allow cloud integrators and VARs to fulfill customers' migration needs.
Still, it's early in the cloud standards wars. Some open cloud standards will stand the test of time. Others will fade away. I'm most familiar with OpenStack's efforts to date. But Citrix got my attention in a big way with CloudStack today.