Discussion on the state of cloud computing and open source software that helps build, manage, and deliver everything-as-a-service.
CloudStack, The Best Kept Secret in Cloud Computing
Today the CloudStack project is announcing one of the most significant updates to the project to date. Since Cloud.com was launched in May 2010, the CloudStack project has lived quietly in the shadow of the Cloud.com
To add to the confusion internally we often used the company name interchangeably with project name, CloudStack. Unfortunately in having the great success with the company we have unintentionally have obscured an exception piece of open source cloud computing software. More than 60 large-scale production clouds have been deployed using the open source CloudStack, including GoDaddy, GreenQloud, KT, Nokia, Tata Communications and Zynga.
Also we have pledged our support for OpenStack that currently has quite a bit of feature overlap with CloudStack. In time we will combine code and features to help improve both products but not at the cost of disrupting our current users.
100% Open Source
Last week we merged the final bits of commercial CloudStack code into the open source repositories. In the past we maintained two codebases one for paying customers and one for our open source users. Going forward there will be one open source code base. This allows us to remove redundancies and focus on making one excellent product. With this code merge we have also added a couple of new features and we will be advertising a number of lesser-known capabilities of CloudStack.
Cross Hypervisor Support
With CloudStack you can use multiple hypervisors, proprietary or open source (VMware, XenServer, Xen Cloud Platform, KVM or OracleVM). Not only can you use whatever hypervisor you want but also you can use multiple hypervisors in a highly available cloud computing instance.
As the most popular virtualization technology many if not most IT organizations already use VMware. VMware’s cloud migration path is vCloud, which is well respected, but it’s also expensive and proprietary. By using CloudStack, VMware customers not only break free from the proprietary costs that VMware imposes with its platform, but they also gain the added flexibility and control associated with leveraging what we believe to be the best open source cloud platform available.
Additionally, CloudStack eases the financial impact associated with the “vTax,” the term used by many in the cloud and virtualization communities to refer to the latest update to the VMware vSphere 5 licensing model that added costs to customers’ existing cloud and virtualization implementations. Since CloudStack can support multiple hypervisors in the same cloud, VMware customers can mix and match their virtualization technologies under the same cloud environment and optimize their costs, as well as the business value.
This release also provides support for Oracle VM a commercial virtualization technology from Oracle that is based on the Xen hypervisor. Once again CloudStack gives you the choice to use this hypervisor or some combination of OracleVM and other hypervisors.
Bare Metal Provisioning
Another feature recently available in CloudStack is bare metal provisioning. This capability allows users to set up bare metal hosts in a CloudStack cloud and manage them with the CloudStack Management Server. Bare metal hosts can be set up and managed in the same cloud as virtual instances. Bare metal hosts do not run hypervisor software. It is not required to have an operating system installed on the machine in advance. The operating system is provisioned to the physical host using PXE Boot when a host is provisioned from the bare metal template. In the current version of CloudStack, bare metal provisioning is supported only with the direct untagged network model.
Commitment to OpenStack
Another area that often causes confusion is the CloudStack commitment to OpenStack, Citrix is working to converge features from CloudStack and OpenStack with minimal disruption to our existing user base. We continue to work diligently on OpenStack with 21 Citrix employees contributing to the progress of the project. In the near term we will work on things like integrating OpenStack Storage (Swift) with CloudStack and working to allow the CloudStack Management server and slick web interface to manage OpenStack instances. Eventually we hope to get to a consistent use of OpenStack in the “CloudStack Stack” with additional value-added features provided by the CloudStack project.
Download the CloudStack Preview Release
Today the CloudStack community manager David Nalley has published the new preview release of CloudStack with these new features. This preview release is not to be used to upgrade previous installs it’s currently only for testing and POC purposes but we will be very shortly releasing a stable version of CloudStack with the code merge and new features. With your feedback this will make CloudStack one of the best solutions for building a cloud.
The preview release is linked from the CloudStack Download page.