Apache CloudStack 4.0 Expands the Open Source Cloud

by Sean Michael Kerner

Citrix is no longer the only player in CloudStack as Apache processes take hold.

After months of incubation, the first official release of the Apache CloudStack project is now available. In April of this year, Citrix formally walked away from its Project Olympus OpenStack efforts and instead donated CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation.

The Apache CloudStack 4.0 release continues the Cloud.com technology that Citrix acquired in July of 2011, in terms of both technology and perhaps more importantly, community contributions.

In moving to Apache, the CloudStack project has come to embrace the processes and procedures of the Apache Way. The project also needed to re-license code from the open source GPL license to the open source Apache license.

Apache CloudStack committer Joe Brockmeier told ServerWatch that the re-licensing process wasn't so much about involving lawyers as it was about ensuring proper code dependencies.

In terms of the core project, there are some new features in the CloudStack 4.0 release, although Brockmeier noted there is nothing radical in terms of enhancements.

"The core of the software is not a huge change," Brockmeier said. "There have been a number of features brought in by third parties and some features that were developed by Citrix." CloudStack

He added that for existing users of CloudStack 3.0, companies won't have to retrain staff to use the system.

While Citrix remains deeply involved in the Apache CloudStack project, it no longer is the only contributor. Brockmeier noted that today there are at least nine comitters on the project from outside of Citrix. In contrast, prior to the Apache move, there were no external comitters.

As an Apache project, the relationship between Citrix and the underlying community effort will be similar to the one between Red Hat and Fedora. In that setup, the community release is the upstream, which is then picked up for enterprise support and hardening.

Brockmeier stressed however that Citrix doesn't have have an open pass when it comes to the Apache CloudStack community.

"Just because you work for Citrix doesn't mean you can walk into the project and get commit access," Brockmeier said. "Anyone that works for Citrix that wants commit access actually has to earn it and has be voted on by the project management committee, and not all those folks work for Citrix."


One of the primary criticisms Citrix leveled at OpenStack last year was that it wasn't fully supportive of Amazon AWS APIs.  By including Cloudbridge technology in the CloudStack 4.0 release, Citrix has made a key contribution to ensure that its AWS compatibility is even easier to use than before.

"What Cloudbridge does is roll the AWS and S3 compatibility directly into CloudStack so you don't have a separate package that you need to install," Brockmeier said. "It's basically just there waiting to be turned on if you set up CloudStack."

Now that the first release of CloudStack has been made under the auspices of Apache, discussion will turn to the process and timing for the next release. Brockmeier noted that conversations will be had over the next few weeks to determine if and when the project moves to a time-based release cycle.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Nov 7th 2012
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