Most significantly, the CloudStack 3 services, code-named "Acton," have been more tightly integrated with Citrix branded products and services, notably XenServer, Netscaler, CloudBridge and CloudGateway. CloudStack allows customers -- mostly service providers -- to build clouds using their own hardware.
In spite of its Xen focus, Citrix claims it will continue to adhere to the former Cloud.com's vendor agnostic and hypervisor agnostic methof of building public and private clouds. To that end, CloudStack 3 continues to offer support for KVM, OVM, vSphere and Xen and Microsot Hyper-V support is planned in 2012, Citrix promises.
Yet, CloudStack 3 incorporates the company's recently released XenServer 6 and no doubt Citrix bills Xen as the preferred cloud computing platform of choice.
"Four of the top five world’s largest public clouds in production (Amazon, Rackspace, GoGrid, Softlayer) [are]leveraging XenServer or Xen as the virtualization platform of choice ... this unification brings unparalleled new levels of scale, manageability, security, multi-tenancy, and virtual switching integration that is currently unavailable in traditional enterprise virtualization solutions from other leading vendors," Citrix noted in its press release aout the beta, issued at Cloud Connect 2012 earlier this month.
Citrix also noted the integration with Netscaler, Cloudbridge and CloudGateway delivers Network-As-A-Service (NaaS) capability to cloud providers and sophisticated enterprises. "This brings virtual networking to a new level, ensuring increased security, performance and connectivity between public and private clouds that are delivered as integrated services within the platform," Citrix claims.
One Citrix cloud exec views the integration as an evolution to "Application Networking in the Cloud."
Aside from the integration with company's products, CloudStack 3 offers a redesigned user interface with significant self-administration tools for building, connecting and deploying clouds and also incorporates the new "CloudStack Swift object-storage technology for creating redundant, scalable object storage using clusters of standardized servers to store petabytes of accessible data."
Citrix previously announced the general availability of CloudStack 3 in Q4 of 2011 yet only the beta version is available now. The full production version is promised for Q1.
Citrix maintains that the CloudStack.org open source community has quadrupled in users since its acquisition of Cloud.com and that more than 25,000 cloud builders are members of CloudStack.org. Citrix also claims that CloudStack generates more than $1 billion in revenue for more than 85 large scale clouds.
One Cloud Stack customer, RightScale, views version 3's Swift support as a major step forward for cloud storage.
"Before, most customers were either using off cloud storage mechanisms in their CloudStack deployments, or using a public cloud storage engine, such as Simple Storage Service from Amazon or Cloud Files from Rackspace. Now, with Swift integration, customers will have the option to use their own storage with RightScale," wrote Rightscale' vice president of business development Bailey Caldwell.
After delivering CloudStack 3, Citrix and OpenStack members plan a 3.1 version of CloudStack code named "Bonita" which will tentatively offer support or VMware's vSphere 5, XenServer OpenvSwitch and Distributed vSwitch support for VMware.
CloudStack 3.2, code-named "Campo" and also expected in 2012, is hoped to include support for advanced cloud deployments, autoprovisioning network services, IPv6 and the ability to group multiple virtual machines for a single application, snapshot replication across availability zones and support or Microsoft Hyper-V. It is also aimed to include support for advanced VMware services including DRS and Storage vMotion.