OpenStack vs. CloudStack: The beginning of the open-source cloud wars

As clouds become more important, high-tech companies, and the open-source clouds they support, are coming into conflict.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The open-source cloud conflict got started in earnest last week when Citrix, formerly an OpenStack cloud supporter, announced that it was reviving its own CloudStack cloud under the Apache Foundation. Today, OpenStack finally announced that its Foundation was really launching with industry heavy-weights AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat, and SUSE as Platinum Members, Let the open-source cloud wars begin!

So, what's the conflict here? Simple, like open-source Eucalyptus, Citrix CloudStack's application programming interface (API) provides compatibility with Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), the world's most popular public cloud. The OpenStack Foundation members would like businesses not to use EC2, thank you very much, but to use public clouds built by its major vendors—such as Dell, HP and IBM—instead.

For example, before the OpenStack Foundation announcement, HP had already said that it would start offering its HP Converged Cloud. This “hardened” OpenStack service targets enterprises, service providers and small- and medium-sized business (SMBs). You can expect to see similar offerings from the other big hardware/service companies.

The name of their game will be to try to offer corporate customers vertical software/hardware cloud stacks. Citrix, on the other hands, hopes that EC2 customers will use their CloudStack for their private clouds while using the EC2 APIs to integrate with Amazon's public cloud.

And, who will be the winner? It's much too early to tell. That said, I do see the cloud wars shaping up to be a battle between the OpenStack partners and Amazon and Citrix. I suspect we'll see other would-be enterprise cloud competitors, Eucalyptus and Microsoft with Azure, scrambling to stay relevant.

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