Cloud computing has become an integral part of IT for many organizations, and the competing open-source platforms are pushing for a role in advanced cloud management. The overarching goal of both CloudStack and OpenStack is to achieve logical cloud-layer management that presents numerous ways to control various workloads.
Let's dive into the latest and greatest from both players.
Compatible with hypervisors like KVM, vSphere, and XenServer, CloudStack is an open-source cloud management platform designed for creating, controlling, and deploying various cloud services. It already supports the Amazon AWS API model and many other APIs.
What's new: The new version, CloudStack 4.0.2, is the first stable release. Its achievements include improved security, hypervisor agnosticism, and advanced network-layer management.
What's good: Despite what you may have heard, the latest release of CloudStack is actually pretty nice. The deployment is really smooth, with one VM running the CloudStack Management Server and another acting as the actual cloud infrastructure. You could deploy the whole thing on one physical host.
The challenges: This first stable release of CloudStack is great, but it's really new -- four months old. Furthermore, there haven't been any major adopters of the platform yet. Even with these advancements, many have said that the monolithic architecture and installation process (though simplified) still require quite a bit of knowledge and time to deploy.
Who's using it: In July 2012, DataPipe said it was deploying its global cloud infrastructure on CloudStack. Its reasons for moving to the platform include:
- Paused VMs maintain machine state without compute charges.
- They can scale storage independent of compute.
- They can maintain one security zone across all regions.
- CloudStack enables access to the Hong Kong Economic Zone and Shanghai.
- It delivers additional cost savings because high-performance VMs require fewer computing resources.
In addition to DataPipe, there have been some small but still important CloudStack adopters. These include Shopzilla, SunGard (NYSE: SDS), CloudOps, Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), and WebMD Health.
The general consensus is that CloudStack, despite its rising popularity, still lives in the shadows of OpenStack. There are more organizations moving toward the CloudStack model, but there are still some adoption pains. This platform has just graduated from the Apache Incubation Program.
Managed by the OpenStack Foundation, this platform consists of multiple, interrelated stack-based projects. They all tie into one management interface to provide a cloud computing management platform.
What's new: OpenStack's adoption momentum has been very strong. The latest release of Havana touts improved performance around all major components in the stack. Furthermore, improved API controls allow for even easier cloud platform integration. The stack's networking component (Neutron) now enables users to leverage commodity hardware to create customized, pluggable backend architectures.
What's good: It's definitely a more mature product. More than 150 companies -- including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) (NYSE: AMD), Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) -- are contributing to development. It's seen as the leader in cloud platform management.
The challenges: Even with so much adoption and development, OpenStack is still challenging to deploy. In many cases, it needs to be managed from various command-line consoles. Eight different modular components -- Compute, Open Storage, Block Storage, Networking, Dashboard, Identity Service, Image server, and Amazon Web Services compatibility -- comprise the fragmented architecture.
Who's using it: This is an impressive and growing list. Jointly launched by NASA and Rackspace US Inc. (NYSE: RAX), OpenStack is utilized by such organizations as CERN, Yahoo, HP Public Cloud, and Red Hat OpenShift.
The struggle continues
The four biggest players in the market currently are OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus, and OpenNebula. Each is creating new ways for organizations to connect various cloud services. There's no doubt that OpenStack is leading the way right now. However, there is a lot of conversation and maturity happening within the CloudStack space, as well. Whatever the outcome, business IT will certainly benefit.