Citrix touts 'Amazon-style' CloudStack

Miya Knights News
14 Feb, 2012

First release under proprietary brand increases integration and builds portfolio and community

Citrix has announced the first full release of CloudStack, the open source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform it acquired last year.

The release of CloudStack 3 introduces support for XenServer 6.0 virtualisation software and tighter integration at both the hypervisor level and with Citrix’s NetScaler application delivery controller.

Peder Ulander, vice president of product marketing for Citrix cloud platforms group claimed that, while a lot of the news is around XenServer and NetScaler integration, CloudStack remains "100-percent open source" under version 3 of the General Public Licence (GPLv3).

“There are a number of additional enhancements that were made to the core,” he said. “Additionally, customers do not need XenServer or NetScaler to build/run their cloud and can take the OSS [open source software] CloudStack 3 and run it on the technology of their choice.”

Four of the top five world’s largest public clouds in production (Amazon, Rackspace, GoGrid, Softlayer) already use XenServer or Xen as the virtualisation platform. Citrix is asserting that its Xen IaaS integration will increase levels of manageability, security, multi-tenancy and virtual switching integration – hence its claim that CloudStack 3 can “bring the power of Amazon-style clouds to customers of all sizes,” by easing the management of tens of thousands of virtual machines (VMs).

The new features Ulander highlighted, and enabled through the Citrix integration work, include the ability to configure hypervisor networking, storage and security parameters across collections of VMs and data centres, with bare-metal provisioning of XenServer.

The release also introduces what Citrix calls “networking-as-a-service” (NaaS) through support of Citrix NetScaler SDX and VDX application acceleration and delivery appliances and further integration with its other cloud networking products, CloudBridge and CloudGateway.

In order to increase cloud management automation levels, Citrix has also built in a network services catalogue that it said would allow service providers to upsell network services through the creation of custom catalogues of network service options.

Alongside a redesigned user interface to enable self-service administration, advanced orchestration and automation in order to speed IT services delivery, CloudStack 3 includes support promised last August for Swift, the OpenStack object-storage technology for creating access to redundant, scalable object storage using standardised server clusters, storing petabytes of data.

The vendor also launched a Citrix Cloud Community Programme, which introduces over 2,200 products and services verified to work with Citrix Virtual Cloudsducts, giving partners a route into this market.

Ulander added: “CloudStack is a fraction of the cost of the competitors in the space – seven times cheaper than vCloud, and 50 percent cheaper than Abiquo, Eucalyptus and Nimbula. All of these technologies still require the purchase of an underlying virtualisation platform, so add that in and the savings are even more dramatic, as CloudStack also integrates XenServer, providing support and maintenance on that platform.”

Clive Longbottom, founder and business process facilitation service director of analyst Quocirca, commented that Citrix was trying to increase the reach and power behind CloudStack.

“The biggest problem with cloud computing at the moment is that it is all so different, and the hoped-for commonality across different cloud offerings just isn’t there,” he told Virtual Clouds.

“As an alternative to Amazon, though, it is still valid and good – but CloudStack’s future is not around it being FOSS [free and open source], nor in that it is being an Amazon alternative – it is all down to how well Citrix can position it, message it and implement it through itself and its partners.”

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