Citrix Throws a Spanner in the Cloud Market, Submits CloudStack to Apache Foundation

Citrix has announced that it is submitting the popular CloudStack platform to Apache Foundation. This comes as a surprise as Citrix has acquired only last year by investing a few hundreds of millions of dollars! With this, Citrix is also dumping it’s own distribution of OpenStack called Project Olympus. This move has shaken the industry and the analysts. Till now, OpenStack enjoyed all the attention and is aiming to become the Open Source Cloud monopoly. Though Eucalyptus has been around for a while, it failed to garner as much industry support as OpenStack. With CloudStack moving to Apache Foundation’s stable, there comes a credible and serious open source Cloud offering which can be a true alternative to OpenStack. This announcement will certainly force Rackspace to relook at their strategy. Rackspace has been successful in rallying the bigwigs of the industry including NASA, AT&T, HP, Dell, NetApp, Akamai, SoftLayer and Internap around OpenStack with a hope to take Amazon Web Services head on. But the latest announcement from Citrix changes the whole equation!

There are interesting views emerging from the industry analysts. Krishnan Subramanian, Principal Analyst from Rishidot Research has brilliantly analyzed the impact this announcement may have on OpenStack. He thinks that this move in a way endorses the open source Cloud offerings and makes them much more potential alternatives. He also says that this will force OpenStack to innovate better, which will ultimately benefit the Cloud consumers.

Lydia Long, Research VP at Gartner says that Citrix stands to benefit from this move. According to her, customers who choose CloudStack will prefer to choose XenServer and buy commercial support from Citrix. She thinks that CloudStack is gaining better real world adoption than OpenStack and this move may not be looked as a failed attempt from Citrix to compete against OpenStack.

Randy Bias, CTO, CloudScaling wonders if Citrix did this under the pressure of justifying the return on investment from the expensive acquisition of He says that it is a welcome sign to see open source solutions becoming highly desirable for building open cloud infrastructure.

Overall, I personally believe that the community stands to gain from this move. Here is an analogy – Despite the presence of many commercial Java web containers, Apache Tomcat is the most preferred Java Web Container on the Internet. Apache already has made significant contributions in the Cloud space in the form of Hadoop, Hive, Mahout and other open source Big Data solutions. Will Apache CloudStack become the Tomcat of the Cloud world by offering a reliable Cloud management platform? Let’s wait and watch!

Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor,

Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He contributes to cloud related articles on A former employee of Microsoft and Amazon, Janakiram built a cloud consulting company that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is an analyst with GigaOM Research contributing to the Cloud related market research and analysis. He can be reached at