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June 07, 2013

OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus Spar in 'Stack Wars'

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus are the clear contenders as the open source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) stacks most tapped into for building enterprise private clouds. But the question remains: Is one really better than the other?

Clearly there are technical differences between the three open source stacks, but all are attractive for the same reasons: low cost point of entry and the prospect of application portability. But while many industry experts have rendered CloudStack the frontrunner, the definition of private cloud and statistics about the rate at which enterprises are deploying and taking advantage of private clouds have been difficult to pin down, pointed out a recent Network World (News - Alert) article.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Developed by Rackspace (News - Alert) and NASA, OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage and networking resources throughout a data center, managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while enabling users to provision resources through a Web interface.

Gartner (News - Alert) analyst Aneel Lakhani said that while he wouldn’t pick one stack over the other as an ultimate winner, he did say that having three open source cloud stack options bodes well for one being the dominant force.

“Having three open source cloud stack options jockeying for position as the best one out there does bode well for one of them getting to widespread adoption in the enterprise in the future,” said Lakhani, a research director for virtualization and cloud at Gartner.

The OpenStack open source cloud software project is only two and a half years old, but it has already attracted the active participation of more than 200 companies and 6,000 software developers, Randy Bias, chief technology officer of Cloudscaling, recently pointed out.

“Critical functionality is absent from raw OpenStack. New deployments do not appear to be growing as fast as the community itself,” Bias said. “Questions remain as to how the newly formed OpenStack Foundation will govern itself and encourage participation from vendors and community members.”

However, IT decision makers must ask the right questions at the outset of their OpenStack deployment projects to avoid disappointment, Bias advised.

As for CloudStack, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), an all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced earlier this year that Apache CloudStack graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the project’s community and products have been “well-governed” under the ASF’s process and principles.

Apache CloudStack is a software suite for creating IaaS cloud computing in private-, public-, and hybrid cloud environments, underpinning production clouds with more than 30,000 physical nodes, in geo-distributed environments.

“The Apache CloudStack offering also has strong ties to Amazon public clouds in that it offers an API translator so that applications written for CloudStack can also run in AWS,” Network World reported.

And then there is Eucalyptus – which also draws on the strength of Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) (AWS) as being the reason enterprises should deploy their services.

“When a customer puts in one of our clouds, they become an instant member of the Amazon ecosystem,” Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos told Network World.

In May, Eucalyptus Systems (News - Alert), which offers AWS-compatible private and hybrid cloud computing software, announced it would roll out Eucalyptus 3.3, offering new services designed to accelerate and simplify the development and testing of applications built for AWS.

Eucalyptus officials maintain that an AWS-compatible Eucalyptus cloud can ease pain points such as tight budgets, limited resources and shortened delivery cycles – and accelerate time to market by providing a standardized and consistent environment that spans both a private and public cloud.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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