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Slashdot Talks with David Nalley About Apache CloudStack (Video)

Roblimo posted about 4 months ago | from the my-cloud-is-cloudier-than-your-cloud dept.

Open Source 13

This Citrix Web page at buildacloud.org says, "David is a PMC (Project Management Commitee) member of the Apache CloudStack project, jClouds committer, Fedora contributor and an Open Source Evangelist for the Open Source Business Office at Citrix." CloudStack has been an Apache Top Level Project since March 2013, with David on board all the way. He's obviously the right person to turn to for an Apache CloudStack update, including some commentary on the differences between Apache CloudStack and OpenStack, two projects often viewed as competitors. (Alternate Video Link)

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Confusing Message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47829707)

I was at that conference. IBM/Softlayer is built entirely from a fork of cloudstack they brand inhouse as IMS. They also kept announcing baremetal service with small unit billing was running entirely inhouse as cloudstack. Apparently the cloudstack people don't really know who uses it.

Re:Confusing Message (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 4 months ago | (#47831015)

I was at that conference. IBM/Softlayer is built entirely from a fork of cloudstack they brand inhouse as IMS.

Yeah, if this is the IMS you're talking about [wikipedia.org] it has nothing to do with cloudstack. Unless you're suggesting IBM forked cloudstack back in 1966.

Re:Confusing Message (1)

MentholMoose (674077) | about 4 months ago | (#47831563)

Softlayer was only recently acquired by IBM and has been using CloudStack since before the acquisition. Here's an article mentioning Softlayer's IMS (Infrastructure Management System) and CloudStack:

SoftLayer Brings Hourly Billing To Bare Metal Cloud [enterprisetech.com]

Open source: (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47829805)

Open source: so you can host it yourself, make changes you need, and see how it works.
Cloudstack: so you can ignore all that and let IBM take care of you like a little baby bird.

Re:Open source: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47829927)

Uhm. The first half of the Video was talking about how it is an apache project. Which is quite open, but I don't think that is where you were going.
David Nalley doesn't work for IBM so at most you could say he was Citrix's bitch and you should buy their branded version Cloud Platform and suck from the glorry of Citrix.

Unless you were talking about the largest Cloudstack installation being Softlayer, which is now an IBM company, but they sell IAAS not software.

Re:Open source: (2)

TrevorDoom (228025) | about 4 months ago | (#47832869)

CloudStack is open source, owned by the ASF, and you can totally host it yourself and make any changes you need.

Citrix has their Citrix CloudPlatform product based on the Apache CloudStack (ACS) source code, IBM might have their own product based on ACS (or SoftLayer), but at the end of the day, neither IBM's product or Citrix's product is ACS as neither company owns or controls the Apache Foundation.

Intro Music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47831379)

How about a bit more modern music for the intro to the video rather than western saloon music?

Citrix keeps XenServer and CloudStack on a leash (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47831997)

While CloudStack is under an opensource license, Citrix is gaming the system to appear open while keeping a leach on what functionality goes into the mainstream form of this "open" project.

David Nalley brings up that the benefits of CloudStack being an Apache project is that it provides transparency and makes sure that no one company dominates the project. Both of these claims are misleading.

In reality, there is not the type of transparency you would like to have for something claiming to not allow any one company to dominate the project. The list of Project Management Committee members [apache.org] does not indicate who any of them work for. A quick Google of the names on the list seems to indicate that Citrix has more members on the PMC than any other company. While they may not hold over 50%, it is unclear how many others of the PMC have indirect allegiances with Citrix. Also, given that any one member of the PMC can respond to patches with effectively veto power, it should be clear how even holding a small percentage of the PMC can still have a chilling effect on what makes it into the project. There is a very high learning curve to understanding the CloudStack source code enough to contribute and it doesn't take much to discourage someone from trying to contribute.

While this may seem like unwarranted fear, you should keep in mind that Citrix has already crippled the Open Source community's efforts regarding XenServer. In response to Xen being nothing more than a hypervisor and XenServer becoming the prefer API by with to managed it, a GPL/LGPL project was started called XCP (Xen Cloud Platform). This went as far as to include features which Citrix considered top tier feature which should only available for big bucks paided to Citrix. For example, XCP had a "Site Recovery" feature [xenserver.org] which XenServer Advanced and XenServer Enterprise does not provide. Instead, Citrix expected customers to pay for XenServer Platinum to get such features.

To deal with the XCP threat to their income model, Citrix released XenServer "Free" Edition and put pressure to put a stop to further development of XCP. Since XenServer Free is under a Citrix EULA which explains that "'XenServer Technology' means proprietary object code of the XenServer product that is not Open Source Code [...]" then Citrix can make sure that XenServer Free always remains crippled in comparison to the open source XCP project they ended and in comparison to their own paid versions. While Citrix employees would prefer to call XCP "deprecated," the truth is that they killed it.

As such, Apache CloudStack's support of XCP remains crippled and buggy--after all, if XCP is deprecated then anyone from the PMC should be able to rubber stamp any effort to improve support as also deprecated/wasted effort. But the fencing of CloudStack functionality does not stop there. Like "XenServer Technology" that they want closed up under a tightly controlled EULA, they have other paid products to extend CloudStack to compete with basic functionality of OpenStack. For example, efficient orchestration will never be part of the Apache CloudStack project because then there would be no reason for anyone to buy Citrix CloudPlatform. OpenStack Horizon module provide a portal for customers to self-service their use of a public cloud and is part of the base of OpenStack. Won't be part of the functionality of CloudStack because then there will be no reason for anyone to buy Citrix CloudPortal.

To put icing on the cake, even if you accept that critical functionality will be artificially kept out of the mainstream CloudStack project and choose to pay for support from Citrix, they continue to treat Linux as a second-class citizen. For help with dealing with the some of the issues with deploying CloudStack (critical errors like "java.lang.NullPointerException"), Citrix demanded to access an on-premises workstation via GoTo Meeting for Windows/Mac! When it was pointed out that the CloudStack server is being run at a Linux shop that do not use Windows workstations, they explained that GoTo Meeting is the only way they knew to access the CloudStack server without revealing passwords in the clear. To it being pointed out that RHEL, CentOS and Ubuntu (which they claim to support) all allow for use of SSH public/private key access to the server (and requested they provide a SSH public key), it was indicated the Citrix has never heard of SSH public/private key authentication before and aren't sure how to do it!

The most damning thing from this interview is David Nalley's statement that deploying a cloud is never an easy thing to do. Using Mirantis Fuel [mirantis.com] , I had OpenStack running in under 4 hours. Just getting Citrix to respond to poorly worded common errors generated by CloudStack took over 2 days.

Do not be fooled by the Apache/"Open Source" status of this project! It is very much managed to work like a drug dealer of getting you that first taste for free and then charging you for every hit after that.

Re:Citrix keeps XenServer and CloudStack on a leas (1)

TrevorDoom (228025) | about 4 months ago | (#47832865)

It's quite easy to get Apache CloudStack up and running. There are a few Docker containers for the ACS management server as well as Ansible Playbooks and Chef Cookbooks to deploy it for you, but the manual installation process can realistically be completed in less than an hour (provided a local mirror for things like System VM templates and the RPM/DEB packages).

Re:Citrix keeps XenServer and CloudStack on a leas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47836423)

I tried and tried and tried to get openstack working, but never got beyond the management server working. In TWO DAYS (as opposed to weeks) I had a working manager, and was ready to manage compute and storage. Also couldstack documentation (mostly) works. The openstack docs were HORRID. Every 'script' that purported to do it automagically failed, or worked only spuriously. Mirantis was also a disaster (only worked 1 of 3 times that I installed). Openstack should be called OpenCrack since it will drive you use drugs.

Re:Citrix keeps XenServer and CloudStack on a leas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47833757)

I've done deployments of both Cloudstack and OpenStack. OpenStack just has an entirely different approach to the problem. Cloudstack is basically, "Where is my computer, storage and what networks can I use" where as OpenStack is more "Please define all of the pieces of your cloud and I will manage them all for you."

Cloudstack deployments are Simple and take 10 minutes to get simple orchestration going. Cloudstack, unless you're running DevCloud is a considerable increase in effort but it will really manage almost everything for you.

Re:Citrix keeps XenServer and CloudStack on a leas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47838653)

Hi Anonymous Coward, I'm a Cloudstack community member known as NuxRo. I am not affiliated with any company, though I'm usually a RedHat/CentOS fanboi. Here are some thoughts on your post.

Although Citrix' involvement in Cloudstack is substantial (maybe say 30-40%), I wouldn't say it is _vital_. Anyone can get involved with the project and try to contribute or push for the things that are interesting to him/her. For example, without writing a single line of code I managed to get resizable root disks in v4.4; the code was written by another Apache commiter, completely unrelated to Citrix btw.
This feature has now finally given me the possibility to build a sort of market place (openvm.eu) for ACS. I am not a coder, but contribution needn't be in code alone as you can see and small improvements can lead to more improvements.

Also, Cloudstack's support for KVM has become pretty great and it's used more and more in the community (I run it exclusively in production); you do not really need Xenserver. Alternatively VMWare ESXi can also be used as HV.

And yes, cloud is very hard, no matter what platform you are on, imho. Running a cloud demands ridiculous amounts of time, skills and patience.
Do not let yourself fooled by getting Fuel installed in under 4 hours, that's the easy part; actually 4 hours is a long time, I could give you a fairly complex Cloudstack install in under an hour given all hardware is already installed and connected.

The problem is maintenance. For example Openstack is to this day non-upgradable, perhaps even Mirantis' distribution; otherwise a great project which promises a lot.
Cloudstack's upgrades are very sensitive issues, too, but are doable, there are horror as well as success stories on the mailing lists. Testing is quintessential.

I know you are disappointed by your experiences with Citrix and Xenserver for whatever reason, but believe me, Cloudstack is much more than that. It is Apache software with a growing community; there are many companies making money off it and are interested in its continued development.

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Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47840019)

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