CloudStack is an open source cloud orchestration platform that essentially allows service providers to set up on-demand, elastic cloud computing services that function like Amazon EC2. If you've heard of Rackspace's OpenStack, you could consider CloudStack a direct competitor. And just for some background, CloudStack is a Citrix initiative that was born out of their acquisition of Cloud.com. The most prominent user of CloudStack is Zynga.
There's a fine review of Cloudstack on shapeblue.com and I'm going to provide the TL;DR version and just go over the main strengths of this platform that set it apart from its only apples-to-apples competitor: OpenStack.
- Written in Java
- Supporting a wide array of hypervisors (multiple hypervisors in a single cloud)
- VMware, KVM, XenServer, and Xen Cloud Platform. (hypervisor independence is a key commitment)
- Direct support for Citrix's NetScaler load balancer
- LDAP authentication added
- Enhanced password and key encryption
- A well designed GUI:
- Multiple, account or project level virtual network configurations that can be quite complex
- Network service provider model that will facilitate network tools like Juniper, F5, and NetScaler as virtual components
- Machine migration between storage pools added
- Swift Storage added
- Active Directory/Authentication Added
- Projects - Group virtual resources in to logical groups for costing and organization reasons
A tool to help with migration from 2.x to 3.x is currently in the works, but if you're new to CloudStack, this is not an issue.
DZone got a chance to meet Mark Hinkle, the CloudStack Community Director. Here's what he had to say:
"This is a major release for CloudStack informed largely by requests made by our broad user base. With CloudStack Acton we believe this is the ideal platform for users who want to build their own infrastructure-as-a-service cloud because it gives them choice in what networking, storage and virtualization technologies to use on a completely open source platform but backed by an enterprise software company(Citrix) as a safety net if you need that assistance."
--Mark R Hinkle, Director Cloud Computing Community, CloudStack
For a direct comparison of CloudStack vs. OpenStack, a Google search will give you what you need. There are a few articles and a useful Quora question on this subject, but soon there may be a need for an update, since OpenStack's 'Essex' release is coming later this year and it could put Rackspace's platform on par with CloudStack.
I've heard anecdotal evidence from Quora and other sources that CloudStack is currently more practical than OpenStack, but the only way to know for sure is to try them out. CloudStack - OpenStack
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