On Thursday, Internap launched its Open Public Cloud compute product and subsequently claimed stake to the hotly contested title of “first commercial deployment of the OpenStack cloud computing platform.” In its press release, Internap noted that its Open Public Cloud delivers “high-performance, on-demand provisioning and scaling of enterprise computing capacity to meet changing web and application demands.” Additional features of the Open Public Cloud include an easy to use management interface, APIs and use of the Xen Cloud Platform. Internap’s Open Public Cloud platform is built upon the Cactus release of OpenStack and hence has yet to incorporate the latest enhancements to OpenStack specified in its Diablo release. Internap joins Dell, Citrix, Piston Cloud Computing and Nebula in laying claim to the first commercial grade deployment of OpenStack cloud computing software. In late September, Piston Cloud Computing launched an enterprise grade deployment of OpenStack with its pentOS offering for private clouds.
Piston Cloud Computing recently completed a $4.5 million funding raise from Hummer Winblad and True Ventures, Divergent Ventures and other angel investors. According to the company’s blog, the company’s offering “extends the OpenStack cloud solution to address the security, performance, and lifecycle management problems in today’s hybrid cloud approaches, and specializes on the federation of large, complex datasets that have regulatory requirements for authentication and access control.” Right off the bat, Piston positions itself in the red hot cloud computing security space with reference to its ability to manage large-scale datasets with complex regulatory requirements regarding privacy and security issues. Piston Cloud Computing was founded in early 2011 by Josh McKenty, lead architect for NASA Nebula’s Cloud Infrastructure, and Chris MacGown, Technical Lead at Slicehost, which was acquired by Rackspace in 2008. Puneet Agrawal of True Ventures commented on True’s support of Piston as follows:
At True, we have been following OpenStack, the open source cloud operating system, very closely over the past year. What became clear quickly was that OpenStack was real and gaining momentum with developers in addition to large enterprises. The project now includes over 80 participating companies, including Dell, Cisco, Citrix, and Rackspace, among others…So when we had the opportunity to fund the lead architect behind its development, we jumped at the chance.
Agrawal’s remarks speak volumes about the respect had by OpenStack in investor circles. Piston represents just one of the recent commercializations of OpenStack, following closely open the heels of Citrix’s Project Olympus. The industry should expect more commercializations of OpenStack as companies lower the cost of development by incorporating OpenStack into the core of their cloud offering. Conversely, investors will watch the fortunes of projects such as Piston and Project Olympus closely in order to gauge the rigor of OpenStack’s process for incorporating code from contributors all over the world. Despite the fierce need for security products for the cloud infrastructure space, Piston faces stiff competition from a constellation of other companies gravitating to the cloud security space. For example, Bromium, a San Francisco based start-up that recently raised $9.2 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners, emerged from stealth mode in June and announced its operation at the intersection of “virtualization and security.” Peter Levine, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, noted that “Bromium turns today’s security model on its head and exploits virtualization and the latest hardware features to shift the balance of power in favor of the good guys.”
On July 12, Citrix Systems announced its acquisition of Cloud.com, the open source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform that enables enterprises to create private or public cloud environments. Although the terms of the acquisition were not widely revealed, TechCrunch reports that Citrix Systems agreed to purchase Cloud.com for somewhere between $200 and $250 million. Citrix’s acquisition of Cloud.com comes less than two months after disclosure of its plans to commercialize OpenStack with Project Olympus, a product that allows customers to create IaaS cloud environments that leverage the OpenStack operating system code. The addition of Cloud.com’s CloudStack platform to Citrix’s product line means that Citrix can now claim ownership of XenServer hypervisor, XenApp, XenDesktop, Netscaler cloud networking products and the forthcoming Project Olympus. The acquisition of Cloud.com is expected to bolster OpenStack’s position in the cloud computing space because Citrix now promises to promote OpenStack utilization through the three pronged channel of Project Olympus, CloudStack APIs for OpenStack and its corporate support of OpenStack as an open source solution in contrast to a vendor such as Eucalyptus.
As a result of the acquisition, all Cloud.com employees will become part of Citrix. Cloud.com will henceforth be branded as Citrix CloudStack and belong to Citrix’s new Cloud Platforms Group. The acquisition gives Citrix a cluster of high profile customers such as Zynga Inc., GoDaddy.com, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Nokia Oyj and South Korean telecommunications company KT Corp that used Cloud.com to create internal cloud infrastructures. A June 17, 2011 GigaOm post by Derrick Harris notes that Zynga used Cloud.com to create its internal Z Cloud alongside RightScale as a tool to manage the union of its Amazon EC2 public cloud and Z Cloud.
Citrix System’s May 25 announcement that it intends to use OpenStack, the open source cloud computing infrastructure, as the basis for a new product called Project Olympus underscores how the open source tide is steadily shifting OpenStack’s way. Project Olympus allows customers to create IaaS clouds that leverage the OpenStack operating system code to create public or private clouds. The Project Olympus product contains two components: (1) a version of OpenStack certified by Citrix; and (2) a Citrix XenServer hypervisor optimized for the cloud. Although the product is designed for the XenServer hypervisor, Project Olympus supports the VMware vSphere and the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors as well. Customers requiring deployment using other hypervisors will need to use OpenStack. According to Citrix’s press release, the product will begin shipping later this year at a date yet to be specified.
Project Olympus marks the first commercialization of OpenStack in a move that reveals how open source cloud computing is never really open source. Eucalyptus, for example, provides open source APIs for Amazon EC2 that enable customers to migrate data between AWS and Eucalyptus cloud environments. That said, Eucalyptus deploys commercial code for its Eucalyptus Enterprise Edition (E3) features for management, SAN integration and VMWare compatibility purposes. Because OpenStack has yet to deploy this management functionality, we expect Citrix will compensate for this gap in OpenStack’s functionality in its Project Olympus product offering.
Earlier this year, Canonical’s decision to change the cloud computing provider for its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud offering from Eucalyptus to OpenStack marked a significant affirmation for OpenStack. Version 11.04 of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud currently uses Eucalyptus but the upcoming version 11.10 will make use of the OpenStack cloud computing architecture created by Rackspace and NASA in the summer of 2010. Version 11.10 is expected to be released in October 2011. The bottom line is that OpenStack’s fortunes are soaring even though Red Hat, which has recently released an open source cloud computing product called CloudForms, announced its revenues intend to cross the $1 billion mark in the upcoming fiscal year.