Citrix CloudStack Shifts to Single GPLv3 Flavor

Goodbye to open core, and other VMworld hijinks

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Just under 50 days after their acquisition of IaaS provider Cloud.com, Citrix has announced at VMworld today a new release of CloudStack, a release that will be completely open sourced.

This represents a significant shift away from CloudStack's previous method of deployment. Cloud.com's cloud management software was previously released under the open core model, with an enterprise-level offering and an open source community model. With CloudStack 2.2.10, which was actually released last week, both product flavors are merged into one single free software opening, licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3.

The choice of license is interesting, and not just because it will keep the Free Software Foundation for inventing problems just to complain. While dropping the whole open core model is pretty much a welcome change, I have to wonder how the CloudStack's GPLv3 license will mesh with their much-touted participation in the broader OpenStack project, announced last month.

Even though Cloud.com, and now Citrix, is an OpenStack participant, the OpenStack Apache Server License is permissive and is not compatible with incoming code contributions from the restrictive GPLed CloudStack. (The opposite is not true: ASL code can be used within GPLed software.) This was a concern when CloudStack was distributed with the open core model, and will remain a concern even as the single CloudStack product is completely opened up under the GPLv3.

Despite the somewhat odd fit between CloudStack and OpenStack, Citrix definitely following through on its open source commitments they made when they announced the acquisition of Cloud.com on July 12. Moving to a pure-play free software move is a gutsy play, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider that what Citrix really wants to do is cut off VMware by providing potential VMware customers as many different alternative cloud services as possible.

Going completely open is a strong step in that direction, right along with an OpenStack alliance.

The timing of today's announcement is no accident, either. Citrix would like nothing more than to attract attention away from the big VMworld event starting today. (Even Microsoft is getting in on the VMware-poking act today.)

VMworld will end up being the catalyst for a lot of cloud- and virtualization-based news this week, as VMware partners like Dell announce their public cloud, and competitors like Citrix position themselves against each other in the three-way virtualization race between Citrix's XenServer and Xen; VMware's ESX and vSphere; and Red Hat and the Open Virtualization Alliance's KVM.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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