In the meantime though, he says the project has been growing slowly and surely. The fact that it is based off of Citrix's CloudStack code means that it already had a base level of maturity. "It can certainly be improved and evolved, but you can take CloudStack today, whether it's 3.0 or 4.0, deploy it and have it running fairly quickly," he says. "It's stable and robust."
This week's code release includes a number of new features as well, most notably with an emphasis on virtual networking - something OpenStack's latest code release also focuses heavily on. New features in CloudStack 4.0 allow users to create network tiers using firewall governing policies. Community members have also worked to integrate technology from SDN company Nicira into the project. Other new features include the ability to have locally-accessed storage within a CloudStack framework, instead of a separate network-attached storage, and it allows server hosts to be dedicated for high availability. Many of the feature enhancements are incremental and aimed at service providers who would use the CloudStack code to create a cloud computing offering, Childers says.
One other advancement is around AWS integration, which Citrix officials pointed out as a differentiating feature between CloudStack and OpenStack back in April. CloudStack now natively supports AWS API compatibility, whereas before it was an optional feature. OpenStack also supports AWS compatibility, but project backers usually speak of Amazon more as a competitor than a collaborator.
CloudStack has some advantages and challenges, says Krishnan Subramanian, a blogger and analyst at boutique firm Rishidot Research. The fact that Citrix is backing the project means that it should have support into the foreseeable future. But Subramanian says it's critical for CloudStack to grow its developer base and ecosystem of partners.
"A big concern for me is the relative lack of outside developers," he notes. "I was excited when Citrix pushed the project to Apache Foundation because I thought it will help them get outside developers and might span a business ecosystem like OpenStack. It has not happened. It's still a project developed mainly by a single vendor and we are not seeing any other vendor building a business out of it."
But, he says, it's early yet.