Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Stefan Bernbo, Yeshim Deniz, Michel Courtoy, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus and OpenNebula

Which cloud platform is the most open?

We described in a previous post our experience about the different types of cloud models, and our view about how the main open-source Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs) are targeting their needs. Our aim was to demonstrate that we will see an open-source cloud space with several offerings focused on different environments and/or industries, due to the fact that no single CMP can be all things to all people. The four open-source CMPs will coexist and, in some cases, work together in a broad open cloud ecosystem.

This article tries to answer another quite common question in open-source cloud computing discussions and presentations... which CMP is the most open? Of course such analysis should go beyond just considering the openness of the code (which as far as we know is fully open-source in the four projects) and the development process to additionally address the perspectives of the consumers and the builders of the cloud infrastructure.


OpenStackCloudStackEucalyptusOpenNebula
Source Code Fully open-source, Apache v2.0 Fully open-source, Apache v2.0 Fully open-source, GPL v3.0 Fully open-source, Apache v2.0

In this comparison we refer to the version of the software that is available for download directly from the respective project web sites. As in our previous post, we have tried to be as neutral as possible...

The Perspective of the Developer
What is "open" and how can we measure project openness under the perspective of a corporation interested in contributing to code development?. We would suggest to use the following measures:

  • Development Model: Is the code developed over the Internet in view of the public?
  • Developer Engagement: Is the development open to external contributions?
  • Governance Model: How are the decisions about roadmap made?

OpenStackCloudStackEucalyptusOpenNebula
Development Model Public development Public development Public development Public development
Developer Engagement Contributor license agreement Contributor license agreement Contributor license agreement Contributor license agreement
Governance Model Foundation Technical meritocracy Benevolent dictator Benevolent dictator

The four CMPs are fully open-source software, accept contributions under similar license agreements, and are publicly developed over the Internet. However, there is a difference in their governance models. While OpenStack follows a foundation approach with a Board of Directors providing strategic oversight and CloudStack follows the Apache meritocracy rules, Eucalyptus and OpenNebula are managed by a single organization that focuses on the interest of the project and strategically leads it to ensure that it meets the needs of the users and the community. Benevolent dictator governance is the model followed by other successful projects like Android or Linux Kernel, and, in our view, it is the most effective way to focus on engineering quality, to be responsive to the users, and to ensure long term support.

The Perspective of the User
Let us now evaluate openness under the perspective of the user. In this case, we should consider both the perspective of the user of the cloud (consumer) and the perspective of the user of the technology (builder).

  • From the perspective of the cloud consumer, "open cloud" is all about APIs and data formats. Common API's give freedom to run anywhere, being this freedom supported or not by open source. This provides the ability for the user to compare cloud offerings, select the offer that best suits his needs, and change providers if he is unsatisfied with the service or finds a more competitive offering.
  • From the perspective of the cloud builder, "open cloud" means that the community open-source software is enterprise-grade and commercially supported without having to install a vendor enhanced distribution (which would be much closer to an "open core model"). This is where technology buyers and users can evaluate openness for themselves.

From the perspective of the user, we would suggest to use the following measures:

  • API Ecosystem: Is the software supporting a de-facto standard with a broad ecosystem?
  • Production Readiness: Is the open-source software ready for enterprise use and commercially supported?

OpenStackCloudStackEucalyptusOpenNebula
API Ecosystem OpenStack API Amazon API Amazon API Amazon API
Production Readiness No, only available through any of the several vendor specific "stacks" Enterprise-ready and direct support from developers Enterprise-ready and direct support from developers Enterprise-ready and direct support from developers

No much more to say about cloud API ecosystems, we do not want to start a new discussion about which of the cloud APIs is a de-facto standard and which ecosystem is bigger and growing faster.

Production Readiness is a very interesting aspect which deserves a detailed discussion. Independently of whether the software is being used for development or for production purposes, it is understood that a corporation needs the open-source cloud management platform to be enterprise ready, which means to be stable, long-term commercially supported, and with a clear upgrade process.

From this perspective, it is clear that Eucalyptus and OpenNebula are more open. Both projects provide an enterprise-ready open-source cloud solution. Any organization can use the open-source distribution to build a production cloud, and receive best-effort support through a community mailing list. Additionally, any organization can purchase commercial support directly from the developers. The important aspect is that these projects do not deliver enterprise editions of their software, they commercially support the community software. In other words, the community versions of Eucalyptus and OpenNebula are not limited editions of enterprise versions. CloudStack could be also included in this group, given that Citrix CloudPlatform is basically an enterprise distribution that (as far as we know) does not provide extended features.

On the other side, any organization interested in using OpenStack, and requiring commercial support and enterprise maturity, is recommended to deploy any of the several enterprise distributions that are being released by the vendors contributing to the project. These enterprise-grade distributions incorporate different versions of the OpenStack components with extended features, custom enhancements and integrations that may make difficult their compatibility and interoperability. Moreover many of them include proprietary components and exhibit significant differences in the implementation of critical underlying functionality. So the organization is finally using proprietary software based on OpenStack and is locked to that specific distribution given that the vendor only supports its own stack, not the community version, and there is no way to migrate to another vendor distribution.

Looking to the Future
We have not prepared this article to try to demonstrate that one of the CMPs is more open than the others. We have tried to show how the four open source projects have different cultures and drivers, and these differences are reflected in the different dimensions of openness. For example, the four CMPs implement different governance models because they are addressing different needs. While Eucalyptus and OpenNebula serve the needs of the users, CloudStack better serves the needs of the developers, and OpenStack serves the needs of the vendors, so they have a technology base and a marketing brand to build their own cloud stacks.

Which is the most important measure of openness in cloud computing? Do the cloud users really care about this? Users mainly want a solution that meets their functional needs, and are interested in open-source as a way to enhance flexibility, lower costs and avoid lock-in. However, in our experience, most of these benefits are only available when an open-source software can be used in production environments without the addition of proprietary components.

More Stories By Ignacio M. Llorente

Dr. Llorente is Director of the OpenNebula Project and CEO & co-founder at C12G Labs. He is an entrepreneur and researcher in the field of cloud and distributed computing, having managed several international projects and initiatives on Cloud Computing, and authored many articles in the leading journals and proceedings books. Dr. Llorente is one of the pioneers and world's leading authorities on Cloud Computing. He has held several appointments as independent expert and consultant for the European Commission and several companies and national governments. He has given many keynotes and invited talks in the main international events in cloud computing, has served on several Groups of Experts on Cloud Computing convened by international organizations, such as the European Commission and the World Economic Forum, and has contributed to several Cloud Computing panels and roadmaps. He founded and co-chaired the Open Grid Forum Working Group on Open Cloud Computing Interface, and has participated in the main European projects in Cloud Computing. Llorente holds a Ph.D in Computer Science (UCM) and an Executive MBA (IE Business School), and is a Full Professor (Catedratico) and the Head of the Distributed Systems Architecture Group at UCM.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...