Why Multiple Open Source Platforms Will Succeed in the Cloud

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 09, 2012

The cloud computing cognoscenti seem to remain convinced that Citrix's CloudStack and OpenStack are gearing up for a battle that will leave one and only one winner. Meanwhile, there seems to be little discussion going on at all surrounding other cloud computing platforms, such as Eucalyptus. There are some good reasons to believe that--just as Windows, Mac and Linux users all rely on separate operating systems--multiple cloud infrastructure bets will pay off. Here are just a few reasons why.

Last week, we covered Citrix's decision to cut its support for the open source OpenStack cloud computing platform and move full steam ahead with the next phase of its CloudStack strategy. Both OpenStack and CloudStack have many big backers, so it's natural that these two platforms are being characterized as engaged in a high-profile fight.

The ReadWriteCloud Channel, though makes an excellent point in a post titled "It's Not Highlander: There Can Be More Than One Open Source Cloud":

"Assuming even one-third of the companies that pledged to support CloudStack become serious contributors, CloudStack should have a bright future. It takes little away from OpenStack for CloudStack to succeed...After all the dust settles, it would be best for everyone from the open source cloud communities to figure out how they can work together. The "there can be only one" approach isn't going to help anybody, and may benefit Amazon, VMware and other proprietary vendors who can market their wares without any drama."

Amen. As a matter of fact, Amazon remains far and away the 800-pound gorilla in cloud computing. And it's a mistake to leave Eucalyptus out of the open source cloud discussion. Eucalyptus, which has been an innovator on the cloud computing scene ever since its early days as a university project at U.C. Santa Barbara, is now in a broad partnership with Amazon. As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases.

As Computerworld notes, a Chinese blogger has done an analysis of the communities surrounding the leading open source cloud computing platforms, and found that Eucalyptus has the largest standing community, partly because it is an older platform:

"Because Eucalyptus had an 18-month head start on OpenStack, the community has more users who have participated in the project."

That's even more evidence that open source cloud computing has room for numerous leading platforms, not just one.