If you were able to attend GigaOm Structure last week in San Francisco, you would have seen an interesting dynamic unfold in the “API wars: delivering the de facto standard” session that included Sameer Dholakia (Citrix), Chris Kemp (OpenStack, Nebula) and Marten Mickos (Eucalyptus) . A discussion designed to debate the relative merits of cloud APIs turned out to be a very eye opening series of remarks that highlighted the differences that can exist in open source philosophies. On one hand you have pure play open source, ground up community led development project from OpenStack and on the other you have commercial open source products from Citrix and Eucalyptus. (I won’t use this forum to debate the differences between those). What transpired in my opinion was a series of humorous jabs that demonstrated who on the panel was building something for actual customer deployment and who wasn’t.    

I commend Sameer and Marten for keeping their cool in light of what came off as attacks from Kemp.  While everyone agrees that open source  is the right model for accelerating cloud platform development, there were very different opinions on where the value of that is derived. While OpenStack seems to believe that the inclusion of hardware vendors(as pointed out by Mickos) in their developer universe will add momentum their project, I have to agree with Sameer’s assertion that creating a community of customers and partners that we are actively deploying with in live accounts ultimately adds an order of magnitude more value to a project like Apache CloudStack. 

Ultimately, Citrix and the Apache CloudStack ecosystem are learning in the trenches what it takes to build clouds by evolving a product and project in real world scenarios.  I can appreciate the efforts to maintain civility on a topic that the media enjoys portraying as a war and loved that ended in a group hug (video – screen cap below ) that I think will go down as a historical moment in the birth of cloud computing.  From my vantage point, you can’t have a war until you have someone or something to fight on the battlefield and it was apparent after that session that OpenStack is yet to show up and doesn’t have a weapon.