A very common question I receive is “What are the differences between Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform (powered by Apache CloudStack)?” With the recent release of the 4.3 versions of both CloudStack and CloudPlatform, I thought I would take a moment to talk abut this.
The first area to discuss is development. CloudStack and CloudPlatform are actually developed together using the same code base. Citrix develops features and fixes bugs in the upstream release of Apache CloudStack and then “pulls” the latest version of the code tree and creates a release of CloudPlatform from this master code. Citrix does not fork the code in anyway. From a code stand point, CloudStack and CloudPlatform are identical.
This leads us into our next area, release management. While the code is identical, Citrix documents, tests, and supports a subset of the CloudStack features based on a combination of customer priorities and resources available. This is where the project turns into a product.
What do I mean when I say product (CloudPlatform) vs. project (CloudStack)? Here is the key point and the answer to this question. CloudPlatform is created, tested, documented and supported by Citrix. CloudStack is supported through the Apache Software Foundation community and resources. One is not better than the other; they are simply different. CloudStack support happens through IRC channels, email lists, and tools and websites maintained by the CloudStack PMC (Project Management Committee).
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has a long and very successful history of providing a proven environment to support open source projects. This is why Citrix chose the ASF when it decided to open source CloudStack. Through the partnership between Citrix and the Apache Software Foundation, Citrix is able to create the best Infrastructure-as-a-Service product on the market today.