The title of this post is a riff on the now famous quote by Mark Twain a.k.a. Samuel Clemens about the New York Journal’s confusion between him and at time his ailing cousin James Ross Clemens who was a continent away. The same thing happened recently with regards to two unrelated events. An organizational change here at Citrix and the perceived vitality of one of the technologies we help support, Apache CloudStack.
Recently we combined the Citrix Cloud Platforms Group and the Citrix Cloud Networking Group into one integrated unit called Citrix NCSP (Networking, Cloud & SP Group). We believe these changes will strengthen our position in the quickly evolving data center market. Klaus Oestermann as the VP and GM of NCSP will lead the newly combined group. This will create a closer working relationship between the teams that develop our Citrix Cloud Platform (powered by Apache CloudStack), Citrix Netscaler and XenServer (built on Xen Project) and other related products.
Unfortunately some of the pundits in our industry are speculating as part of a recent reorganization at Citrix (and the departure of some of our former colleagues to pursue other opportunities) that this is a sign that we are abandoning our commitment to Apache CloudStack and the project would die. That’s probably because they don’t exactly understand how the Apache Software Foundation(ASF) works and how Citrix supports them.
I suspect many of them don’t understand that despite the lack of fanfare that the ASF provides technologies that power most of the internet’s websites, a huge part of the Java ecosystem and much, much more. While the tech industry swoons over Big Data (a market that is estimated to reach $50 billion by 2017). They might be surprised to know that the Hadoop mapreduce technology that is the lynchpin for the movement is developed by a relatively small set of developers in the Apache Software Foundation. Or the the Apache httpd server that powers more websites on the internet than any other is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers not a multi-billion dollar company.
They probably didn’t know this since the ASF is a technology development organization and they spend almost no effort making noise about their accomplishments the industry probably doesn’t realize this. In fact a company can’t even join the ASF only individuals can that’s part of the strength. That’s why you can’t equate Citrix and Apache CloudStack. Even though many companies employ developers there is no company that can buy influence. A company can’t leave the project only individuals can choose to participate or not. It’s unique compared to many other similar organizations so it’s no wonder they are confused. The fact of the matter is that Citrix will continue to support Apache CloudStack and will continue to collaborate with a growing community of developers and users.
Also Citrix supports many open software development efforts even some that may collide with parts of our portfolio while complimenting others, it’s just part of being a large industry leader with diverse products. For example we want XenServer to be a viable virtualization option for Apache CloudStack but we share part of the development responsibilities with other global technology leaders. In a world dominated by open source based clouds we collaborate with Amazon, Google, Oracle, Intel, ARM, Rackspace, Verizon to make sure that the Xen Project which powers XenServer is a vibrant growing technology. Citrix and our customers benefit from the bulk of the industry supporting Xen Project technologies and leverage that in our commercial XenServer offering.
We also were a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s Open Daylight project an industry-wide effort to develop an open source SDN controller. We do this as it is an interesting development in networking that we believe will work well with our NetScaler Application Delivery Controller and our cloud technologies. That also means that we may work companies who offer products and services that may be competing for the same users.
There are no absolutes here other than to do the best we can to serve the needs of our customers. To that end Citrix wants to enable our solutions on the platforms that are attractive to our customers. That means we want XenServer, NetScaler, XenDesktop and XenApp along with our whole product catalog to address the needs of our users whether they use OpenStack, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack as well as Amazon, Google and Microsoft where appropriate.
We also see hybrids of these technologies where users are combining orchestration based on CloudStack combined with storage solutions based on OpenStack storage. Others see the opportunity like OpenStack Storage lead John Dickinson speaking at the CloudStack Collaboration Conference about integrating across technologies validating that a strong open source ecosystem is one that spans the silos of a single project. Many times it’s a matter of and not or.
Open source isn’t a zero sum game. Even though we support and sponsor a great deal of development in Apache CloudStack we participate in a much larger cloud community. We have employees who are board members in the Red Hat Gluster community, we work on integration with their Ceph technology too, we even use tools from Eucalyptus to test our Amazon compatibility and contribute to many others. Also we will work to make sure Netscaler and XenServer run well under OpenStack as well as many other technologies. The bottom line is that we participate in development of technologies that benefit Citrix customers who demand a large diverse cloud ecosystem. Going forward we will continue to share the development of technologies across a broad industry that benefits our customers and to that end we’ll continue do as they request.