Apache CloudStack / Citrix CloudPlatform Introduction - Part 1 of 3

Originally published 6/23/14.

 

In this post, we will give an overview of Apache CloudStack/Citrix CloudPlatform and the NetApp integration. In part II and III we will go into more detail about the CloudStack architecture and the NetApp integration provided through the Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for CloudStack.

 

The full series can be found here:

Apache CloudStack / Citrix CloudPlatform Introduction - Part 1 of 3 - Introduction

Apache CloudStack / Citrix CloudPlatform Introduction - Part 2 of 3 - Apache CloudStack 101

Apache CloudStack / Citrix CloudPlatform Introduction - Part 3 of 3 - NetApp Integration

 

Introduction

Apache CloudStack is a turnkey open source cloud management and orchestration platform for delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) in cloud computing environments. It was designed to deploy and manage a large number of virtual machines and the software-side infrastructure required to support it. Apache CloudStack was originally developed by Cloud.com, which was acquired by Citrix in 2011. In 2012, Citrix turned Apache CloudStack over to the Apache Software Foundation. There are currently two versions of CloudStack:

  • Apache CloudStack
  • Citrix CloudPlatform

While Apache CloudStack is open source, Citrix CloudPlatform offers support and Apache CloudStack as an enterprise offering. When we use the term Apache CloudStack, it also applies to Citrix CloudPlatform.

 

Apache CloudStack Highlights

  • Hypervisor agnostic – VMware ESX, KVM, XenServer, Hyper-V, LXC, and Bare Metal
  • Secure and multi-tenant
  • Network, compute, and storage as a service
  • Built for large scale
  • Supports high availability
  • Highly extensible through rich plugin framework
  • Web UI, CLI, and an extensive REST API
  • API compatibility with AWS EC2 and S3
  • Easy to configure and use

cloudstack_overview_v2.png

CloudStack abstracts complexities of dealing with compute, storage, and network. Through a common UI and user experience, it aims at abstracting and unifying heterogenous IT infrastructure into uniform services. The RESTful API allows easy integration for other tools and automation frameworks.

 

Apache CloudStack - Pros:

  • Easy to configure, maintain, and use - We got it up and running in about a day.
  • Enterprise level support from Citrix through Citrix CloudPlatform.
  • Unified management - Apache CloudStack is a single stack and not a stack of stacks.
  • Plugin framework that allows for 3rd Party integration. NetApp for example has created the Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for CloudStack using the plugin framework.
  • Apache CloudStack is a mature product and has been developed for over 4 years.

 

Apache CloudStack - Cons:

  • Flexibility and modularity not as customizable as in e.g., OpenStack
  • Apache CloudStack only supports Fiber Channel as primary storage through the hypervisor
  • Backup and restore is not solved sufficiently and arguably becomes more difficult due to all the inherent abstraction

 

NetApp VSC for Apache CloudStack

NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for Apache CloudStack is an integrated plug-in from NetApp which enables the use of NetApp storage technologies directly within Apache CloudStack.

 

Some of the highlights:

  • NetApp snapshot integration providing all the advantages of NetApp snapshots in Apache CloudStack environments
  • Space- and time-efficient VM clones from templates and existing VMs though direct File-level clones on the storage
  • Thin provisioning and data de-duplication for Apache CloudStack primary storage (i.e., this is where the VMs live)
  • NetApp snapshot backup integration for the internal Apache CloudStack database
  • NetApp storage controller management and integration into the Apache CloudStack UI dashboard

 

NetApp recently won an award in the area of Cloud at the Citrix Synergy conference in May 2014 for the integration with Apache CloudStack / Citrix CloudPlatform:

http://www.citrix.com/cms/ready/best-of-synergy-2014-winners/

 

NetApp VSC for CloudStack is available for download from the community site:

https://communities.netapp.com/groups/cloudstack

 

In the next two posts, we will look into the Apache CloudStack architecture with more detail and also dive into the NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for Apache CloudStack.

 

Stay tuned!