Citrix commercializes OpenStack with Project Olympus

Companies and service providers will be able to easily build OpenStack private or public clouds based on real architectures from Dell and Rackspace

The OpenStack project, a ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds, has been gaining traction with organizations these past few months, while also nabbing a fair amount of media attention. It was only a matter of time before someone grabbed a bat, stepped up to the plate, and created a commercialized version of this open source cloud offering.

Last week during the Citrix Synergy conference, Citrix became that company, announcing it would be a flag bearer for the OpenStack project and was in the process of developing a commercialized version of the platform under the code name Project Olympus.

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The OpenStack project began as a joint effort between Rackspace and NASA back in July 2010. This effort has since expanded to include more than 70 industry partners, among them Citrix, Cisco, Dell, and Intel. It also encompasses the efforts of hundreds of community developers contributing code back to the project. And to make sure it offers wide appeal to a much larger audience, OpenStack supports multiple virtualization hypervisor platforms, such as Hyper-V, KVM, and Xen.

Citrix describes Project Olympus as helping customers build real infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds that are scalable, efficient, and open by design, adding that it uses the same architecture, approach, and technology that power some of today's largest and most successful clouds in the world.

Sameer Dholakia, VP of product marketing, Datacenter and Cloud Division, Citrix, told InfoWorld that Project Olympus is the combination of a certified version of the open source bits of OpenStack that Citrix will bring down, test, certify, QA, package and support, and a bundled cloud-optimized version of his company's hypervisor platform, Citrix XenServer.

Dholakia added, "OpenStack itself will run on multiple different platforms and hypervisors. But as part of the Citrix distribution of OpenStack, as part of Project Olympus, we'll support XenServer, as well as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V."

Citrix and Project Olympus will provide support for competing hypervisor platforms, just as it does with its Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. However, as with its VDI offering, you can assume Citrix will create a few tweaks and enhancements that will give XenServer a competitive advantage over the other platforms. That makes good business sense, right? But at the end of the day, it's about offering customers a choice. Citrix will support these other platforms because it not only has to, but because it wants service providers to choose Project Olympus when building their public cloud infrastructures and companies to choose it when building their private clouds.

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