Last week i had the pleasure of attending the European Cloudstack Collaboration Conference in Amsterdam, as i was kindly invited by Citrix Cloud Advocate, Reuven Cohen.
I am most certainly glad i could make it, not only because it was a well-organized event overall (great venue, almost everything functioning smoothly – except for the mix-up in the press conference location which got us all wondering) but mostly because i had the chance to learn new things, meet interesting people and get some real-world insights on the use of Cloudstack.
First, the intangibles: i really liked the Cloudstack community take on things. Even though it’s hard to provide hard evidence on this, i think their spirit was very neatly summarized in Mark Hinkle’s keynote: a genuinely intrinsically motivated community, out there to give to the world software to empower all the little and the big things. Always refreshing to see people with the enthusiast attitude competing in a highly professional and truly collaborative way.
Of course, Cloudstack is not the only cloud software around, not even the only open source one. As my GigaOM colleague Paul Miller has already pointed out, there’s the inevitable comparison: OpenStack vs Cloudstack. Which can of course go on to include Eucalyptys and vCloud and..well, you get the picture. Calling out a winner in this battle is something i’d be quite reluctant to do, however what i can say is that each option does have its merits and it seems that Cloudstack’s biggest advantage at this time is ease of use: i heard many stories from Cloudstack users on how easy it was for them to install and start using it and how smooth the learning curve and transition has been for their teams.
I was particularly impressed by a presentation given by NTT, on how they used Cloudstack to build a private cloud with full AWS API compatibility – and how it was easier than they thought it would be. To me, interoperability is key in every domain, and as much as i would like to see a standard emerging to do for cloud vendors what J2EE once did for application server vendors, i realize we’re not really close at this point. So in the meanwhile, AWS API is the de facto standard – not to mention, being AWS compatible ensures you can go hybrid cloud painlessly.
Disclaimer: Reuven mediated with the sponsors of the event (Schuberg Philis and I Amsterdam) to have my travel expenses covered in order to attend the event. While i am obviously thankful for this, i would like to take the opportunity to stretch the fact that like any self-respecting analyst, the way i choose to attend and cover any event is entirely up to me, unless otherwise previously and explicitly arranged.