Xen.org is set to release Xen Cloud Platform (XCP). XCP will provide essentially a ready-made set of federated open source cloud enabling projects under a single distribution to help accelerate organizations that want to deploy a private or hybrid cloud.
Press Release Quick Read:
A key focus of the XCP initiative will be to provide technology that permits easy interoperability between internal enterprise “private clouds” and leading external cloud platforms like Amazon EC2 and Rackspace Cloud Servers.
The Xen Cloud Platform will accelerate the development of a wide variety of key technologies and standards that address this need in an open, non-proprietary way, including:
- Broad interoperability across disparate virtualization platforms – Through standards such as the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Open Virtualization Format (OVF), virtual appliances will be packaged in a hypervisor-independent format for easy transport between internal and external clouds with no proprietary vendor lock-in.
- Support for new and existing applications – Existing applications currently running in enterprise datacenters will be enabled to run in Xen-based cloud platforms without modification. This flexibility will allow users to choose where each application should run based on business needs rather than limitations of the technology or proprietary requirements of their current virtualization or cloud vendor.
- Federated compute capacity – With federated capacity, the process of moving application workloads between
virtual datacenters and disparate cloud service providers will be simplified. Standardized virtualization management – Support for DMTF standards will allow complete open management of virtual infrastructures.
- Rich virtual networking capabilities – A powerful open virtual switch will make it easy for cloud providers to add sophisticated network service offerings, including per-tenant network management, intrusion detection, firewalling, routing, and load balancing.
- Cloud-scale virtual storage infrastructures – Advanced storage features required by enterprise workloads will enable virtual machines and their physical storage to be widely separated without disrupting application performance.
Citrix to open source their code
I asked Simon about a detail he had mentioned during their initial comments to make sure I was understanding accurately. He confirmed that proprietary code that XenSource and Citrix developed as value-added features such as XenMotion, virtual switches and storage links will be part of the open-source code from Citrix that the XCP will have as part of the distribution.
My analysis: Why would Citrix open-source their code?
We discussed the the expected impact to Citrix and XenServer. Both Simon and Ian think that having a bigger footprint of XenServer is good for Citrix and ISVs in general because the XCP won’t necessarily be focused on the management layer, but the foundational components to having a stable, functioning cloud platform. After all, Citrix is already providing XenServer for free.
In fact, the orchestration and management capabilities of open source projects Eucalyptus and OpenNebula.org as well as commercial offerings from vendors and cloud providers will integrate with XCP since these projects are Xen-based already.
Simon said the plan is for Citrix Essentials to work with XCP, so this makes business sense to me. Citrix gets more XenServer in organizations that already are running Xen to power their clouds and have an opportunity to sell more Citrix Essentials.
Ian said that the release is scheduled for Q409, but reminded me that open-source projects don’t necessarily adhere to firm release dates because of their community-dependent nature. Ian felt that it would be sooner than later however, because all of the components are already being used in production environments, so there shouldn’t be the version 1.0 mystery that most products have and its just packaging them together into a cohesive distribution.