Why We Built Our Technology Stack on Apache Cloudstack

  • Apache Cloudstack continues to be the most simplified and efficient Cloud Orchestration platform, with a vibrant user-driven community.
  • The OpenStack Foundation is a vendor-driven association with commercial interests rather than a true open source community.
  • Openstack, as a product, is significantly more complex to manage that requires substantially more human resources (or a few ex-NASA engineers!)

Quick Recap

It’s 2020 and a decade has passed since the advent of 2 pioneering open-source cloud computing platforms – Cloudstack and Openstack. Here’s a quick history lesson on this decade-old battle.


CloudStack was a product of VMOps; a company started in 2008 with the product being spearheaded by Sheng Liang, who built the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) at Sun. OpenStack was founded in July 2010 when Rackspace and NASA decided to merge their cloud computing development efforts and were joined by 25+ partners at the time of launch.
In early 2010, the company formally launched CloudStack, which was 98% open source. The OpenStack Foundation was launched in September 2012. In the same year, NASA withdrew from OpenStack and instead moved their workloads to  Amazon Web Services.
Later in July 2011, CloudStack was acquired by Citrix, who released the remaining code as open-source under GPLv3. In 2013, NASA released an internal audit citing lack of technical progress as the primary reason for dropping out as an active contributor to the project.
Things shifted in April 2012, when Citrix donated CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation where it went on to become a Top-Level Project of the Apache Software Foundation.


Cloudstack vs Openstack

In the last seven years, if there is one question we have answered the most, it is “what’s the difference between Cloudstack and Openstack and how do they stack up (pun intended) against each other”? Our response is as follows:

  • Cloudstack and Openstack and essentially two vastly different philosophical approaches of solving the same problem; that of management and automation of cloud infrastructure. Cloudstack is built as an integrated solution, wherein the focus is on ease-of-use and simplified implementation and management. Openstack, on the other hand, is an entirely modular solution that believes in giving a free hand to engineers to choose and install as they deem fit; however, this leads to much complexity.
  • Peter Lopez made the best real-world comparison on a podcast in 2016, where he said that using CloudStack is akin to a kids colouring book where it’s easy to “colour” within the lines, whereas using OpenStack is akin to painting on a blank canvas, where the picture is only as good as the artist. This beautifully defines the ease of use of Cloudstack, and the need for engineering expertise to run OpenStack.

However, the most significant difference we’ve noticed is the approach of the communities that manage both the products.

  • Apache Cloudstack today is a 100% user-driven community, wherein the members are working on solving real-world problems that they collectively face in their production environments. The Apache Cloudstack community functions under the principles of the Apache Foundation, which ensure the true spirit of an open-source community is always above all else.
  • The OpenStack Foundation is a pure vendor-driven association with many vested commercial interests at play. This has led to much in-fighting and many vital contributors, and vendors like HPE and Cisco eventually moved out. A multi-vendor led open-source foundation was always a recipe for disaster as many of these vendors came for a proprietary/closed technology and had no clue about the philosophy of Open-Source.

Why We Use Apache Cloudstack

In the past, we have managed some large OpenStack deployments, and in our experience, OpenStack needs 3-4x person-hours on a day-to-day basis for stable operations. We strongly prefer to deploy Apache Cloudstack as part of our apiculus cloud platform, where the primary use case is of an in-country public cloud Infrastructure as a Service. These clouds are deployed mostly in emerging countries where the availability of quality technical resources is always a challenge.

In our experience, Apache Cloudstack is exceptionally stable, easy to deploy, manage and upgrade, and deliver all the use cases for cloud infrastructure. We believe that Apache Cloudstack is the best fit for this, as it is built for one purpose, providing Infrastructure as a Service, and does that role exceptionally well.

Over the last seven years, we have achieved an extremely high level of proficiency on Apache Cloudstack, having managed massive production setups. We offer a 24×7 SLA based managed cloud service for our entire stack and ensure end-to-end uptime of the systems.