Hyper-V, OpenStack Interop 'Broken and Unmaintained'
Microsoft isn't impressing members of the OpenStack community with its attempts to ensure the interoperability of its Hyper-V hypervisor with the OpenStack open source cloud project.
Citing comments by developers active on the project, both ReadWriteCloud and a Computerworld have reported on OpenStack backers' displeasure. Thierry Carrez of the OpenStack community has described the Hyper-V code being built for the purpose as "broken and unmaintained."
The OpenStack community is currently moving to update OpenStack with an "Essex" release. Possibly, Hyper-V could be considered unsupported with that release, but a public statement hasn't been made to that effect.
When asked about the status of OpenStack support, a Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement by e-mail: "Microsoft is committed to working with the community to resolve the current issues with Hyper-V and OpenStack."
OpenStack developers collaborate on building an "open standard cloud operating system for both public and private clouds," according to data sheet description (PDF). The project's origins stem from NASA's cloud computing efforts in collaboration with cloud hosting company Rackspace. The OpenStack community claims to support all hypervisors, including "Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Xen, KVM, VMware ESX, LXC, QEMU, and UML," according to a Web site description.
Microsoft has a technical team that works on open source interoperability issues, especially when Linux and Windows Server need to coexist in mixed computing environments. A large part of its efforts has been ensuring hypervisor interoperability.
Microsoft has put funds behind some Apache Software Foundation projects in the past. In the case of OpenStack, which is an Apache project, Microsoft established a partnership with Cloud.com on Oct. 22, 2010 to work on making Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V interoperable with OpenStack. Microsoft was to provide Cloud.com with "architectural and technical guidance" on the project, according to Microsoft' announcement at that time.
Cloud.com was a builder of hypervisor-agnostic cloud infrastructure solutions, but the company got acquired by Citrix Systems on July 12, 2011. At the time, Citrix issued an announcement stating that "this acquisition will help Citrix further accelerate its support of OpenStack," noting that "Citrix is the second largest contributor to the project and is a member of the OpenStack policy board."
Possibly, the Cloud.com effort associated with Hyper-V and OpenStack interoperability got lost in the shuffle. In response to a query, the following explanation was provided by Peder Ulander, vice president of product marketing for the Cloud Platforms Group at Citrix. Ulander served as the former chief marketing officer at Cloud.com.
"Last year, Microsoft contracted with Rackspace and Cloud.com to make Hyper-V available as a supported platform within OpenStack," Ulander stated via e-mail. "Cloud.com did work with the team to make that happen, however it has not been [the] focus for the OpenStack team since its inclusion in the Bexar release [of OpenStack]. We can't speak for OpenStack, but Citrix has seen interest in Hyper-V as a supported hypervisor (see results from a 2011 research study that put Hyper-V past KVM on interest) and are working to get its inclusion in Citrix CloudStack (the product that came from the Cloud.com acquisition)."
Ulander added that Citrix is continuing to work with the OpenStack community "to advance open source cloud computing."
Citrix CloudStack apparently was released in late 2011. The initial efforts by Citrix to develop its own OpenStack interoperability solution using the Cloud.com asset are described in this blog.
Another open source project that Microsoft has backed is OpenNebula. This project aims to maintain open source code for management toolkits used for public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. Microsoft announced its collaboration support for enabling Windows Server Hyper-V interoperability with OpenNebula in September.
OpenNebula with Hyper-V interoperability was released in October under Apache licensing, and a second collaboration with Microsoft will add greater stability. The next release is planned for sometime in the first quarter of this year.
About a year and a half ago, Microsoft floated some ideas about how an open cloud platform might be constructed. While the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform supports multiple languages and runtimes, it's built using proprietary Microsoft technologies and isn't an open source platform.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.