Citrix Unveils Project Olympus, Commercial Version of OpenStack Cloud Platform

Citrix will be rolling out a new OpenStack product that would let customers build private or public clouds.

Citrix System has added Project Olympus, a new cloud product, to its open cloud computing portfolio to complement its Citrix NetScaler Cloud Gateway and NetScaler Cloud Bridge.

Citrix Systems announced Project Olympus, a new cloud infrastructure product based on the open-source cloud operating system OpenStack, at Citrix Synergy Summit on May 25. Project Olympus will be the first commercialized version of OpenStack and will begin shipping later this year, Citrix said.

Based on OpenStack, Project Olympus will help customers build real infrastructure-as-a-service clouds that are scalable, efficient and open by design because they use the same architecture, approach and technology behind "some of today's largest and most successful clouds in the world," Citrix said in reference to existing OpenStack implementations.

"Build a real cloud in your data center based on OpenStack and XenServer. The early access program starts today," said Citrix CEO Mark Templeton in a keynote address at Synergy.

Public cloud providers can leverage Project Olympus to create customized features within the cloud infrastructure, while enterprises looking for efficiency and flexibility can use the platform to build private clouds, Citrix said.

"There was no better project to help bring Project Olympus to fruition than OpenStack, with its dedicated industry support, rich ecosystem and rapid pace of innovation," said Sameer Dholakia, vice president of product marketing, data center and cloud division at Citrix.

Public clouds like Amazon and Rackspace have set the bar for how real clouds should be built, yet many first-generation cloud products "force-fit" the cloud into existing server virtualization architecture, according to Dholakia. Citrix will be working with the open-source community to bring open, elastic scale-out infrastructures of leading infrastructure-as-a-service clouds to private clouds instead of giving them an "imitation cloud," Dholakia said.

Project Olympus will be composed of two components, a Citrix-certified version of OpenStack and a cloud-optimized version of Citrix XenServer. Both parts incorporate Xen, Citrix's own virtualization platform. It will support a wide range of infrastructure, management and development technologies to make it easy for customers to expand and build on the platform, Citrix said. To "reinforce" customer choice, Project Olympus will also support Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere in addition to Citrix XenDesktop.

"We're serious about open, about giving people choice, and leveraging the investments they have already made and so they don't get locked into the legacy server virtualization," said Dholakia.

Customers interested in other hypervisors can continue using OpenStack instead of Project Olympus.

Project Olympus will go together with Citrix NetScaler Cloud Gateway, which gives IT departments an easy and unified way to deliver a mix of software-as-a-service, Web and PC-based applications to end users. It will also work alongside NetScaler Cloud Bridge, which can be used to expand storage and computing capacity by extending the data center to an external cloud service.

Citrix also preintegrated Project Olympus with the Citrix Cloud Network fabric to ensure cloud performance, security and reliability, the company said. The built-in cloud networking capabilities will allow customers to utilize virtual switching and intelligent application delivery in networking-as-a-service models.

Customers interested in pilots and proof-of-concept deployments can join the Citrix Project Olympus Early Access Program and receive support from Dell and Rackspace. Rackspace will provide deployment services, training and ongoing customer support, and Rackspace Cloud Builders will be available to help deploy and support private or public OpenStack clouds in any data center. Dell will also be providing deployment software and optimized hardware platforms. Through the program, customers can start building scalable clouds, Citrix said. Early Access Program customers will receive Citrix Project Olympus beta software free of charge.

OpenStack began as a joint effort between Rackspace and NASA back in July 2010. The effort has since expanded to include more than 70 industry partners, including Citrix. OpenStack supports multiple virtualization hypervisor platforms, including Hyper-V, KVM and Xen. Canonical also recently announced that it will be basing its Ubuntu cloud platform on OpenStack.