Webinar Q&A: Citrix CloudPlatform for Service Providers: It Just Works!

Last month Appcore partnered with Citrix to host our latest webinar, Citrix CloudPlatform for Service Providers: It Just Works. During the webinar, we discussed various topics including the competitive cloud landscape, the benefits of Citrix CloudPlatform for service providers and the pitfalls to avoid when deploying a cloud.

During the question and answer section of the webinar, there were various questions about Citrix CloudPlatfrom and Appcore. Below we have outlined these questions and their answers in order to give you a deeper insight into our partnership with Citrix and how our software enhances the Citrix product portfolio.

1. What is the difference between Citrix CloudPlatform and Apache CloudStack?

Often times people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. The main distinction between the two is that Citrix provides commercial support for Citrix CloudPlatform including product maintenance and troubleshooting/issue resolution. Where as, Apache CloudStack is supported by a community of users and individual developers.

As of today, Apache CloudStack 4.2 and Citrix CloudPlatfrom are designed from the same code base and include a similar feature set. Going forward, Citrix may begin to add extension/features to CloudPlatform that aren’t in the Apache CloudStack code base currently.

2. Can you quantify how widespread the use of Citrix CloudPlatform and Apache CloudStack are currently? How many installs in comparison with OpenStack?

According to Geralyn Miller, Senior Alliance Marketing Manager of Citrix, there are currently over 250 paying users of Citrix CloudPlatfrom. The implementation of Apache CloudStack ranges from companies as large as Disney, Apple and Softlayer to much smaller deployments with just a few virtual machines. In our latest blog post, Why Did Appcore Chose Citrix CloudPlatform over OpenStack, we outlined some specific reasons why we chose to partner with Citrix including their support of the Apache CloudStack community.

Appcore alone has deployed over 30 service provider cloud using Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform. Appcore architects cloud environments for service providers, and there are other companies in the market that also implement clouds for enterprise customers so it is hard to say the total number of users.  To view a full list of users according to the Apache Foundation, click here.

3. Can I migrate from vCloud Director to Citrix CloudPlatform? If yes, how?

A large portion of our customer base have a hybrid environment with resources between vCloud Director and Citrix CloudPlatform. CloudPlatform is capable of working with both VMware and vSphere as a hypervisor so you can still utilize your vSphere environment with CloudPlatfrom.

As of today, due to the complexity of identifying variables within the environment including virtual machines, storage and networking there isn’t an automated, push button migration tool to simply import all of your existing virtual machines into CloudPlatform; today the migration process is manual. Our recommendation is to run a hybrid environment as you cycle through virtual machines. This allows both environments to share resources which eases the transition between the two, making it seamless for your customers.

4. How do you define admin automation?

What Appcore means by this term is automating the day-to-day admin tasks. For example, as an admin you start your day by logging into your cloud to access high level cloud information immediately. Appcore AMP allows you to view resources being used, various warning and alerts while removing the “grunt work” from managing a cloud. As an admin, you no longer have to manually provision volumes or manually configure virtual machines. Instead you have pre-configured templates that are accessible or you can easily create standard configuration that can be spun up on demand to create new networks, complicated site-to-site VPN setups, etc through an automated process. The goal is to automate these routine day-to-day tasks of the administrator.

Appcore AMP was designed to focus on simplifying the everyday tasks of administrators. Dealing with service providers since Appcore was founded in 2008 has given us insight into what is important to the administrator and how to make their lives easier. Appcore has focused on the development of Appcore AMP and how it integrates with Citrix CloudPlatform around the features most important to the administrator.

5. For Hosted Private Cloud implementations, where a service provider is expected to provide dedicated physical compute, what are the best deployment models? Do you deploy one Citrix CloudPlatform environment with multiple customers or one CloudPlatform per customer? Which is the best and why?

There are two very straight forward ways to handle dedicated compute resources

1. Citrix CloudPlatform has the capability within it to dedicate individual hosts machines to a specific account or a domain, which is a grouping of accounts. This dedicated compute solution is best for small cloud environments where the customer only needs one or two hosts and they don’t need a separate management stack.

2. If you have a customer that needs a larger set of dedicated resources, including dedicated storage, dedicated networking outside of the public cloud, then it makes sense to deploy a fully separate management stack outside of the existing public cloud. This model is ideal for any enterprise with regulatory or data protection concerns and provides the flexibility necessary to meet their needs.

6. What hypervisor does Citrix CloudPlatform support?

Right now Citrix CloudPlatform and Apache CloudStack both support KVM, XenServer, VMware through vSphere, Oracle VM and a recent addition of HyperV.

7. How scalable is Citrix CloudPlatform/Apache CloudStack? What is the largest install?

From our understanding, the largest install is over 40,000 host machines. The scalability of the software is impressive as you can set up a cluster of management machines that can be load balanced. The management itself is very streamlined and efficient. You can also set up hierarchies of your management as well through the concept of regions, allowing you to have multiple pools of management, each with their own dedicated management server - which each operate independently so if there is a failure it doesn’t effect your entire cloud.    

We know there are a lot of choices in the market when choosing a cloud provider to implement as a service provider, hopefully this blog post answered some common questions you may have had. If you want to view the full webinar recording, click here to do so.

photo credit: Enderst07