OpenStack HyperV Interoperability Not Impressive

The OpenStack community isn't impressed by interoperability of Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor with the OpenStack open source cloud project.

The OpenStack community isn't impressed by the interoperability work of Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor with the OpenStack open source cloud project.

The dissatisfaction were noted in a ReadWriteCloud story and a Computerworld story, both citing comments by developers working on the project.  Thierry Carrez of the OpenStack community calls the Hyper-V code was described as "broken and unmaintained."  

The OpenStack community is currently dealing with OpenStack's update, the "Essex" release. Hyper-V might be considered unsupported with that release.  When asked about the status of OpenStack support, a Microsoft spokesperson write in an 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 a data sheet (PDF). The project's origins stem from NASA's cloud computing efforts in collaboration with Rackspace, a cloud hosting company. The OpenStack community says it supports 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 where co-existence between Linux and Windows Server is needed in mixed computing environments. The company has funded some Apache Software Foundation projects. In the case of OpenStack, an Apache project, Microsoft set up a partnership with Cloud.com on Oct. 22, 2010 to make 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.

Cloud.com was a builder of hypervisor-agnostic cloud infrastructure solutions, but the company was acquired by Citrix Systems on July 12, 2011. At the time, Citrix announced 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."

It's possible that the Cloud.com effort associated with Hyper-V and OpenStack interoperability was lost in the shuffle. In response to a query, Peder Ulander, vice president of product marketing for the Cloud Platforms Group at Citrix and the former chief marketing officer at Cloud.com pointed out: "Last year, Microsoft contracted with Rackspace and Cloud.com to make Hyper-V available as a supported platform within OpenStack.  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 Microsoft backed is OpenNebula. It 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 several ideas about how an open cloud platform might be constructed. Although 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.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.