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My thoughts on Apache CloudStack’s graduation

Today was a great milestone for Apache CloudStack. If you haven’t seen the news (but yet somehow have come across this blog post???) the Apache Software Foundation announced that CloudStack had graduated from the Incubator as a top-level project. While in many ways it marks the end of a number of personal and project goals, it’s also just another milepost along the journey.

I’ve been working on CloudStack since most folks knew it as ‘Cloud.com’, and it’s amazing to see the difference over the space of a couple of years. I’ve been involved with several open source projects for a number of years, and I knew of the ASF by reputation, but had no personal experience. I spent weeks reading the documentation on the website when we first began discussing the potential for a move to the ASF, and I rapidly became both impressed and afraid. Impressed, because I saw codified in front of me the most transparent and open expectations of anything I’d been involved in. I suddenly appreciated why the ASF had the reputation it did. Afraid because the magnitude of change was incredible. The transformation hasn’t been perfectly smooth, I even questioned if the dramatic change would be so much as to be overly disruptive. Many folks have written of how dramatic it is to open source a project – but to take a project that was open source but still heavily commercially governed and move that to the Apache Software Foundation, is both extremes of the open source spectrum.

Many people will write about the tremendous growth in community numbers, the more interesting story to me is the tremendous growth of community responsibility, over 50% of the Project Management Committee don’t work for Citrix. Of course committers and PMC members are expected to behave as individuals, and in the best of interest of the project, but that amount of diversity in a short time is impressive. I also find it fascinating just how many folks who are participating are CloudStack users; they have truly taken ownership and responsibility for their IaaS platform. What does graduation mean from my perspective? A number of different things, but most poignantly, it means that we have met the expectations of our mentors, the Incubator, and the Apache Software Foundation. I am excited about the future. I have no delusions that for many, or even most of our users, our graduation has little or no immediate impact. It does have an impact for the project, as we shift our focus forward, and I think that will tremendously benefit our users. I think that you’ll continue to see impressive things from Apache CloudStack, we’re really only getting started.

A couple of words of thanks to folks

I can’t express how wonderful our mentors were. They understood the process, they saw the challenges, they stepped in where appropriate and let us find the solution when we needed to. I’ve walked away thoroughly impressed at both the individuals as well as the incubation process in general, I am sure it can be improved, but struggle to think of anyone doing it better.

The folks at Apache Infrastructure – they are doing an incredible and impossible job – supporting well over 100 top level projects including such behemoths as Hadoop, Maven, and now CloudStack; dealing with plenty of inbound incubator projects, some of which, like CloudStack, have years of history, and thus plenty of baggage to bring with them. Thanks for the immense amount of help you folks have provided.