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Citrix Systems has purchased Silicon Valley startup Cloud.com as part of its effort to help customers build, deploy, and manage Amazon-style "infrastructure clouds".

On Tuesday, Citrix announced the purchase of the three-year-old, 50-person, venture-funded startup for an undisclosed sum. The deal is believed to be worth $500m.

The deal gives Citrix access to the engineering expertise behind Cloud.com as well as a claimed 65 customers, who include Facebook-game maker Zynga, Tata Communications, and Korean landline and mobile phone giant KT.

Cloud.com provides the CloudStack software that lets you pool virtual machine hypervisors and turn your existing data center into an Amazon EC2–like cloud for private or public use.

Cloud.com's CloudStack software works with the VMware vSphere, Xen, and KVM hypervisors, although 90 per cent of its deployments are on top of Xen.

Citrix has placed its bets on Xen, having bought the commercial operation supporting the open source virtualization XenSource in 2007 for $500m. Citrix said on Monday that CloudStack would continue to support vSphere and KVM.

CloudStack will be placed inside a new cloud-computing unit within Citrix: the Cloud Platform Group, which will be run by general manager Sameer Dholakia.

Dholakia joined Citrix as chief executive of VMLogix, the virtualization automation and management specialist bought by Citrix in August 2010. Dholakia, who reports to Citrix CEO Mark Templeton, will also oversee Citrix's work with the open source OpenStack project under the aegis of Project Olympus, announced in May.

Becoming part of Citrix will also mean that Cloud.com gets additional manpower and resources needed to enhance OpenStack projects involving networking or storage.

Cloud.com chief marketing officer and now Citrix vice president of products Peder Ulander told The Reg: "We have focused on customers. Now we have the commitment and resources on OpenStack and from Citrix to look for better ways to move it forward."

This is the second big acquisition by members of the OpenStack effort. Project leader Rackspace bought Anso Labs earlier this year, borging the engineering brains who designed the core compute fabric portion of OpenStack.

OpenStack is now home to more than 65 companies, including Microsoft, Dell, and Canonical as well as Rackspace and Citrix. There has been concern that Rackspace was coming to dominate OpenStack in the wake of buying Anso, given that the pair cofounded OpenStack and both had seats on the old, four-member project-oversight committee. Citrix held the fourth seat.

Asked whether we should be concerned that Citrix is indulging in a little OpenStack consolidation, Ulander said the deal would help to move OpenStack forward, to make it more mature. "You will see a lots of consolidation in the cloud space in general," he said.

Ulander ruled out the idea of Citrix offering its own cloud service following the deal, saying Citrix did not want to compete with customers like Amazon and that it will stick to selling people the software they want to build their own clouds. Amazon is a large customer of Citrix's NetScaler application-acceleration software. ®

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