The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Eucalyptus

Amazon’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) is so narrowly-drawn that it could easily be argued that the recent Elastic Block Store (EBS) outage wasn’t a failure of Amazon Web Services at all. Anyone using EBS in a production environment was, arguably, reaping the fruits of their own folly. Of course they don’t tell you when you read the hype that architecting for resilience in the Cloud is actually very complicated, particularly if you want to take the sensible step of not relying on a single provider like Amazon, no-matter how dominant their hype may be.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

IT as a Service Reference Architecture

Implementing IT as a Service requires a virtualization platform, and virtualization aware configuration and change management, secure multi-tenancy, provisioning and lifecycle management, orchestration and automation, and service catalog. These capabilities are available from VMware, DynamicOps, Embotics, Eucaplyptus, ManageIQ, newScale, Quest, rPath and Reflex Systems.

The question of whether and how to replace DRS is really a part of the question of what is in the virtualization platform and what is not. Clearly the virtualization platform consists of much more than the hypervisor. VMware would like to define the virtualization platform as all of vSphere Enterprise Plus, and then suggest that vCloud Director and its own performance management solutions are logical extensions of that platform. Enterprises need to be careful about where they draw their own lines in this regard. As VMware is a clear market leader both in terms of product functionality and enterprise installations, VMware needs to be given full credit for the quality of vSphere and its success. However full credit does not need to imply that one is 100% locked in to VMware solution as there is room to pursue third party IT as a Service, Performance Management, and Service Assurance strategies as well as replace/augment components in vSphere.

Is VMware vCloud Director an effective Enterprise IT as a Service Platform?

vCloud Director is a good start at an IT as a Service platform for enterprises looking for a VMware specific solution that does not integrate with existing physical or non-VMware provisioning mechanisms. Enterprises looking for IT as a Service solutions that span multiple virtualization platforms and that span provisioning across virtual and physical resources should look at alternatives from Platform Computing DynamicOps, newScale, Embotics, Euclyptus, ManageIQ and rPath as these vendors all offer heterogeneous enterprise class IT as a Service platforms.

We’ve been following Eucalyptus over a series of posts, and recently seen the company strengthen its management team with the appointment of new CEO Marten Mickos the (only) ex-CEO of MySQL. This week they have released a new version of the Eucalyptus product, Version 2.0. which carries some of his strategy, particularly in putting clear water between the Open Source and the Enterprise version of the product.

We recently received a presentation on a combined solution from Eucalyptus and Terracotta. Initially we were suspicious because they clearly share an investor – Benchmark Capital. Was this a PowerPoint integration dreamt up by two Venture Capitalists over a power breakfast? However, the combined solution was presented by some very plausible techies with a real-live demo and does look as though it starts to provide a generally-useful abstraction over which to deploy scalable applications (specifically Java stacks), and it too works with commodity hardware. It’s not as slick as the 3Tera solution, more of a command-line approach, but it potentially has the edge in scalability.

The acquisition of 3Tera by Computer Associates signals an intent to move beyond traditional Systems Management, into something that may almost be viewed as Operating System: a layer of software called AppLogic that sits above the virtualization stack, and provides a consolidated abstraction against which composite applications may be built within the Cloud. Essentially the AppLogic layer deals with the nuts and bolts of configuring and connecting virtual machines, all you do is choose from a menu of virtual appliances you want, and use a visual interface to show how the appliances interconnect at a software level.