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.
It strikes us that the Eucalyptus story of Public/Private cloud interoperability is strongly related to the dynamics around Public Cloud interoperability, and there are lessons to be learned from the momentum that Eucalyptus has gathered, for the wider debate around Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) API standards.
We have a series of posts (SpringSource/VMware, 3Tera, Eucalyptus, Hadoop/Cloudera…) about the application directly targeting a distributed virtual machine which is abstracting over the virtualization layer and/or operating system. Essentially these are targeted at those who are building or adapting applications for the cloud, rather than starting from the premise of a virtualization of existing infrastructures.
It must be said there is no clear model yet emerging for how you do this. The 3Tera solution is slick and allows you to define your infrastructure at a logical (application) level and grow or shrink your architecture graphically on commodity hardware, but ultimately there are limits to the horizontal scalability of the layers in the architecture that comprise your application. When we last looked at Eucalyptus it was driving in a similar direction with packaged VMs and its own scalable filesystem but wasn’t really dealing with the tiers of an application as logical entities.
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.
There’s been a lot of press around the FREE Ubuntu 9.10 Linux distribution as a client operating system, and a wide set of comparisons made (typically by Mac or PC-using journalists) between Ubuntu and Windows 7, but 9.10 is also interesting from a broader virtualization and especially Cloud perspective. Ubuntu is managed by a UK company, Canonical, through a bona-fide foundation. Ubuntu will always be free, and is aligned with the Debian community.
Open Source virtualization is not just about Xen and KVM any more. The innovation is now elsewhere, in companies like Eucalyptus Systems Inc., founded and venture-funded in 2009 and based in Santa-Barbara.
Eucalyptus Systems is a cloud computing company. Its product, Eucalyptus, is not in itself a Cloud, rather it is a software stack that when added to a standard virtualized data-center or co-located server network, turns it into a Cloud which looks exactly like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It is a “self-build” Amazon Cloud kit. Just add hypervisor.