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.