Cloud control systems tame the ether

3tera, Enomaly, Kaavo, and RightScale take myriad and mixed approaches to managing virtual servers in the sky

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3tera's version of cloud services is a "virtual private datacenter" (VPDC), executing on hardware hosted by 3tera itself. Pricing for a VPDC depends on a mixture of factors -- CPU, RAM, and storage requirements. Or, if you already have hardware in place and want to construct your own AppLogic installation, you can purchase an Enterprise AppLogic License. In either case, you should contact 3tera for details.

Enomaly ECP

Enomaly's Elastic Computing Platform (ECP) is not a tool for deploying to existing clouds such as Amazon Web Services. Like AppLogic, Enomaly ECP is a tool for building your own clouds. It is erected on a set of open source virtualization applications and APIs. You can construct your own cluster of systems, install ECP, and use its UI to manage the configuration, storage, and deployment of virtual machines. At its core is Enomalism, a virtual-machine management system written in Python that uses MySQL as back-end storage.

[ Ready to take a step into AWS but not sure where to begin? Read InfoWorld's "Inside Amazon Web Services" and  "Hooking your apps into Amazon Web Services."]

The ECP user interface is a console that operates the mechanics of the tool's underlying system, which is, in turn, undergirded by the open source libvirt virtualization API. libvirt is a C toolkit that allows applications to communicate with the Linux kernel's virtualization capabilities, and thereby control hypervisors running on the system. The hypervisor is the virtualization software that allows a computer to host one or more OSes -- each in its own virtual environment. Currently, libvirt supports Xen, QEMU, KVM, VirtualBox, and others. (For more information, see libvirt.org.)

Currently, there are three versions of ECP: the free, community edition (which I tested); the Enterprise edition; and the new Cloud Service Provider edition, which adds usage accounting and billing integration to the user interface. Check the Enomaly Web site for details of the editions' differences.

ECP's management console is arranged along the same lines as the other consoles in the roundup. It is browser-based, with tabs for each of the major functions. The console opens to the obligatory Dashboard, which is really a transaction monitoring page. All operations performed in the console are transactions. They can be issued asynchronously, and some may take minutes to complete, so the Dashboard lets you monitor their progress.

The Virtual Infrastructure tab leads to three control areas. First, the Infrastructure control provides a navigation pane for all the clusters in your cloud. Select a cluster, and you can view all its assigned virtual machines. Buttons across the top let you start, stop, pause, or delete a virtual machine within the cluster.

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The Enomaly control panel’s infrastructure tab shows virtual machines assigned to specific machine clusters.
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