Joyent’s SmartDataCenter is the software that runs its public cloud, adding a management platform on top of its SmartOS thin server OS. A descendent of OpenSolaris that combines Zones containers and the KVM hypervisor, SmartOS is an in-memory operating system, quick to boot from a USB stick and run on bare-metal servers.
Using SmartOS, you can quickly deploy a set of lightweight servers that can be programmatically managed via a set of JSON APIs, with functionality delivered via virtual machines, downloaded by built-in image management tools. Through the use of VMs, all userland operations are isolated from the underlying OS, reducing the security exposure of both the host and guests.
SmartDataCenter runs on SmartOS servers, with one server running as a dedicated management node, and the rest of a cluster operating as compute nodes. You can get started with a Cloud On A Laptop build (available as a VMware virtual appliance) that lets you experiment with the management server. In a live data center, you’ll deploy SmartOS on your servers, using ZFS to handle storage – which includes your local image library. Services are deployed as images, with components stored in an object repository.
The combination of SmartDataCenter and SmartOS builds on the experience of Joyent’s public cloud, giving you a tried and tested set of tools that can help you bootstrap your own cloud data center. It’s an infrastructure focused on virtual machines today, but laying the groundwork for tomorrow. A related Joyent project, sdc-docker, exposes an entire SmartDataCenter cluster as a single Docker host, driven by native Docker commands.
-- Simon Bisson