The Free Cloud Alliance was formed to show that companies can build a cloud-based infrastructure using open source products, according to Jean-Paul Smets, CEO at Nexedi. The members also want to work toward cloud services that provide the same operational benefits offered by, for example, Amazon, but at the same time give users access to the source code and their data in its native form, Smets said.
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"If you have access to the source code and your data in its native form you don't run the risk of being locked in to one vendor," said Smets.
The products offered by the Free Cloud Alliance include the NiftyName Virtual Datacenter and Block Storage Server from IELO; Xtreem Storage Server from Mandriva; Neo Storage Server and SLAP Cloud Engine from Nexedi; and the OEM Platform from TioLive, a Nexedi subsidiary.
All the products are "free as in beer and free as in freedom," according to the Free Cloud Alliance Web site. Users get access to the source code and pay for enterprise support, if they need it.
NiftyName Virtual Datacenter provides a platform for anyone who wants to offer infrastructure as a service. Site setup is provided for €4,000 ($5,400) and enterprise support costs €500 per node and year.
The SLAP (Simple Languages for Accounting and Provisioning) Cloud Engine is used to automatically share and manage server resources, which can be available on either virtual or physical servers. Enterprise support costs from €50 per year and server.
TioLive's OEM Platform can be used by companies that want to create an ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer resource management) application and offer it as a service. Enterprise support is available at €5,000 per seat and year.
The Alliance is looking for more open source software publishers that want to become members. To join they will need a strong belief in software freedom, just like the current members, said Smets.