Eucalytpus announced Version 3 of its open source IaaS (infrastructure as a service) software, which equips organizations with a way to build their own elastic, highly available AWS (Amazon Web Services)-compliant clouds. With new features like fault tolerance beneath the virtual machine layer, improved RAC (resource access control), and greater support for various cloud storage platforms, Eucalytpus 3 could well prove itself a go-to solution for companies seeking to reap the benefits of cloud computing.
Similar to OpenStack, Eucalyptus is open source, but it adheres to the AWS APIs, meaning organizations can leverage their AWS skills in-house, as well as third-party tools that integrate with AWS. For instance, a company might develop a large-scale application on AWS but decide to run the production version in-house for reasons of security, reliability, or cost. Eucalyptus eases that transition, while maintaining the ability to pool CPU and storage resources and dynamically allocate them to the application as the workload requires.
In addition to "bursty" Web applications, other common use cases include shared software development, test environments, and elastic clouds for big data processing and high performance computing. Eucalyptus also paves the way toward moving workloads between an internal data center back to AWS, aka the hybrid cloud, but the company acknowledges that is not a common scenario today.
High availability is a must in any cloud implementation, and the risk of downtime increases as an organization unites private and public clouds as it increases the number of failure points. Eucalyptus claims that Version 3 is built to allow no single points of failure, though: If a system crash occurs due to, say, disk-drive failure, memory corruption, or some kind of network or power outage, the software immediately triggers a failover to a "hot space" service running concurrently on a different physical machine.
Guaranteeing this sort of VM hot swap will be smooth, fast, and completely transparent is quite bold, but Eucalyptus claims that failures will affect neither user experience nor SLA uptime requirements.
Eucalyptus has also injected Version 3 with RAC enhancements, enabling administrators to finely tune user group management. There is, for example, support for the AWS Identity and Access Management API, which expands IT's control of groups of users beyond the private cloud.