Eucalyptus open source cloud aims at simpler management

A new version of the AWS-friendly cloud platform also yields broader storage support

Building on its strong ties to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Eucalyptus today unveiled the latest update to its open source cloud computing platform, adding expanded AWS storage compatibility as well as features to speed up installation and simplify management via a new GUI with self-service capabilities.

In discussing Version 3.2 of Eucalyptus' private and hybrid-cloud software with InfoWorld, company CEO Marten Mickos reiterated what he sees as one of the company's key advantages over rivals such as OpenStack: its unique partnership with Amazon that has enabled Eucalyptus to bake Amazon-API functionality natively into its product. Mickos has predicted that, just as IBM created the industry standard for the PC back in the 1970s, Amazon has created the industry standard for the cloud that will shape the market for years to come. He's confident AWS is the right horse to attach to the Eucalyptus wagon.

"We're just dead certain that the Amazon paradigm will be dominant in the cloud industry for the next 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years," Mickos said.

Eucalyptus customers ought not expect the company to roll out similar levels of support for AWS public cloud rivals anytime soon. But "any public cloud that reaches 20 to 25 percent market share, we will support," he said. "Whoever the next major player after Amazon will be, we will go about supporting them. Today, Amazon has 90 percent of the market or something."

Release 3.2 isn't focused entirely on AWS, mind. In this go-round, the company aimed to simplify installation and management of Eucalyptus. "We've traditionally been focused on advanced features before usability," Mickos said. "We are now achieving and striving to achieve simplicity on the far side of complexity."

That includes adding automation of key processes, troubleshooting, and resolving performance issues, as well as adding reporting features on cloud usage.

Specifically, Version 3.2 includes a new GUI designed to enable self-service provisioning of compute, network, and storage resources. The console allows users to perform self-service operations, according to Eucalyptus, including the provisioning of instances, keypair and password creation, Elastic Block Store (EBS) volume and snapshot operations, image catalog listing and registration, user group operations, and elastic IP operations.

The new release also provides deeper automation of the cloud installation process and guided configuration of cloud components, Mickos said. Users can now install all systems from a single ISO image with multiple install modes; alternatively, they can choose the Cloud-in-a-Box mode, designed to install and configure Eucalyptus on a single system for, say, demo or developer uses.

Also new: enhancements on cloud-usage reporting. The software provides chargeback data, so admins can report on cloud compute, storage, and memory usage at the user, group, and cloud levels, according to the company. What's more, admins can now generate and export reports via the Eucalyptus Dashboard, API, or command line.

Deployment and management improvements aside, Eucalyptus used this new release as an opportunity to improve the software's interoperability with third-party offerings. For example, the company has hardened the product's node controller to increase stability by insulating Eucalyptus cloud instance from underlying issues affecting Linux. This ensures the node and applications will remain running even if the host operating system is experiencing problems, according to the company.

Eucalyptus has also broadened its storage support with the introduction of two new adapters. The JBOD storage adapter overlays AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) functionality atop of raw block devices and JBODs, providing full support of AWS EBS API operations, according to the company. The company added a new adapter that supports EMC's VNX Series SANs for EBS. "We did it specifically because customers were asking for it, and we had a quick time table," Mickos said. "EMC did not come out with new API release until a few months ago."

Eucalyptus 3.2 will be available on Dec. 11.

This story, "Eucalyptus open source cloud aims at simpler management," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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