This past week Cloud.com released the latest version of its open source Cloud OS, CloudStack. "CloudStack provides a turnkey cloud infrastructure software stack for delivering virtual datacenters as a service – delivering all of the essential components used to build, deploy, and manage multi-tier and multi-tenant cloud applications in a simple to install software package." What this really means that if you are setting up a cloud provider business, or even private and hybrid cloud offerings, CloudStack makes it almost a turnkey solution. Much like the C-panel and Plesk's of the hosting world in my day, Cloud.com can allow you to just add hardware and become a cloud provider.
CloudStack is an open source offering. Cloud.com is also one of the founding members of the OpenStack alliance as well. What this means exactly may be open to debate, but according to Cloud.com they are committed to integrating the "key components" of OpenStack into their products. Currently the elements of OpenStack supported by Cloud.com according to their website are:
OpenStack Storage: We've already begun working with customers on large implementations of OpenStack Storage, the object storage solution. From customization and commercialization of the code, we're able to provide support and implementation services for customers around this project.
OpenStack Compute: Cloud.com has already begun work with the project with contributed code to the OpenStack Compute project (formerly called Nova) that extends the footprint of the platform. In an effort to provide broad hypervisor support Cloud.com partnered with Microsoft to develop open source software to add support for the Hyper-V virtualization technologies as a result OpenStack now supports Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter/Enterprise for Hyper-V. This was introduced in the Bexar release and will continue to evolve in future releases.
The technology behind OpenStack Compute has seen significant progress since its initial launch and is ready for deployment. As with others in the community, integration into our existing platform will take time. We are actively working with the OpenStack
Last month during the RSA Conference in San Francisco I had a chance to sit down for lunch with Sheng Liang, CEO of Cloud.com. Sheng has been at this for a long time and was doing cloud before the hype set in. Sheng says that compliance is driving private cloud adoption. Amazon's public cloud offerings don't work for enterprise customers, especially from a security and compliance perspective.
Sheng said that private cloud give at least the perception of higher privacy and that this is why so many enterprises will opt for private clouds or some sort of hybrid approach in the present and near future. Looking five years out doesn't make any sense at this point, because so much is being changed and invented right now, it is impossible to say what the cloud computing landscape looks 5 years from now. Sheng has Cloud.com focused on what they need over the next 18 to 24 months.
Cloud.com and Sheng have both ideological and practical reasons to support open source. He thinks it is a huge differentiating factor and that open source is leading the cloud industry. Their commitment to open source remains strong.
Going forward we will see perhaps some non-open source products built on top of the open source CloudStack. What these will be and how they will work will remain to be seen, but Cloud.com is working on them.
In the meantime, the new version of the cloud OS features:
- Multi-Tenant cloud computing platform
- Compatible with Commodity or Enterprise Components
- Broad Hypervisor Support (Xenserver, KVM, VMware vSphere)
- Scalable Architecture (manage thousands of hosts and virtual machine guests)
- High Availability configurations to provide automatic fall-over for virtual machines
- Easy-to-Use AJAX-enabled web interface
- Configurable to deploy public, private and hybrid clouds
- Virtual Networking to segment network traffic into VLANs
- Robust API
- Amazon EC2 Compatibility layer
- Written in Java for proven reliability
- Ability to define service level definitions with specific resource footprints
- Open Source, available under the GPL version 3
Cloud.com is staking its claim as a leader in the cloud computing landscape. Its use and support of open source is a big reason for that success. We will keep an eye out for future developments.