Intel-backed start-up tries to connect enterprise IT to the "cloud"

Enomaly's "Virtual Private Cloud" addresses hypervisor lock-in

Enomaly says its virtualization management software will integrate enterprise data centers with commercial cloud computing offerings.

A start-up called Enomaly has developed virtualization management software that it claims will integrate enterprise data centers with commercial cloud computing offerings to form a single "virtual private cloud" that manages and governs both internal and external resources from a single console.

Founded in 2004 as a consulting company, Enomaly dropped its consulting business in early October to focus solely on its software efforts, which began in 2005 with an open source management tool that runs on top of the Xen hypervisor.

The vendor's primary offering now is the Enomaly Elastic Computing Platform (ECP), which co-founder and chief technologist Reuven Cohen says can manage multiple hypervisors and provide better integration with Internet-based services such as Amazon's EC2, which offers on-demand computing capacity. Enomaly also makes it easier to move workloads on virtual machines from one data center to another, even if separated by wide distances, Cohen says.

"The economic collapse is leading companies to look at alternatives to buying large amounts of infrastructure," Cohen says.

Intel helped bankroll the company's product development and is jointly building a next-generation content distribution engine with Enomaly, a custom system that Intel will market to its own customers, says Jake Smith, a technologist with Intel's server product group. (Compare server products.)

With ECP, Enomaly says, enterprises manage their own virtual servers and remotely accessed computing capacity with "an intuitive, browser-based dashboard [that] makes it easy for IT personnel to efficiently plan deployments, automate [virtual machine] scaling and load-balancing; and, analyze, configure and optimize cloud capacity."

Enomaly supports the Xen hypervisor, will support VMware within a few weeks and Microsoft's Hyper-V in 2009, Cohen says. Hypervisors lack migration capabilities that make it easy to move applications to services like Amazon EC2, and thus can be augmented with Enomaly's software to become more flexible, Cohen argues.

"They don't look at networking beyond their own infrastructure," Cohen says of the industry's major hypervisor vendors. "They assume you're going to stick within the context of their particular platform. In reality, there is a heterogeneous environment."

Because Enomaly is vendor-agnostic, the software provides the ability to bring into the cloud whatever virtual machine is best suited to run a particular application, an attribute Intel needs for its content distribution engine, Smith of Intel says.

Smith views Enomaly as a "cloud compute infrastructure built for cloud operators or those who want to operate their environment in the cloud from day one."

But he says VMware is better positioned than Enomaly to help enterprises bridge the gap between data centers and externally accessed cloud services.

"Just because you can do it technically doesn't mean you have production customers who have done that with you to date," Smith says. "Technically, Intel can build an 81-core chip but it doesn't mean we have it commercially available in production."

Enomaly says ECP provides the following benefits:

• Ability to combine many servers into a "single, seamless, sharable cloud."

• Automatically scale during times of high demand by accessing both "local and remote clouds."

• Partition public computing utilities such as Amazon EC2 into a quarantined private cloud.

• Ability to make data center resources rapidly available to any application, and ensure instant recovery and live maintenance of applications.

The open source download is available at Enomaly's Web site, and the company sells support and add-ons. About a half-dozen paying customers are using prototype installations of the technology, Cohen says, while many more use the open source software for free.

There are about 1,000 users in a beta program, including Microsoft, Oracle, GE, VeriSign and the U.S. Department of Energy, according to a 451 Group analyst report on Enomaly. Prototype projects include Intel's content delivery network and projects at France Telecom and Rackspace

Cohen got his start in 1998 when he founded video streaming company Graphic Substance, and says he helped create the Napster interface. Most of his video streaming customers were in the World Trade Center, and thus his business ended after Sept. 11. Cohen then became involved in open source and content management, spending a few years as a freelance consultant before co-founding Enomaly.

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