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Amazon EC2 creator launches private cloud start-up

Nimbula turns any data center into an Amazon-style cloud service

By , Network World
June 23, 2010 11:01 AM ET

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"The build process is ongoing. As new nodes are introduced or retired, those resources are automatically discovered," Pinkham says.

Although Nimbula Director initially integrates with Xen and KVM, the technology is "fundamentally agnostic" and the company is working on integrating with VMware deployments, Pinkham says.

Businesses that use Nimbula Director will be able to offer virtual machine instances in any flavor they like, from Linux to Windows, while setting policies that determine how much compute and storage capacity VMs can consume. Unauthorized access is prevented with a built-in identity and permission system.

Nimbula's announcement explains that the "cloud control software isolates customers from the operational and hardware complexity associated with deploying compute in a static private data center. A RESTful HTTP API provides a simple and comprehensive interface to all aspects of cloud resource control. Cloud resources can also be managed via a command line interface (CLI) and web control panel, built on top of the API. Beneath the virtual data center abstraction sits a physical layer of storage, network and compute hardware managed by multilayer control software. Nimbula integrates a hypervisor (KVM and/or Xen) with node management software on each node to achieve automated deployment and configuration.”

Naturally, workloads that run on Nimbula Director can be moved into the Amazon EC2 cloud if overflow capacity is needed, according to Pinkham. Companies that have large populations of Web developers are Nimbula's most likely customers, he says.

One early customer is CIO Joubert Steyn of the Metropolitan Health Group, a health insurance company in South Africa.

MHG has installed Nimbula on just five physical servers so far, but intends to use the software on its VMware deployment. The company is testing the software out with some of its light healthcare applications and middleware products.

Steyn has not used EC2. "South Africa is still quite bandwidth-constrained," making it difficult to effectively use public cloud computing services," he says. "That's why we looked at some kind of a private product."

It took a week or so to deploy Nimbula, but "once we got it up and running, and configured correctly, the product has performed very well," Steyn says. "It's all the things cloud computing is going to give you – much better resource utilization, resource planning, and the ability to simplify the management of your infrastructure components."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.

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