First-ever test of public cloud management wares

RightScale, Tap In Systems and Cloudkick allow IT to monitor and manage public cloud resources

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Also, we could terminate or reboot the instances (without agents installed) from within the Cloudkick Web interface.

Cloudkick doesn't really provide the capability to launch new instances via its management service. The only images available that can be launched through Cloudkick on Amazon EC2 are Ubuntu 8.04 and 9.10. Although it is possible to use a custom AMI ID (Amazon Machine Image ID) to launch new instances, we couldn't setup or choose a ssh key pair or security group.

This means that we couldn't ssh into our instance or if we have certain ports we wanted open, we have to go into Amazon's console to change its default "Cloudkick" security group (the keypair can't be changed once an instance is launched). Therefore launching its EC2 images are useless without knowing the passwords. And since most AMIs use only a ssh RSA key to connect, it was basically not possible to connect to Cloudkick's provisioned instance. (And we couldn't use the Web terminal either since we couldn't connect to install the key.)

We found it's easier to create instances through Amazon's AWS console. This part of Cloudkick's control process needs work. Instance launching via Cloudkick seemed to work better on Rackspace than Amazon.

Overall, the main idea behind Cloudkick's application is to put all your cloud information in one place and be able to monitor it, but Cloudkick still has a ways to go before it works well enough for IT administrators.

Henderson is managing director and Brendan Allen is a researcher for ExtremeLabs, of Bloomington, Ind. Henderson can be reached at

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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