Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OpenStack, Amazon WS APIs and Eucalpytus

OpenStack has been gaining a lot of momentum. There is little to dispute this. When you install OpenStack, you get a private cloud solution that builds on top of libvirt to support Xen Server, KVM, VMWare, HyperV, and many more hypervisors. What a lot of people do not realize is that OpenStack speaks Amazon WS REST APIs. OpenStack supports EC2, and S3 and a lot more as well as its own OpenStack REST APIs. In fact the install guide for OpenStack even has you download euca2ools (from the Eucalyptus) and this is what you use to spin up instances and manage EC2, S3, EBS, virtual networking and more.

OpenStack does not fight with the 800 lbs Gorilla. It adopts it, and adapts it. It re-purposes it.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

CloudStack vs. OpenStack: real versus emerging

One overlooked trend in cloud computing is CloudStack. The CloudStack framework is a bit of an outlier if you will as it just doesn't seem to get the media attention as the other solutions, yet is much more mature and battle hardened.

What CloudStack lacks in hype it makes up for in real deployments and real world use. It is not something in the works. It works. It escapes the vaporware pattern that is so common in the cloud space. 

Here is a framework that a lot of cloud hosting providers use because they can private label it. It's really hard to gauge the impact of CloudStack on the market as cloud hosting providers can white label it. It's hard to tell they are actually using it, but they are.

CloudStack, open source software written in Java,  allows management and deployment of large networks of virtual machines. CloudStack supports hypervisors VMware, Oracle VM (Xen variant), KVM, XenServer and Xen Cloud Platform.

CloudStack provides a AJAX RIA web interface, command line and a full-featured RESTful API. It even provides a compatibility layer with Amazon Web services so that you can use the REST interfaces from EC2 and S3 with CloudStack. This is important as Amazon WS REST interface is so pervasive. It is the current lingua franca of cloud computing. It is the very pervasiveness of Amazon's REST interface that encourages companies to rally around OpenStack.

Now while OpenStack is the media darling, as of November 2011, there is only one public cloud that is offering OpenStack and its not even RackSpace. OpenStack is the one everyone's talking about. CloudStack is actually the one that everyone's using. If you're not Amazon WS and you decide to provide cloud hosting there's a good chance you're using CloudStack. There are few players outside the top five that provide cloud hosting that are not using CloudStack. It's pretty pervasive. GoDaddy.com recently decided to offer cloud hosting and guess who they are using that's right they are using CloudStack.

Why would GoDaddy.com pick CloudStack as well as 60+ other smaller cloud hosting players? It could be because "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."

If you are setting up a public cloud hosting, or even private and hybrid cloud offerings, CloudStack makes it almost a turnkey solution. CloudStack is like C-Panel or Plesk but for cloud hosting, and hybrid cloud solutions providers instead of hostings providers of yore. Just add the hardware and you are now a cloud provider.

Cloud computing is very much like sex in high school. Everyone's talking about it and few people are actually doing it. But of the people that are actually doing things with private cloud computing, hosted cloud computing and public cloud computing, a lot of them are using CloudStack.

It is not just public cloud hosting where CloudStack is ruling the roost of solutions. RighScale supports CloudStack (Cloud.com) via its myCloud private cloud solution. RightScale provides a single pane of glass on private and public cloud computing, i.e., hybrid cloud computing. One of their products can either use Eucalyptus or CloudStack (Cloud.com) that product is called myCloud.

Zynga created one of the most famous hybrid clouds in existence. Although there aren't really that many of them in existence and certainly not many at this scale. Zynga seems to be a real innovator when it comes to cloud computing and scalability. You may not have heard of Zynga. They created Farmville. And I'm quite sure if you use Facebook and you had any relatives over the age of 50 you have heard of Farmville. With their incessant invitations to join their farm collectives.

Zynga hybrid cloud is called Z Cloud. Zynga uses CloudStack (Cloud.com), and RightScale. If their instances are at capacity they can also spin up servers running on Amazon WS (EC2) to take some of the load. Zynga can save money by hosting apps on their own infrastructure, find a baseline and buy to that baseline, but if/when games go viral and they need more capacity, they can move servers to Amazon EC2 to handle the extra load. RightScale provides the single pane of glass interface for both Zynga’s public EC2 resources and private CloudStack (Cloud.com) resources. This is possible because of CloudStack's CloudBridge that supports Amazon WS REST interfaces.

If you are thinking of deploying a private cloud or a hybrid cloud, CloudStack is a solution that you can use today. OpenStack is an emerging solution that you will be able to use some day. You will need to see where OpenStack is in six months, and since OpenStack is a standard not a product, you will need to find products that have the features sets you need.

This is not to say that OpenStack does not have potential, because it does. It is just to say you can't deploy potential to production. If you need to deploy something soon, then CloudStack is a good pick.

Cloud.com, the original company behind CloudStack, was an early adopter of OpenStack and one of the founding alliance members. Citrix, who bought Cloud.com, is also an OpenStack alliance member. Cloud.com was working on adding OpenStack REST APIs to CloudStack prior to the acquisition. Citrix plans on continuing this work, and working on Project Olympus which is a solution focused solely on OpenStack. Thus Citrix will have two products that support OpenStack: Project Olympus and Citrix CloudStack.

Since CloudStack will be supporting OpenStack and it is a product you can use today, it seems like a good pick today. Also its support of OpenStack will make it a good pick for the future.

According to Citrix's blog: "CloudStack and OpenStack are highly synergistic by design. They share the same core principles, architectures and beliefs about how real clouds should be built. Bringing them together in this acquisition is a key part of our strategy."

CloudStack core features from Cloud.com site.

Core 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 fail-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
CloudStack Architecture

Check back here for more thoughts on OpenStack and CloudStack.

Thanks for reading.

Mammatus Tech provides cloud computing consulting and training.
Please come check us out. We are offering a course on cloud computing for executives that shows the ROI and economics of cloud computing as well as strategies for adoption and how cloud computing can change your whole IT ecosystem.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Research: Doing some research on Virtualization...

Document Details | Virtual Reality Check - Phase II v1.0 | Project VRC (Virtual Reality Check)

Xen vs. KVM Linux virtualization hypervisors

Xen vs KVM? - Hosting Discussion

Comparison of platform virtual machines - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

virtualization.info | Benchmarks: vSphere 4.0 vs XenServer 5.5 vs Hyper-V R2 for Terminal Services and VDI workloads

XenServer (citrix) vs ESXi (vmware) vs Xen (opensource) - Xi6.org

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Virtualization wars: VMware vs. Hyper-V vs. XenServer vs. KVM

This article, Virtualization wars: VMware vs. Hyper-V vs. XenServer vs. KVM, is a good write up about what is happening in the Virtualization wars.

"This flurry of improvements is in addition to progress Hyper-V has been making against ESX in licenses issued. Hyper-V grew 62% last year compared to ESX's 21% growth and Citrix's 25%, according to IDC. Separately, Gartner projects that by next year Hyper-V will account for 27% of the market, up from 11% two years ago. Within that projected 27%, Gartner says Microsoft will have captured 85% of all businesses with less than 1,000 employees that use virtual servers."

It looks like Microsoft is making some inroads for MS shops. The trick is talking about market share when a lot of virtualization solutions are free. Xen usage is bigger than just Citrix market share. What is the total mindshare for Xen? It seems most public cloud hosting environments pick Xen and then KVM. (And then ESXi).

I find market share hard to discuss. But, it is hard to gauge mindshare. Amazon WS uses a highly customized XenServer. I'd say that have cornered the market on cloud computing mindshare.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Thinking Out Cloud: Predictions

Thinking Out Cloud predictions.

Predictions with out time-lines are fairly useless. Cars will drive themselves. They will all be electric and many people will own flying cars.
As long as I never put a date on it, of course it will very likely come true in the distant future.

Despite this. Let me address a few things.

  1. PaaS Rules : No IaaS providers keep adding PaaS support and the lines between IaaS and PaaS are fairly blurry. Plus you have all of the not so great PaaS providers, who are not much more than window dressing on AWS, over promising what equates mostly to vaporware. Believe nothing you read in a press release. More on this later. There are real PaaS providers, but there are also a lot of clowns. The market will sort them out. All big IaaS players will offer PaaS features. Not all PaaS providers will survive the next few years.
  2. Public Rules: "Internal clouds will be niche. In the long-run, Internal Clouds (clouds operated in a company's own data centers, aka "private clouds") don't make sense." Again... when is this exactly going to happen? Right now they are a pretty big niche like 80% of the market. Your faith in the pace of change is outstanding. Did you read the 2011 Cloud Computing Outlook per chance? IT shops are not jumping on the public cloud quite yet. There is some trepidation there. Private clouds (on premises and off) and hybrid clouds are going to see a lot more growth than pure public plays. Public does not rule, and it will not rule for a while.

I could disagree about more, but I'll leave it for another day. I find that the Cloud media hounds and speakers are a bit too Cloud bullish. Don't get me wrong. I am an enthusiast. But making blanket "pie in the sky" forecast does not help the movement.

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First Post

First post. More to come. I have a lot to say. I swear it.