Cloud.com Unveils Open IaaS Platform

A newly rechristened Cloud.com on Tuesday unveiled its CloudStack Platform, an integrated software solution that lets enterprises and service providers quickly and easily build, manage and deploy Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing solutions.

Formerly known as “VMOps,” Cloud.com focuses on helping users deliver virtual data centers as a service with the ability to build, deploy and manage multi-tier and multi-tenant cloud applications. Through the implementation of common cloud frameworks like VMware’s vCloud initiative and Amazon Web Services (AWS)-style interfaces, meanwhile, Cloud.com provides an open environment that interoperates with a user’s existing cloud deployment.

“Today, service providers and enterprises that are interested in launching elastic cloud services face the difficult task of integrating complex software and hardware components from multiple vendors,” said Sheng Liang, Cloud.com’s founder and CEO. “The resulting system could end up being expensive to build and hard to operate, minimizing the original motives and benefits of moving to this new model.

“Cloud.com’s focus is on enabling service providers and enterprises to quickly architect, configure and deploy highly reliable, highly scalable cloud environments and operate in a far more flexible and cost-efficient way,” Liang added.

An Open Community Edition

CloudStack has already been deployed in production environments over the past year in leading private and public cloud deployments. Now, it’s available as three distinct offerings, including the open source CloudStack Platform Community Edition along with versions for enterprises and service providers.

“The idea is to use open source to make it easy for people to use it,” RedMonk analyst Michael Cote told LinuxInsider. “It’s a good way to spread the technology and get people interested.”

The few closed parts of the technology include components for billing, chargebacks and other such functions, he noted.

The open source release of the CloudStack platform is available through the open.cloud.com community portal. Information and access to the Enterprise and Service Provider Editions of the CloudStack platform can be found here.

At press time, pricing information was not yet available.

‘Strongly Tilted Toward Buy’

Companies employing the CloudStack platform can provide end users with a virtually unlimited amount of computing power — in public, private or hybrid deployments — that can be used on-demand and billed by actual usage. They can also fully automate the distribution of compute, network and storage while adhering to defined policies on load balancing, data security and compliance.

With capabilities that allow administrators to offset the daily management of services to the end client, CloudStack is designed to scale to meet the needs of the largest organizations. One administrator can manage more than 1,000 individual physical systems using the platform, potentially yielding tens of thousands of cloud instances.

Indeed, for enterprises, “the make versus buy analysis on CloudStack and similar offerings is strongly tilted toward buy,” Paul Burns, president of Neovise, told LinuxInsider. “I have yet to see a case in the enterprise where it made sense to start from scratch.”

Neovise has compiled comparative profiles on 10 different IaaS-enabling platforms, including CloudStack.

That’s a bit different in the service provider space, however, “where some of the leading providers have built their solutions from scratch,” Burns added. “Even so, with the first wave of cloud providers in place, it makes more and more sense for hosting providers that lack cloud service capabilities to build out a cloud offering based on something like CloudStack.”

Custom APIs

In enterprise deployments, it’s critical for cloud-enabling platforms to work with heterogeneous infrastructures, and “Cloud.com is all over that notion,” Burns pointed out.

Another key is the API for developing on top of and managing the platform, he added — “the challenge here is that standards, even de facto standards, are still in flux.”

There, not only does Cloud.com provide multiple APIs, but “what I really like is that they also added the capacity to add custom APIs,” Burns explained.

Finally, CloudStack’s service-management layer and availability zones capability are two more options not all players in the space provide, Burns opined.

The latter, for instance, is “an important requirement for service providers and multi-datacenter enterprises,” he pointed out. “Cloud owners really don’t want multiple, unrelated clouds spread across their organizations. The availability zones work well in multi-datacenter environments.”

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