Chris J Powell

In the forecast….a lot of “Cloud” Part 1

As a metaphor for the Internet, “the cloud” is a familiar cliché, but when combined with “computing,” the meaning gets bigger and fuzzier. Some analysts and vendors define cloud computing narrowly as an updated version of utility computing: basically virtual servers available over the Internet. Others go very broad, arguing anything you consume outside the firewall is “in the cloud,” including conventional outsourcing. (Quoted from here)

I am going to look to the “Internal Cloud” today starting with some freely available Open Source Utilities that look to bringing enterprise quality services to any IT Shop for the great price of FREE.  Now I know there is much debate on the term FREE software so I am going to clarify that it is Libre software, governed by the GPL.

The Cloud has become so pervasive that there is no corner of a modern IT Shop that has been untouched.  In the world Open Source Software (OSS) there have become a plethora of solid platforms that enable the building of an internal cloud.  Being an insatiable reader of all things technical I dived into an interesting Solution Set that is focused on the building of an Internal Cloud is the second stage of Server Virtualization and their Solution Set titled Build an Optimized Infrastructure-as-a-Service Internal Cloud is a great example of how to wrap your head around getting through the initial wins of Virtualization and get started with expanding through to “Internal Cloud”.

A couple of the solid OSS model Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers out there include Eucalyptus, Nimbus and Open Nebula. For the remainder of this post I am going to focus on Eucalyptus.

Now looking to Eucalyptus what is it?  Where can you get it? And really how does it work?

From their site they define themselves as “Eucalyptus enables the creation of on-premise private clouds, with no requirements for retooling the organization’s existing IT infrastructure or need to introduce specialized hardware. Eucalyptus implements an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) private cloud that is accessible via an API compatible with Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. For more information on our API see our Developer’s Corner. This compatibility allows any Eucalyptus cloud to be turned into a hybrid cloud, capable of drawing compute resources from public cloud. And Eucalyptus is compatible with a wealth of tools and applications that also adhere to the de facto EC2 and S3 standards“.

Now lets consider this…For FREE you can build what Amazon invested Billions of Dollars to build an IaaS offering in the public cloud.  In the privacy of your own server room, data center or well even at home if you are feeling peckish.

How does it work though?  I located a few solid whitepapers – Intel Cloud Builder Guide to Cloud Design and Deployment on Intel Platforms, Cloud Computing and Open Source: IT Climatology is Born , Eucalyptus Open-Source Cloud Computing Infrastructure – An Overview.

Eucalyptus can be freely downloaded either as Source Code or in a native installer from here.  It is worth noting that every Ubuntu Server OS since 9.04 (aka Jaunty Jackalope) has been “Cloud Ready”.  Check out their recently built Cloud Portal that includes some great tips, videos and a helpful FAQ section.

Tomorrow…stay tuned for a deep dive into how the Cloud is changing IT Departments and the roles of the IT Professionals that manage them.

Cheers and have a great day.

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