5 Cost-Efficient, Flexible Open Source Resources for Cloud Computing

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 16, 2009

Just as open source itself has gathered more interest during the economic downturn because of the cost savings it can offer businesses, cloud computing is getting more attention because it can allow businesses to take advantage of IT infrastructure on a pay-as-you-go model. Increasingly, there is an intersection between these two trends: the open source cloud. Ignacio Martin Llorente has a very good roundup of the tools available at this intersection--open source cloud resources that can let businesses customize their own infrastructures. Here are some of his good citations, and several of our own.

Eucalyptus. Ostatic broke the news about U.C. Santa Barbara's Eucalyptus open source cloud project last year. Released as an open-source (under a FreeBSD-style license) infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicates the functionality of Amazon's EC2, Eucalyptus uses the Amazon command-line tools directly. RightScale has partnered with Eucalyptus to provide management and service solutions for businesses.

Joyent/Reasonably Smart. As GigaOm and OStatic discussed just this week, Joyent has purchased Reasonably Smart, a fledgling open source cloud startup based on JavaScript and Git. "While on the surface it might look like simple industry consolidation, Reasonably Smart’s technology will in fact help Joyent compete with emerging service-centric clouds while retaining an open model that makes developers comfortable," says Alistair Croll on GigaOm. Joyent's CEO is adamant that Reasonably Smart's technology will stay open source.

Globus Nimbus. Globus Nimbus is an open source toolkit that allows businesses to turn clusters into an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. The Amazon EC2 interface is carried over, but is not the only interface you can choose. Globus Nimbus has just come out with a new release.

Reservoir. Reservoir is the main European research initiative on virtualized infrastructures and cloud computing, according to Ignacio Martin Llorente. He adds: "The aim of this project is to develop the open-source technology to enable deployment and management of complex IT services across different administrative domains. Its open-source approach will support the definition of open standards for cloud computing, breaking the lock-in imposed by vendors today and allowing any organization to build its own local or public cloud infrastructure."

OpenNebula. "OpenNebula is an open source virtual infrastructure engine that enables the dynamic deployment and re-placement of virtual machines on a pool of physical resources," according to project leads. The OpenNebula VM Manager is a core component of Reservoir. "This open-source alternative to commercial tools for VM management provides an efficient, dynamic and scalable management of VMs within datacenters, private clouds, involving a large amount of virtual and physical servers," writes Llorente. "OpenNebula can interface with a remote cloud site, being the only tool able to access on-demand to Amazon EC2 for dynamic scaling the local infrastructure based on actual usage."

It's good to see open source tools and resources competing in the cloud computing space. The end result should be more flexibility for organizations that want to customize their approaches. Open source cloud offerings also have the potential to keep pricing for all competitive services on a level playing field.