Eucalyptus: An Unsung Open Source Infrastructure for Cloud Computing

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 04, 2008

I was pleasantly surprised today when a compadre of mine sent along a message from Rich Wolski, a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It turns out that Rich and a group he works with have recently released an open-source (under a FreeBSD-style license) infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicates the functionality of Amazon's EC2, using the Amazon command-line tools directly.  The system is called Eucalyptus, and it's available for you to use. What's really surprising is that although this has been demonstrated publicly, it looks like absolutely nobody has written about it.

According to the Eucalyptus site:

"EUCALYPTUS - Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems - is an open-source software infrastructure for implementing 'cloud computing' on clusters. The current interface to EUCALYPTUS is compatible with Amazon's EC2 interface, but the infrastructure is designed to support multiple client-side interfaces. EUCALYPTUS is implemented using commonly-available Linux tools and basic Web-service technologies making it easy to install and maintain."

According to Rich Wolski, some of the key features of Eucalyptus are:

  • -- It installs automatically as part of a Rocks 5 installation
  • -- It is modular and extensible, implemented entirely using open-source web
    service tools
  • -- It is interface-compatible with Amazon EC2 and uses the EC2 tools directly
  • -- Version 1.0 implements the EC2 features with the exception of static IPs
    address (planned for a later release)

Wolski also notes: "At the moment, Eucalyptus depends on an open source cluster management software package called Rocks.  Rocks is to clusters what Debian, Red Hat,  Ubuntu, etc. are to individual Linux machines. It's a packaging and deployment tool.  So to use it (or at least to use it according to our documentation) you need to be using Rocks to manage the software on your clusters.  We are working on a standalone installation system and we plan documentation soon on how to install the system by hand (in case you are managing your cluster by hand).  With Rocks, though, it installs pretty much with a single button press."

And, Wolski adds: "The goal of the project is to promote open-source community development of cloud computing services and features as well as to foster cloud computing research in the computer science and computational science research
communities." Note that version 1.0 of Eucalyptus, downloadable now, is a feature-limited binary-only beta at this point.

Eucalyptus was publicly demonstrated at the Open Source Grid and Cluster conference on May 14th. OStatic will follow up with an in-depth look into Eucalyptus.