The Open Source Cloud
While many cloud/utility computing services have sprung up over the past few years, the adoption of their management techniques in the open source world has not. Most people don't need or want to build a large-scale computing cluster in their own business, but they could use some of the automation inherent in these systems to their advantage.
The "virtual datacenter" has been almost solely the province of the companies that make virtualization products like VMware. Even open source tools like Xen, and the company around them, such as XenSource (now Citrix), have not made management tools that are easy to use from an API standpoint. All the web forms in the world will not make a good automation framework that companies can integrate into their existing infrastructure. In addition these companies tend to limit the availability of the management tools that they do have to their largest (and most wealthy) customers.
Management tools should be easy to use with RESTful APIs that can easily be scripted into anything users need. Frameworks like Puppet, iClassify and Cfengine go a long way for helping organizations automate the management of their systems, but they are often lacking when managing virtual machines. My next few articles will focus on managing clusters of machines, both large and small, using the techniques of some of the cloud computing services and some new tools that have become available.