Thoughts From Eucalyptus System's CTO As it Rolls Out its Version 3.0
Eucalyptus Systems is moving ahead with a new version of its private and hybrid cloud platform. The company's cloud platform, which OStatic has followed since its origins as an unsung cloud experiment out of U.C. Santa Barbara, has advanced with the release of Eucalyptus 3: the third generation of Eucalyptus' on-premise Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing software. Eucalyptus first gained notoriety for allowing people to easily build hybrid private and public cloud deployments based very closely on Amazon's cloud interface conventions. Since then, Eucalyptus has branched out to helping company's strategize around their cloud deployments, and is led by Marten Mickos, of MySQL fame.
Rich Wolski, Eucalyptus Systems' CTO and co-founder (who was part of the U.C. Santa Barbara team that gave birth to the Eucalyptus project), caught up with OStatic for a Q&A on what's under the hood in version 3. Here are his thoughts.
Q: What are the most important things we should know about Eucalyptus 3?
A: Eucalyptus 3 is the third generation of Eucalyptus. It includes enterprise features such as HA, IAM and identity management support, quotas and billing, and persistent images in addition to all of the features available from the last release of Eucalyptus (2.0.3).
Q: Why is high availability so important for enterprise clouds?
A: This question is excellent. Software (and most especially enterprise software) is moving to a more service-oriented deployment and usage model. For software services to form the basis of production computing, the private cloud software infrastructure necessary to support those services must be always on and always available. That is, the private cloud becomes part of the data center infrastructure and as such must be "there" in the same way that hardware is "there" -- available to take on new workloads if a specific individual failure occurs.
Q: How will Eucalyptus 3 features be implemented in the open source version vs the commercial version of Eucalyptus?
A: With Eucalyptus 3, all features except support for VMware and plug-ins for integrating with proprietary SAN storage devices will be released as open source. This feature list includes both the new features available in Eucalyptus 3 (HA, persistant images, IAM, etc.) as well as all previously released features (except VMware and SAN) that have been part of both open source Eucalyptus and previous enterprise editions (e.g. support for Windows images).
Q: What are the extras available in the commercial version, and how is it priced?
A: Support for VMware and plug-ins for proprietary SAN devices (Dell and NetApp) come with the an enterprise subscription along with support. The price is $299/core under management in a standard subscription and $450/core for a premium subscription. All software plug-ins are available in both the standard and premium subscription -- the difference is only in the support SLA.
Q: With so many cloud platform players available now, what are the key differentiators that people deploying applicaitons should keep in mind?
A: The first differentiator is the availability of cloud-ready software to run on the cloud. Building or porting applications top the cloud typically builds upon existing cloud-ready software components. One good question to ask when evaluating any private cloud is "How many images can I run on my cloud the moment it comes up?" With Eucalyptus, private cloud users have access to vast catalog of free software already developed and tested for Amazon's AWS right out of the box.
A second differentiator is the degree to which the cloud can separate the application lifecycle from the infrastructure technology lifecycle. In a private cloud, it should be the case that the applications should not change with the underlying hardware, software, and virtualization technologies change. In this way, IT operators can choose the best infrastructure to use or purchase at any moment in time without degrading the ability fo existing applications to execute. Eucalyptus address this concern by being hypervisor, hardware, and Linux distribution agnostic. The IT operator is free to choose the best combination of each and Eucalyptus will maintain a single unifying set of cloud abstractions for applications to use.