Startup urges enterprises with systems running in public clouds to move their workloads to in-house private cloud environments.
Nimbula, a private cloud software company, sees an opportunity. It thinks some companies are relying too much on the public cloud, and it's offering to help them move out of the public cloud back into their own facilities.
If this is a problem for you (and it isn't yet one for everyone), then Nimbula wants to help.
In effect, Nimbula is offering Cloud Migration Service to reverse the normal route from the enterprise data center to public cloud. Instead it will help customers prepare an on-premises, private cloud environment that's ready to receive their public cloud workloads. And that private cloud will, of course, be powered by Nimbula's flagship product, its Director 1.5 cloud operating system first launched last April. Director manages virtualized servers and storage in a private cloud.
Reza Malekzadeh, VP of marketing, said in an interview that public cloud charges mount up and in some cases cloud users could run their workloads more efficiently on their own systems. "The cloud is good for applications that will reach a fast level of growth. When they have leveled off and become more predictable, bring that workload back in-house. If a part of an application still has an unpredictable amount of traffic or is 'bursty,' leave that in the public cloud," he said.
Malekzadeh is describing hybrid cloud operations where applications that run at a steady state are kept in-house and applications or services experiencing wide swings in traffic are run in the cloud. Accommodating spikes of demand in the public cloud is sometimes referred to as cloud bursting.
"Customers think they need a brand name, a set of cloud infrastructure software from one vendor" to build a private cloud, he said. Nimbula thinks a general purpose cloud can be built on x86 servers using its Director 1.5 software and whatever virtualization vendor the customer already has in house. They can use existing x86 servers. "We can help them stand it up," he claimed.
In effect, Nimbula is providing consultants to help customers implement its Director 1.5 private cloud system. The firm was founded by two Amazon EC2 architects: Nimbula CEO Chris Pinkham was VP of engineering at Amazon Web Services and one of the architects of the original Amazon cloud, and Nimbula VP of products Willem van Biljon helped develop EC2's business plan.
Malekzadeh claimed that type of expertise was available through Cloud Migration Service to help customers transfer workloads out of public clouds and build their own cloud systems. Cloud users "need to understand they can build a commodity infrastructure. We can help them stand it up," he claimed.
That means Nimbula will send one or more consultants to assess what's there and provide a technical design for a private cloud based on x86 servers and Nimbula software. The consultant also outlines a migration path from the public cloud to private cloud, including how to convert workload formats as needed. It's still the customer's job to implement it.
That also means implementing the open source KVM hypervisor for virtualized servers, the one that Nimbula's Director cloud operating system supports out of the box. Support for VMware's ESX Server is in beta test at customer sites but not yet available, Malekzadeh said.
Director is also engineered to support cloud bursting. It includes workflows, permissions, and controls that allow a private cloud operator to move a workload to the public cloud as demand spikes.
Nimbula was voted the "most innovative cloud provider" at the UP 2011 Cloud Computing Conference Dec. 6 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. The conference is supported by several cloud vendors, including Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and IBM; judges included Forrester analyst James Staten, Taneja Group analyst Dave Bartoletti, EMC CTO Jeff Nick, and CA Technologies senior VP Clemente Cohen.
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