Searching for broader feedback on its upcoming Director cloud operating system, Nimbula is offering the software in public beta as a free download.
The company founded by Chris Pinkham and Willem van Bijon, the original designers of Amazon's EC2 cloud, made the unfinished product available Monday through the company's website. Nimbula, which had offered Director in private beta for months, introduced the latest version at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.
"We are fortunate to have a strong community of IT professionals who have helped us shape Nimbula Director over the past few months," van Biljon says in a statement. "We look forward to a greater number trying out the public beta of Nimbula Director and providing valuable input so we can deliver the best final product possible."
Whether Director is "the best" remains to be seen, as Nimbula tries to steer companies away from selecting a particular virtual machine format in building a cloud infrastructure to deliver web-based services to employees. Nimbula's goal is to have one set of application programming interfaces in Director that could be used to internal cloud services to similar external cloud services, regardless of the provider.
Having such a single platform would make Director a kind of OS layer that could sit, for example, on top of services from Rackspace, EC2 or Terremark. Such a system could be set up without knowing very much about the differing APIs involved.
In acting as a kind of Switzerland above the different environments, Director can work with any x86 operating system, including Windows Server and Linux, and any of several hypervisors from different vendors. Sometimes called a virtual machine monitor, a hypervisor allows multiple OSes to run concurrently on a host computer.
Because Director works within such a heterogeneous environment, Nimbula has included automated resource discovery, so if servers or storage are added to a cluster, Director will find them and adapt. The software is intended to be distributed across several nodes in a cluster and will scale from a minimum of three nodes up to thousands of nodes.
Nimbula's single OS concept in virtualized environments will be tested more vigorously during the public beta. The company did not say how long the testing would be done or when the final product will be available. Nimbula investors include venture capitalist Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. As of August, the 1-year-old company had raised $20 million in funding.