Eucalyptus Adds Netflix Tools, Amazon Options

Eucalyptus builds Netflix tools into the upcoming 3.3 release of its software for building an Amazon-compatible private cloud.
9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
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Eucalyptus Systems has incorporated Netflix tools into the upcoming 3.3 release of its software for building an Amazon-compatible private cloud. Eucalyptus' ability to tweak the Netflix tools and include them in its 3.3 release enhances its claim that it offers the best way to build an Amazon-like cloud on premises.

Netflix is one of Amazon Web Service's largest customers and relies on Amazon infrastructure instead of building its own data centers. It has been a pioneer in building tools for use in Amazon's EC2 cloud, such as Chaos Monkey, which forces unexpected workload shutdowns at random to test an environment's resiliency.

"Eucalyptus was the first private cloud platform to support Netflix open source tools, including Chaos Monkey, Asgard and Edda, through its API fidelity with AWS," said Adrian Cockcroft, chief cloud architect at Netflix, in Eucalyptus' 3.3 announcement.

Asgard is a Web interface for deploying workloads as Amazon Machine Image virtual machines; Edda is a tool that queries a user's resources in the cloud, listing the results and showing what's changed. "Thanks to this integration, those tools can now be used in both private and public cloud environments." Cockcroft said.

[ Want to see how Eucalyptus' relationship with AWS changed from cold shoulder to warm embrace a year ago? Read Amazon Makes Clever Cloud Play. ]

The fact that Chaos Monkey, Asgard and Ebba perform their functions in the Eucalyptus cloud setting buttresses Eucalyptus' claim that it is the supplier with the closest match to Amazon. Eucalyptus started as a project of the computer science department at the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by professor Rich Wolski. The Eucalyptus developers produced open source versions of Amazon's cloud service APIs. Amazon in March 2012 named Eucalyptus a partner in providing cloud services.

With interest in private cloud reaching an all-time high in the enterprise, a private cloud operation based on Eucalyptus is one way to architect a future hybrid cloud operation, where a private data center works in conjunction with a public cloud.

Eucalyptus isn't in the spotlight as much as Open Stack, another open source code effort that has attracted many corporate backers and a wide array of contributors. Because Eucalyptus' goal was to remain compatible with the market leader, many open source developers concluded it would be confined to initiatives defined by Amazon. But Eucalyptus' early commitment to Amazon APIs leaves it in the position of being the primary way to establish a private cloud that works with Amazon's.

Eucalyptus has had a limited set of matching services to date. They included server provisioning similar to Amazon's EC2; long-term storage with an API like Amazon's S3's; an equivalent to Amazon's Elastic Block Store; and identity and access management compatible with the features of the AWS service.

Release 3.3 attempts to broaden that compatibility. It includes: an Auto Scaling service similar to Amazon's for adding virtual machines when traffic demands increase; Elastic Load Balancing similar to Amazon's for distributing incoming calls for service across multiple workload instances; a monitoring service compatible with Amazon CloudWatch, which allows cloud administrators to program the collection of metrics on running systems, set alarms and identify trends that may be endangering the continued operation of a set of workloads.

In addition release 3.3 allows cloud administrators to do resource tagging, the assigning of metadata to firewalls, load balancers and Web servers as well as individual workloads to better identify them. Eucalyptus has also expanded its number of support virtual server instance types to more closely resemble those used by Amazon.

Release 3.3 is due out in the second quarter. Eucalyptus customers include MemSQL, AppDynamics, Nokia Siemens Networks, Mosaik Solution, Pilot Games and Rafter, a supplier of educational software.

Eucalyptus customers often use Puppet Labs to configure workloads they are about to deploy. Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies said in the announcement that Eucalyptus' module for Puppet Enterprise lets private cloud builders "use the same familiar tool to automate the configuration, provisioning and management of both private and public clouds."

One use case that's been gaining traction for Eucalyptus is a building a private cloud that serves as a test bed for an application that will eventually be deployed on AWS EC2 and related services, said Eucalyptus Systems CEO Marten Mickos in an interview.