Eucalyptus Builds Scalability Into Private Clouds

Version 2.0 of the open source Amazon EC2-compatible code contains features and functions ahead of the Enterprise edition.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

August 26, 2010

3 Min Read

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Eucalyptus Systems, supplier of Amazon EC2-compatible software for building the private cloud, has brought out version 2.0 of its Eucalyptus open source system.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., company was founded to support the output of the Eucalyptus open source project, founded at the University of California at Santa Barbara's computer science department. Prof. Rich Wolski and associates produced interfaces compatible with Amazon Web Services' EC2 APIs and packaged them together as a way to start building out an enterprise cloud.

Eucalyptus 2.0 is the second major release of the open source code. In it, "we have improved scalability all over the product," said Marten Mickos, CEO, in an interview. The firm provides technical support for Eucalyptus open source code. The open source version is not to be confused with the Eucalyptus commercial Enterprise edition, also labeled 2.0, although based on a pre-2.0 version of the open source code.

The Eucalyptus open source code is issued under the GPL, contains features and functions ahead of the Enterprise edition, and can be freely downloaded. The firm is seeing 12,000 downloads in peak months and Eucalyptus is included in Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution, he said.

Eucalyptus scales across a larger server cluster more easily because the 2.0 version "has been clearer about the segregation of tasks. We no longer locate the cluster controller and the node controller on the same node," where they sometimes ended up in contention over resources, Mickos noted. The former CEO of MySQL, now part of Oracle, joined Eucalyptus Systems in March.

Version 2.0 supports iSCSI disks as elastic block store volumes and allows the cloud builder to place an iSCSI storage controller on any server in a cluster, including outside the cloud domain of the cluster, if he chooses, Mickos said.

Version 2.0 also supports the open source virtio, an API for virtualizing I/O that is used by the open source KVM hypervisor. KVM is included in distributions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise System. Virtio uses a common set of I/O virtualization drivers that are both efficient and potentially adaptable for use by other hypervisor suppliers, Mickos said. Virtual I/O consists of a virtual machine sending both its communications traffic and storage traffic through the hypervisor to a virtual device, rather than through a server's network interface card or host bus adapter. From the virtual device, it can be moved off the virtualized server into the network fabric and handled more efficiently there.

Eucalyptus 2.0 also supports retrieval of specific versions of objects stored in Walrus, the Eucalyptus storage system that is compatible with Amazon's S3 storage service. Users may perform version control on objects as they are stored in Walrus and retrieve a specific version, as needed.

Eucalyptus to some extent now mimics the slogan of the OpenStack project, started recently by Rackspace, which claims it's building governance software for a million-node cloud, a prospect that even the largest service providers have yet to attain.

"Sure Eucalyptus can support a million-node cloud, but the more important question is how large an application can you run on your cloud" and how effectively can you manage it there with your cloud software. Eucalyptus is concentrating on effective management for private clouds, not massive public infrastructure providers, Mickos said.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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