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Eucalyptus Supports VMware Hypervisor

Open source Eucalyptus code now supports VMware ESX Server as well as open source code Xen and KVM for private clouds.

Eucalyptus Systems has announced it will support VMware's ESX hypervisor and vSphere 4 virtual machine infrastructure as the foundation for a private cloud.

Eucalyptus Systems has been noted so far for its ability to supply open source code interfaces that match those of Amazon's Web services. Open source Eucalyptus code can be used to build an internal cloud that is compatible with Amazon's EC2.

The move marks the young company's first foray into a commercial product, Eucalyptus Enterprise Edition, which is aimed at allowing VMware customers to leverage their extensive investment in VMware products to build a private cloud.

"This is a first step on the roadmap to let data centers integrate whatever virtualization technology they are most comfortable with," said Rich Wolski, Eucalyptus CTO, in an interview during VMworld. He is on leave from the University of California at Santa Barbara where he lead the Eucalyptus open source project as a computer science professor. The project built interfaces that mimic the basic functions of Amazon's EC2 public cloud, such as loading workloads as virtual machine images, generating long term S3 storage, and short term Elastic Storage Blocks storage.

The Eucalyptus version of those interfaces can be used to build private clouds inside the enterprise capable of running virtual machines governed by the open source Xen or KVM hypervisors. VMware's ESX Server is the first commercial environment Eucalyptus has chosen to support. It's also stopped short of trying to duplicate Amazon's SimpleDB, since MySQL is commonly used in the open source projects and environments where Eucalyptus got its start.

Private clouds are typically described as cluster-type computers in the data center available 24 hours a day through an easily accessible interface, for those authorized to use them. The private cloud can deliver elastic resources, which expand or contract, depending on the needs of the workload sent to them. Users are charged by time elapsed, not the capital expense of setting up the cloud. Clouds are built to run virtual machines and are typically managed through a virtualized environment's management console.

Supporting ESX Server will allow Eucalyptus to become a more general purpose supplier of software aimed at building federated clouds, said Wolski. But he added that it is easier for his young firm to support VMware, with its use of components that mimic Linux operations, than it will be to support Microsoft's Hyper-V.

"Microsoft has Virtual Networking Environment. It's not clear to us what subset of functionality we would need to use" to produce Hyper-V based interfaces to cloud functions, Wolski said. "The networking is a little bit scary," he said.

He expects the firm will one day support Citrix Systems XenServer, "but I can't say when," he added. Eucalyptus wants to see more uptake of XenServer in the market before making the move.

Eucalyptus uses the Apache Axis2 Web services engine, MuleSource's Mule enterprise service bus, and Rampart security, all open source code. Wolski said Eucalyptus can be used as a cloud platform "by those who want to keep their options open." Customers can build a private cloud built with mainly open source components, then shift into a commercial set of products if they choose to, he said.

Eucalyptus Systems received $5.5 million in venture capital funding from BV Capital and Benchmark Capital in June. It is located in Goleta, Calif.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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