Tuesday, November 6, 2012

11 Top Open-source Resources for Cloud Computing

Open-source software has been on the rise at many businesses during the extended economic downturn, and one of the areas where it is starting to offer companies a lot of flexibility and cost savings is in cloud computing. Cloud deployments can save money, free businesses from vendor lock-ins that could really sting over time, and offer flexible ways to combine public and private applications. The following are 11 top open-source cloud applications, services, educational resources, support options, general items of interest, and more.
Eucalyptus. Ostatic broke the news about UC Santa Barbara’s open-source cloud project last year. Released as an open-source (under a FreeBSD-style license) infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicates the functionality of Amazon’s EC2, Eucalyptus directly uses the Amazon command-line tools. StartupEucalyptus Systems was launched this year with venture funding, and the staff includes original architects from the Eucalyptus project. The company recently released its first major update to the software framework, which is also powering the cloud computing features in the new version of Ubuntu Linux.
Red Hat’s Cloud. Linux-focused open-source player Red Hat has been rapidly expanding its focus on cloud computing. At the end of July, Red Hat held its Open Source Cloud Computing Forum, which included a large number of presentations from movers and shakers focused on open-source cloud initiatives. You can find free webcasts for all the presentations here. The speakers include Rich Wolski (CTO of Eucalyptus Systems), Brian Stevens (CTO of Red Hat), and Mike Olson (CEO of Cloudera). Stevens’ webcast can bring you up to speed on Red Hat’s cloud strategy. Novell is also an open source-focused company that is increasingly focused on cloud computing, and you can read about its strategy here.
Traffic ServerYahoo this week moved its open-source cloud computing initiatives up a notch with the donation of its Traffic Serverproduct to the Apache Software Foundation. Traffic Server is used in-house at Yahoo to manage its own traffic, and it enables session management, authentication, configuration management, load balancing, and routing for entire cloud computing software stacks. Acting as an overlay to raw cloud computing services, Traffic Server allows IT administrators to allocate resources, including handling thousands of virtualized services concurrently.
Cloudera. The open-source Hadoop software framework is increasingly used in cloud computing deployments due to its flexibility with cluster-based, data-intensive queries and other tasks. It’s overseen by the Apache Software Foundation, and Yahoo has its own time-tested Hadoop distributionCloudera is a promising startup focused on providing commercial support for Hadoop. You can read much more about Cloudera here.
Puppet. Virtual servers are on the rise in cloud computing deployments, and Reductive Labs’ open-source software, built upon the legacy of the Cfengine system, is hugely respected by many system administrators for managing them. You can use it to manage large numbers of systems or virtual machines through automated routines, without having to do a lot of complex scripting.
EnomalyThe company’s Elastic Computing Platform (ECP) has its roots in widely used Enomalism open-source provisioning and management software, designed to take much of the complexity out of starting a cloud infrastructure. ECP is a programmable virtual cloud computing infrastructure for small, medium and large businesses, and you can read much more about it here.
Joyent. In January of this year, Joyent purchased Reasonably Smart, a fledgling open-source cloud startup based on JavaScript and Git. Joyent’s cloud hosting infrastructure and cloud management software incorporate many open-source tools for public and private clouds.  The company can also help you optimize a speedy implementation of the open-source MySQL database for cloud use.
Zoho. Many people use Zoho’s huge suite of free, online applications, which is competitive with Google Docs. What lots of folks don’t realize, though, is that Zoho’s core is completely open source — a shining example of how SaaS solutions can work in harmony with open source. You can find many details on how Zoho deploys open-source tools in this interview.
Globus Nimbus. This open-source toolkit allows businesses to turn clusters into Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. The Amazon EC2 interface is carried over, but is not the only interface you can choose.
Reservoir. This is the main European research initiative on virtualized infrastructures and cloud computing. It’s a far-reaching project targeted to develop open-source technology for cloud computing, and help businesses avoid vendor lock-in.
OpenNebula. The OpenNebula VM Manager is a core component of Reservoir. It’s an open-source answer to the many virtual machine management offerings from proprietary players, and interfaces easily with cloud infrastructure tools and services. “OpenNebula is an open-source virtual infrastructure engine that enables the dynamic deployment and re-placement of virtual machines on a pool of physical resources,” according to project leads.
It’s good to see open-source tools and resources competing in the cloud computing space. The end result should be more flexibility for organizations that want to customize their approaches. Open-source cloud offerings also have the potential to keep pricing for all competitive services on a level playing field.


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