Feeds

'Special' Red Hat project joins search for The Meta Cloud

You call it 'special.' I call it 'not that interesting'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Following in the slipstream of the open-source lidcloud project, Red Hat has unveiled its own effort to create a single programming interface for a wide range of so-called infrastructure clouds, including Amazon's EC2 and the Rackspace Cloud.

Yesterday, the commercial Linux outfit unveiled a new open-source project dubbed deltacloud, which it describes as an effort "to enable an ecosystem of developers, tools, scripts, and applications which can interoperate across the public and private clouds."

A public cloud would be an infrastructure-as-a-service thingy like Amazon EC2, whereas a private cloud is a similar set of dynamically scalable compute resources set up in your own data center. Red Hat hopes to achieves its dream ecosystem by way of a common application programming interface (API) for all clouds - or a least some of them.

"Today each infrastructure-as-a-service cloud presents a unique API that developers and ISVs need to write to in order to consume the cloud service. The deltacloud effort is creating a common, REST-based API, such that developers can write once and manage anywhere," the company says.

"A cloud broker if you will, with drivers that map the API to both public clouds like EC2, and private virtualized clouds based on VMWare and Red Hat Enterprise Linux with integrated KVM."

Founded by Cloudkick - an outfit offering management tools for overseeing the use of Amazon EC2 and similar services - the lidcloud project is building its own cloud-agnostic API. Currently, it does a few tricks with Amazon EC2 and EC2 Europe, Rackspace Cloud Servers, Slicehost, VPS.net, and GoGrid. But the ultimate goal is to create a common API across these disparate clouds and others, including Flexiscale and the open source private cloud platform Eucalyptus.

Like Cloudkick, Red Hat has taken great pride in its new metcloud API. "The initiation of a new open source project within Red Hat is certainly not news," the company says. "It’s an established expectation within our engineering ranks. It’s how we advance and develop software. Every once in a while, though, a new project breaks through the norm of business as usual. Something special. Creating a buzz. Today that project is http://deltacloud.org."

But for Thorsten von Eicken, CTO of RightScale, another cloud management outfit that works closely with Amazon, a metacloud API is "not that interesting really." It's not just the APIs that differ between clouds. Its the way virtual infrastructure is defined within the cloud. And this, he says, is the biggest hurdle between here and a world where you can easily move apps from cloud to cloud.

"The problem isn't having pieces of code that know how to generate a 'list servers' call and parse the response for several different clouds. The problem is being able to construct multi-server architectures and deployments that can make use of Amazon's load balancing service, IP address allocation scheme, and block storage service, and that can then be moved to RackSpace, which uses quite different ways of accomplishing the same high level goals," von Eicken wrote in response to our story on lidcloud.

"These are differences in semantics of the resources being allocated and used in the cloud, not just in the syntax of the API calls. *That's* the fun part from our experience at RightScale." von Eicken worked alongside Amazon Web Services father figure Werner Vogels while doing distributed-systems research at Cornell University in the mid-1990s.

In the end, a common API may not do the trick. "If you think about it, dealing with different APIs is just a programming exercise," von Eicken has told The Reg. "But if...you move to another cloud where the API is the same, but there's a little footnote that says that the semantics of IP addresses are such that they are contained in the data center and your app doesn't run that way, then, well, everything falls apart. That's much harder than a programing exercise. That's a 're-architecting your web site' exercise."

Nonetheless, Red Hat's deltacloud is underway here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER
'Acceleration engines' key to performance, security, Larry says
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Lenovo to finish $2.1bn IBM x86 server gobble in October
A lighter snack than expected – but what's a few $100m between friends, eh?
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.