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Cloud.com takes on virty infrastructure

Former VMOps comes out of stealth

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Cloud.com, formerly known as VMOps, has come out of stealth mode today as it raised its second round of funding and launched its first products for managing virtual server infrastructure across private and public clouds.

The techies behind Cloud.com, which was founded a mere 18 months ago, are all seasoned IT execs with lots of experience with servers, networks, and virtualization. Sheng Liang, who is the company's founder and chief executive officer, was the lead developer for Sun's Java Virtual Machine, the idealized computer that runs Java, which is an idealized form of C++ if you don't like thinking about the underlying iron. Liang was on the management teams of Seven Networks and Openwave Systems after leaving Sun Microsystems, and co-founded Teros Networks (sold to Citrix Systems in 2005).

Peder Ulander, also an ex-Sunner who managed the Solaris development team and who took Java open source as well as having management positions at Linux distro MontaVista Networks and server appliance maker Cobalt Networks (eaten by Sun), is chief marketing officer at Cloud.com. Kevin Kluge, who was in charge of software engineering at email service provider Zimbra (eaten by Yahoo and passed on to VMware recently) is taking the same position at Cloud.com; he held various development positions at Corvigo, Sun, Openwave, and Portola Communications.

In effect, this is a bunch of Sunners heading for the clouds, as Sun itself tried to do a couple of times and failed.

According to Ulander, Cloud.com was founded about the same time as the open source Eucalyptus project and with same goal in mind: to create a framework for managing internal clouds based on various server hypervisors and adhering to emerging standards and APIs relating to virtual machines and clouds.

"Everybody was talking about it, but no one was actually doing it," says Ulander.

Eucalyptus Systems, the commercial entity behind its eponymous framework, started out with the goal of supporting Amazon's APIs for its EC2 public cloud on internal clouds running VMware ESX hypervisors; the company has since worked with Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro, to add support for KVM virtual machines to the Eucalyptus framework.

Cloud.com's CloudStack software is trying to span more clouds, but has the same goal of creating a management framework that spans internal clouds based on a variety of hypervisors and virtual containers and commercial clouds like EC2, which use a customized Xen partition and a bunch of APIs for managing images, VMs, and virtual networks.

Like Eucalyptus, Cloud.com is open sourcing its code, but not quite all of it. Ulander says that 98 per cent of the code in the CloudStack management framework has been open sourced under the GPL v3 license, with the exception of the billing mechanisms the company has created so service providers and IT organizations can do chargeback to the customers or departments that consume virtualized servers, networks, and storage; the enterprise connectors and APIs that Cloud.com has created to link to various servers and storage arrays, such as Cisco Systems' Unified Computing System blade servers or EMC disk arrays are also not open source.

The CloudStack software supports Amazon's Web Services API and is hewing to VMware's vCloud and Citrix' Cloud Center frameworks and related APIs as well, according to Ulander. The software also provides a security layer that can isolate processing, networking, and storage resources in a number of different ways, including by user, by physical location, and by deployment environment. The tool creates and maintains and image library, catalogs of applications, and templates that are used to spin up application stacks quickly on virtualized x64 iron.

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