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Cloud.com takes on virty infrastructure

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Right now, the CloudStack tools support VMware's ESX Server 4.0, Citrix XenServer 5.5, and the latest KVM hypervisor, with support for Microsoft's Hyper-V. CloudStack does not run these environments directly, but makes use of the VMware vCenter, Citrix XenCenter, and soon Microsoft Systems Center tools; in this way, CloudStack is more of an uber-management tool, like the master control programs on giant parallel supercomputer clusters, which schedule jobs but use other tools to provision individual (and often incompatible) nodes in the supers so they can run particular jobs. CloudStack can interface with tools for managing virtual or physical networks, and is partnering with RightScale for workload management.

So why is Cloud.com not trying to tackle all of these different hypervisors and systems management tools individually, displacing them with a single tool? Well, for one thing, the vendors of the operating systems and hypervisors would not like that, and therefore would not partner and cooperate. And being a startup, Cloud.com has to pick its target and then try to hit it.

"Right now, the number one problem in IT is figuring out how to wrap a service around virtual infrastructure and then manage, meter, and charge for it," Ulander explains. And that is what Cloud.com says it can do.

The CloudStack software comes in three versions. The Community Edition is free, and it is the weekly spin of the tool that will be available "out there in the wild." The Service Provider Edition and Enterprise Editions include the closed source billing and connector modules and the same code stack, but the services that are wrapped around them are a bit different.

The prices for the service provider and enterprise versions of CloudStack are the same, however. That's $10,000 for a management server license and five nodes under management, with additional two-socket server nodes costing $1,000 a pop to be brought to heel by CloudStack. A 5 TB block of storage to be virtualized has a license fee of $1,000 as well.

The Community Edition of the CloudStack tools is available now (which you can check out here), with the Service Provider and Enterprise Editions available by month's end.

In addition to launching itself with a new name, Cloud.com also said that it closed a second round of venture funding, with $11m being kicked in by Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Nexus Venture Partners. Redpoint and Nexus had already paid out $6.6m in the first round of funding last year. ®

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