Feeds

Microsoft backs NASA's open source cloud kit

OpenStack rides Redmond hypervisor

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft has embraced the OpenStack project – a much-ballyhooed open source platform for building your own "infrastructure clouds" – vowing to provide the project with code that allows these Amazon EC2-like clouds to run atop its own Hyper-V hypervisor.

OpenStack applies to the Linux model to driving infrastructure clouds – online services that provide on-demand access to compute power and storage capable of scaling as needed. The Old Microsoft might have called it a great big cancer in the sky. The New Microsoft calls it a way to make customers happy.

That said, Redmond will not actually contribute code to the project. It has partnered with startup Cloud.com on this effort and Cloud.com –  the outfit that offers a platform for transforming existing a data center setup into an infrastructure cloud – will handle the bulk of the work. "Microsoft will be providing architectural and technical guidance to Cloud.com," general manager for Microsoft’s open solutions group Ted MacLean tells The Register.

Cloud.com will develop code that hooks into Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, and once the code is finished, it will be checked into the OpenStack public code repository. The inaugural OpenStack release – codenamed Austin – arrived earlier this week. It works with the Xen and KVM open source hypervisors, the Citrix XenServer hypervisor, and – to a lesser extent – Oracle's type 2 or hosted hypervisor.

OpenStack was founded by Rackspace and NASA, after both outfits were struggling to scale their own infrastructure clouds. OpenStack is based on Nova, a cloud fabric controller designed by NASA, and Cloud Files, a storage controller built by Rackspace. According to NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp, the project is an effort to create a Linux-like ecosystem for infrastructure clouds.

Originally, NASA built its Nebula cloud using Eucalyptus, another open-source platform. But Eucalyptus didn't scale as well as NASA would have liked, and it wasn't as open as the agency expected.

The company that oversees the project, Marten Mickos' Eucalyptus System, has adopted an "open core" model. There's an open-source version of the platform. But there's also an enterprise version that incorporates proprietary software. According to Kemp, NASA tried to make patches to the open source project to improve scaling, but these were rejected because they conflicted with the enterprise product.

So, OpenStack is meant to provide an entirely open framework for cloud builders. And, yes, Microsoft is onboard. "We are actively involved in open-source applications, support for open soruce community, and all that – if you look at our support for PHP and the LAMP stack and SugarCRM," Microsoft director of cloud solutions Hameed Mohammed tells us. "So this was a natural progression for us."

According to Mohammed and MacLean, Microsoft's embrace of OpenStack was driven at least in part by customers and partners. "They want to be able to use our hypervisor technologies as part of their own cloud environments," MacLean says. "As the OpenStack project has moved along, we've taken the opportunity to work provide customers with this choice."

The company is careful to say that the sort of infrastructure clouds promised by OpenStack are very different from the "platform cloud" known as Windows Azure. Whereas an infrastructure cloud offers up raw processing power, storage, and networking as its needed, a platform or development cloud offers tools for building, hosting, and scaling applications, while hiding the raw resources. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.