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Red Hat's Aeolus to 'out-Linux' Rackspace's cloud

OpenStack with a Fedora twist

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Governance

There's no word yet on what the governance structure for Aeolus will look like, meaning that – just like just OpenStack – Aeolus will be dominated by engineers from a single company. This time it's Red Hat, which makes Aeolus look more than a little like OpenStack. The impression is not helped by the fact Aeolus is being billed by Red Hat as the free, community edition of CloudForms. CloudForms was released to a beta program – now closed – in May this year. CloudForms is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

The analogy being made at Red Hat is that Aeolus is like Fedora, the Linux project led by Red Hat whose work feeds into Red Hat Linux, and whose features can often foreshadow what is coming in the next version of Red Hat's Linux disro.

Crenshaw reckoned it is natural for such a project to be led by one company while it is still spinning up. He also pointed to Red Hat's experience in running the Fedora and JBoss communities as proof of its credentials and good intentions.

"Our goal here is to build a really strong community," Crenshaw told The Reg. "It's not about Red Hat owning the leadership of every [Aeolus] project."

IBM is a key partner of Red Hat on servers and is involved in the Open Virtualization Alliance. Will IBM – not a member of OpenStack but offering to set up clouds for its customers – also participate in Aeolus? Crenshaw would not comment on IBM's participation, but said only that Red Hat is "building the community."

OpenStack inside

Crenshaw added that Aeolus is not being built in isolation from other cloud projects. He said that Red Hat is taking a best-of-breed approach, and noted that Aeolus is being built on some of OpenStack's code. The project is using code from the OpenStack cloud files to manage the indexing of applications' meta data, federate the archival storage of images and artifacts, and to federate to clouds.

There are 65 projects in Red Hat's CloudForm, on which Aeolus is based. You can see the projects that comprise Aeolus here. They cover: the configuration and running of cloud instances; a web-based UI to setup and manage clouds; the ability to install and configure Aeolus components; the ability to build images for different cloud providers; the ability to store images; and the ability to automatically install guest operating systems. There is also a light-weight Ruby wrapper so that Aeolus can talk to the VMware APIs; Aeolus is partly written in Ruby.

Crenshaw explained how he hoped Aeolus would eventually work. "You create an application description, include the policies about where it should run, how it should be optimized for cost and security, then you go to a self service portal and the application is deployed to the best infrastructure – given the other policies and load on the system."

The Red Hat engineers working on Aeolus told The Reg the system is basic at the moment: composition of applications is done using a simple command line, but the UI is up for stopping and starting modules and for managing users.

The hope is that by next February, Aeolus will deliver something more like a finished product. This will mean the ability to define, run and manage an application – including sign-in, security and patch management – across multiple rather than single instances. ®

Bootnote

OpenStack community manager Stephen Spector has stepped down after less than a year. Spector, previously with Citrix, joined OpenStack to build the OpenStack community organization. He has now handed the reins over to Stefano Maffulli. Maffulli's background includes working at the Free Software Foundation, Funambol, Twitter and the FreedomBox Foundation. Spector said of his exit: "With this [OpenStack's] enormous growth comes a broad array of possible work opportunities that are unique in challenge and scope, and I have decided to move on from being your Community Manager to take up new projects within OpenStack."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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