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New Software Shifts Data and Apps from Public to Private Clouds

Those that rely on Amazon Web Services for their compute infrastructure felt the ramifications of that dependence last week when a power outage brought on by a cable fault in its North Virginia Availability Zone shut down a number of sites including Quora, Pinterest and's Heroku platform as a service cloud.

The overnight outage lasted a few hours but it gave proponents of private and hybrid clouds cause to extol the virtues of distributing infrastructure and applications to internal datacenters and/or collocation facilities. Coincidentally, a number of software vendors this week are rolling out wares designed to give enterprises the benefits of public cloud computing within their own datacenters. ActiveState, Eucalyptus and Virtustream introduced new software aimed easing the sharing of compute and application workloads between public and private clouds.

While these announcements were planned in advance of Amazon's latest outage at least one seized the opportunity to call attention to itself in wake of the disruption. ActiveState, a company that offers software for running applications on platform as a service (PaaS) clouds, reached out yesterday on the premise of the Heroku outage. "We're being a little opportunistic, to be honest," admitted Toph Whitmore, ActiveState's VP of marketing. "But let me be clear, Heroku's disruption from Amazon's outage is not something to gloat about, it hurts everybody. If anything it could really further delay consideration for cloud computing adoption whether it's public cloud or private cloud."

The new 1.2 version of ActiveState's Stackato software allows developers host PaaS-style clouds in their own datacenters. The new release allows for the migration Heroku Buildpacks from the public cloud to datacenters running Stackato. As a result, customers can move applications built to run on Heroku, which was unavailable during the Amazon outage, in their datacenters without modifying any of the apps underlying code.

Heroku Buildpacks are scripts that are used to build and host specific application frameworks. "Never say 'never' but there is no recoding necessary for Heroku apps to run on Stackato," Whitmore said. "Now there is a migration path for enterprises running on Heroku who need something a little more secure."

For those looking to migrate their Amazon workloads, there are a number of options. As I reported last week, Citrix is positioning CloudStack as a compute infrastructure suited for the development of private and public clouds that support Amazon's APIs. AppFog, Nimbula and Eucalyptus also offer software offers compatibility with Amazon (AppFog's PaaS software also supports HP Cloud, OpenStack and Windows Azure).

Eucalyptus today launched version 3.1 of its namesake platform. The new release brings together the free open source version and the commercially supported distribution under one platform, said Marten Mickos, Eucalyptus CEO. "It is the same underlying platform, there's just one development tree," Mickos said. A key new feature in the new release, called FastStart, provides a self-service, automated setup procedure for building infrastructure as a service (IaaS) clouds.

The FastStart capability, which Mikos said allows a user to set up a cloud in 20 minutes, can be set up on CentOS 5 with the Xen hypervisor or CentOS 6 with KVM. FastStart provides access to what Eucalyptus calls euStores, pre-built cloud images. For those that want to build more sophisticated images, the company offers SilverEye, consisting of installation and configuration tools.

For those not requiring FastStart and looking for enterprise grade deployments, Eucalyptus 3.1 now runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Amazon EC2, EBS S3 storage and Identity and Access Management (IAM) running VMs from Red Hat or VMware. Also starting with the new release, Eucalyptus is making all source code available on GitHub, where all development activity will take place and defect and feature tracking will be posted.

Virtustream, which operates six datacenters worldwide, today said it is offering the software that powers its cloud infrastructure to customers who want to shift their workloads between public and private clouds. Chief marketing officer Simon Aspinall said Virtustream is moving to compete with companies like Eucalyptus and Nimbula but argues its new xStream 2.0 software offers "a private cloud tailored to the enterprise, high security, high compliance, high performance guaranteed model."

Aspinall said the software offers silicon-level authentication with Intel TxT and supports a variety of security and compliance standard including FISMA, HIPAA, PCI and the SAS 70 and SSAE 16 audit standards, among others. The software can meet service level agreements by dynamically integrating compute, storage and networking into what the company calls MicroVMs, which provides multitenant virtualization.

Virtustream's software also offers the ability for service providers to offer consumption-based pricing and for enterprises to establish chargeback based on usage in increments as little as 5 minutes. The software is entering beta this week and will be generally available next month, Aspinall said.

For those with compliance or governance restrictions that prohibit them from putting certain types of data in the public cloud, these new options, among others, promise to make it more practical to implement hybrid clouds, while providing platforms for moving apps and workloads between public and private clouds.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/19/2012 at 1:14 PM


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