October 4, 2011
It seems like every day I get a briefing from a vendor whose elevator pitch goes something along the lines of “We enable enterprises to manage their infrastructure – on-premise or cloud in a consistent and flexible way by spanning the spectrum from traditional infrastructure to cloud providers”, recently the candidate making this claim was Abiquo. I spent some time talking to Abiquo about who they are and what they do.
Founded in 2006 in Spain, Abiquo is now headquartered in the US and is pinning its hopes on organizations wanting multiple services from fully interoperable and vendor neutral providers. It supports a broad range of hypervisors including;
Virtual machines are stored in Open Virtualization Format meaning that conversion between hypervisor types should be rapid. In terms of functionality, Abiquo provides users with;
- Global infrastructure management, single point control for public, private and hybrid environments
- Delegated control allows hierarchical user management and role based permissions to extend across the resource pool
- Business policies to automate resource allocation based on a number of factors
- “Virtual enterprises” allows autonomy for a subset of the resource pool for particular divisions/departments
- Ability to pre-define resource limits
- Network and storage management
- Multiple libraries for virtual machine images
- Integrations with LDAP/AD
The neutrality aspect is one that Abiquo is keen to leverage – the proposition they offer to organizations is that they’re not a solution that was built simply to support one single hypervisor – by offering multiple hypervisors at arms length, they are able to offer an independent management and control offering. In effect Abiquo sets itself up to be the “honest broker” between physical resources and virtual infrastructure. Abiquo take infrastructure (physical, virtual, on-prem and outsourced) and presents this as a single layer menu that downstream users can utilize. Much of the decision making process around this utilization (ie on which piece of infrastructure to run a particular end user resource) is automated via pre-determined policies and business rules.
An Abiquo installation consists of central server components, together with remote service agents in each physical datacenter. These can be deployed on the customer’s choice of bare metal operating system or virtual machine. Abiquo can use a wide variety of industry standard databases and connects to storage either directly or via API.
All this sounds excellent, but the different between being a cloud platform and a cloud management tool lies in the widespread support that a product has. As it stands Abiquo has some prototype integrations with public cloud providers but these have not been formalized into product releases. Abiquo tell me that their enterprise customers have other priorities. As they stand Abiquo has a real value proposition for telcos and MSPs looking to build clouds for their customers. As an enterprise level cloud management solution however, I’d like to see broader support – both in terms of Abiquo supporting different vendors and other management tools supporting Abiquo – before giving Abiquo the big tick.