Regular readers of CloudAve know that I am a sucker of federated clouds and I have been pushing the idea of regional clouds hard. In this context, I have been talking about enablers like VMOps and regional cloud providers like Reliacloud and Scaleup Technologies . Today, VMOps announced that they are rebranding as Cloud.com along with few other interesting announcements. The name VMOps has been confusing to many people. Initially, I also thought that they are somehow affiliated with VMWare. I guess others, including their potential customers, had the same problem and they decided to rebrand. Cloud.com should be a great name for any company in the cloud computing space but I am not sure if it really solves the confusion.
Let me first summarize their recent announcements including the ones made today and then dig a little deeper to get a better perspective.
  • First and foremost, they are now Cloud.com
  • Second, but most important from my perspective, their core platform is now open source
  • \They have another round of funding worth $11 Million with Index Ventures leading the Series B round. The total funding to date is $17.6 Million.
  • Version 2 of their platform is out and is more powerful than the previous version. Their platform now has comprehensive support for major cloud providers like the Amazon Web Services API, Citrix Cloud Center™ (C3) and VMware’s vCloud initiative
  • Many more customers added since the last time I spoke with them
From my point of view, the two announcements that interests me the most are the release of their new platform and its release under open source license. I will dig a bit deeper on these two themes and explain why it interests me the most. I am going to harp on the theme of federated clouds again and, then, argue how this announcement plays a significant role in the emergence of such an ecosystem.
Their platform, now called as CloudStack and which is in version 2, helps in the deployment, management and configuration of multi-tier and multi-tenant private and public cloud services. CloudStack platform offers an easy way to provision virtual machines and scale up and down instantaneously like many of the other cloud providers. Some of the significant features of CloudStack platform are
  • Easy provisioning of virtual machines of any “compute size” with complete automation of the distribution of compute, network and storage while adhering to defined policies on load balancing, data security and compliance. Their powerful management tool helps in mefining, metering, deploying and managing services to be consumed within the existing cloud or IT infrastructure
  • An integrated billing system that will help public providers with billing of their customers and private cloud users with chargeback
  • It is easily integrated with Amazon and works well with Citrix Cloud Center API and vCloud API
  • The fact that it is open source means that anyone can add functionalities to suit their existing IT environment
  • They have done a good job on the security front too. They offer isolation at the network level and it could come handy for any organization that has to deal with regulatory issues
  • Their built in reporting system makes billing and compliance easy for both service providers and enterprises
Even though we only heard about service provider deployment during their initial stages of existence (ReliaCloud and Cloud Centra l in Australia), they are now focussing on the enterprise side too. Their CloudStack platform comes in three flavors.
  • Cloud.com CloudStack Platform Community Edition
  • Cloud.com CloudStack Platform Enterprise Edition
  • Cloud.com CloudStack Platform Service Provider Edition
The Community edition is the open source core platform which is free to download. This is released under GPLv3 license and is available for download from this site . The enterprise and service provider edition have some proprietary components available with a subscription based support. The service provider edition will help public cloud providers offer an Amazon Web Services like offerings without any big financial or labor investments. Core management functions like end user self service administration, management, cloud administration, billing and reporting. The enterprise edition has features similar to this but more suitable for building a private cloud inside of the enterprise.
The other interesting part of the announcements to me was the release of their open source edition. This is a win-win for both Cloud.com and users of the platform. Cloud.com gets an opportunity to tap into the distributed world of open source talent. This open licensing model will help them get contribution from the users. The world is full of users with diverse needs. Just a handful of big cloud providers cannot satisfy these needs. The “my way or highway” approach of big providers may not be palatable to many. Our world is diverse and any computing ecosystem that satisfy their needs will be a diverse one. Clearly, we are going towards a future where we have a federated ecosystem of diverse cloud providers. Releasing the core platform as an open source is a clever way for Cloud.com to gain traction in such a marketplace.
There are few people who are skeptical about the idea of “Regional Clouds” because they can’t scale like Amazon or Google. While it is true that no single regional player can scale like Amazon or Google, an open federated ecosystem implies that they can achieve scaling by coming together with an open platform underneath their offerings. Let me try to explain it better. When I wrote a post about ScaleUp Technologies , I talked about their partnership with XSeed Co. Ltd. in Japan. That was clearly a case of a regional provider partnering with another provider using the same platform to offer scaling and geographical redundancy to their end users. This is a perfect example for a federated cloud ecosystem.
However, the fact that their cloud is built on top of Applogic allows for federation and they have partnered with XSeed Co. Ltd., a Japan based cloud provider also built on top of 3tera’s Applogic platform. This partnership allows ScaleUp to let their customers tap into XSeed’s infrastructure (and vice versa) right from the their UI. This is a perfect example of an federated cloud ecosystem in action, albeit a smaller one.
When we have cloud built on top of open platforms with open standards, interfaces and formats, we can have an open federated cloud ecosystem that could scale well like the big players like Amazon, Google, etc. and offer even better geographical redundancy. Such an ecosystem can support not just the diverse needs of the end users but also the regulatory requirements put forward by their governments. In this regard, opensourcing of CloudStack platform is significant and could play a role in establishing the open federated cloud ecosystem I am dreaming. Plus, it is a very good marketing tool for them. Clearly, the market is skewed towards some of the big Infrastructure service providers and there is a heavy competition for them on the private cloud market too. Open source makes it easy for them to gain significant traction in this competitive landscape.
The folks at VMOps, oops, Cloud.com were successful in keeping my mouth shut for a long time with their embargo and, finally, I got a chance to write about what I felt about their move. I think it is a great move and could play a major role in establishing an open federated cloud ecosystem. Already the post has become too long and I didn’t get a chance to write about how this move could have major implications on the private cloud enterprise market. Well, I guess I have to keep it for another day.
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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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