I’ve written previously about Nimbula (see here) the company founded by the creators of Amazon’s EC2 product to;

Blend Amazon EC2-like scale, agility and efficiency, with private infrastructure customization and control

Previously only available to beta testers, Nimbula is today making a double announcement, the first involved the release to general availability of their flagship product, Nimbula director. The concept behind Director, and behind a bunch of other services I’ve reviewed, is to enable the management of both on and off-premise resources – powering private and hybrid cloud for enterprise customers.

As I’ve said before, private cloud may not make the purists happy but, live it or loathe it, there is significant enterprise interest in a private cloud offering.The ability to automate the provision of that cloud, as well as automate the integration between private and public resource, is compelling.

Director provides cloud features like policy-based authorization, secure multi-tenancy, topology-independent distributed network security and monitoring and metering – in other words most of the building blocks that enterprises need to create their own hybrid cloud environments.

Nimbula is also announcing a free product – for deployments on infrastructure under 40 cores, Nimbula Director will be licensed free of charge. But with paid support options.

At the same time as the GA announcement, Nimbula is creating an ecosystem of partners, all looking to accelerate the adoption of the Director product offering. The idea of the ecosystem is to create a turnkey solution to allow organizations to implement private, hybrid or public clouds. The initial partners include Cloud Cruiser, enStratus, Opscode, Puppet Labs and Scalr. Their offerings cover the whitespaces that Director doesn’t – application deployment and management, user billing and chargeback, and will optimize the use of the underlying hardware infrastructure. Specific offerings from these vendors include;

  • Cloud Cruiser delivers a cost optimization solution that identifies and analyzes costs across heterogeneous cloud environments. By providing customers with true cost visibility, powerful Business Intelligence (BI) analytics, billing and chargeback, Cloud Cruiser leverages usage data from Nimbula Director to help customers realize significant cost savings across their infrastructure.
  • enStratus is a cloud infrastructure management solution for deploying and managing enterprise-class applications in public and private clouds. Their partnership with Nimbula will allow customers to use their solution to gain the controls, governance and automation of cloud infrastructures powered by Nimbula Director. “
  • Opscode’s Chef is a server configuration management and systems integration framework that allows for dynamic configuration. Opscode’s Chef is a server configuration management and systems integration framework that allows for dynamic configuration.
  • Puppet Labs will allow Nimbula Director customers to automate the provisioning, patching and configuration of their operating systems and applications. Thousands of organizations have adopted their solution and will be able to use their existing implementations with Nimbula Director deployments.
  • Scalr helps customers provision new servers on-the-fly to handle spikes in demand and decommission them when they are no longer needed, handling all database scaling aspects along the way. Connecting to Nimbula Director’s API, Scalr’s new product version will bring joint customers the benefits of application monitoring and auto-scaling.

It’s an interesting play – the test will be to see just how tight the integrations are between these disparate products. If customers can buy a complete solution, ostensibly from one vendor (or at least with one billing arrangement) and if an SLA can be negotiated that covers all of these products together – it might just be a compelling offering. However in the event that organizations need to negotiate multiple billing arrangements and multiple different SLA levels, that will create a significant, and potentially insurmountable, barrier to adoption.

It’s an issue I discussed in a briefing with Sundar Raghavan from Skytap yesterday. Skytap provides an end-to-end automation service and he agreed (admittedly from something of a vested interest perspective) that this is what he’s seeing in the marketplace.

My gut feel is that the vendors understand this and I’m expecting a much tighter integration (both at a business and a technology level) going forwards.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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