A piece of news that I’ve been aware of for a month or two now is today public knowledge – Nimbula (more on them here), the cloud infrastructure company famously founded by the team that developed Amazon’s prescient EC2 offering, is signing up to join the OpenStack community. Nimbula is an interesting company – it’s got an amazing pedigree but has remained fairly invisible when compared to other companies and initiatives – they haven’t got the uber-charisma of someone like EucalyptusMarten Mickos to roll out, they don’t have the market share of AWS and they don’t have the widespread buy-in that initiatives like OpenStack or CloudStack have. This despite the fact that Nimbula is actually really successful. Example of this success – Yandex, the largest search engine in Russia runs the Nimbula Director product for its private cloud infrastructure.

In talking about their choice of using Nimbula, Yandex’ Chief of Advertizing Services Operation, Vlad Seliverstov pointed to the fact that:

  • Nimbula Director’s API allowed QA engineers to parallelize testing processes
  • Nimbula Director’s secure self-service capabilities allowed developers to get their instances immediately
  • Nimbula Director’s fine-grained security model allowed different teams to share objects securely

Net result is a reported 90% improvement in the time it takes to deploy sandbox environments for the company. That’s pretty impressive and all the more so given the relative invisibility that Nimbula suffers from. Which brings us to the OpenStack announcement. Nimbula is differentiated by reliability and scale having their experience within the community will only help OpenStack respond to criticisms around maturity

Nimbula is promising delivery of OpenStack API compatibility by the end of the year but, more importantly, that it intends to be an active participant in the community. The bottom line is that it is becoming increasingly impossible for independent vendors to maintain any sort of momentum without tying themselves to one of the more high-profile projects. Eucalyptus has done so by tethering itself to AWS, and Nimbula is following suit with OpenStack.

Ultimately this should be good for the community, and good for Nimbula. Chris Kemp, CEO of another player in the community, Nebula (and how’s that for awful naming similarities) pointed out the benefits that Nimbula will bring to OpenStack:

The Nimbula team has been building and delivering scalable technology for their customers for a couple years now. They can draw on that strong product experience to help improve OpenStack and extend its functionality in a number of areas such as automation, scalability and reliability among others.

Congratulations to Nimbula on the move, and to the OpenStack community on this valuable addition.

Disclosures – I run CloudU, a vendor-neutral, cloud education program sponsored by OpenStack founding company Rackspace. Reza Malekzadeh, VP marketing at Nimbula is an investor alongside me in Appsecute

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.

  • Ernie Nessler |

    A couple of comments as an ex technology partner of Nimbula:
    1) The openstack partnership is a DESPERATION MOVE BY NIMBULA as they are now down to one working customer ( Yandex) . Yes , the other 3 customers listed on their website have or are in process of throwing them out.
    2) The openstack partnership makes Nimbula a “houseboat” : neither a good house , nor a good boat. Are they openstack or proprietary? Even Nimbula’s 11 remaining employees don’t know at this point.

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