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New Cloud Products Rise at CloudConnect Conference

The annual CloudConnect conference got under way this week in Santa Clara, Calif. There's a great speaker lineup, and lots of vendor news at this year's event. Among the more noteworthy vendor announcements was Nimbula's beta release of its Director 2.0 product. The company expects a general availability release in March.

Nimbula is a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of "cloud operating system technology" that was developed by the company's founders in Cape Town, South Africa. The company describes Nimbula Director as "a new class of cloud infrastructure and services system that uniquely combines the flexibility, scalability and operational efficiencies of the public cloud with the control, security and trust of today's most advanced data centers." Think of it as Amazon EC2-like services behind the firewall.

Nimbula Director is an extensible cloud platform designed to embrace augmentation by third parties. The custom logic of network, data, PaaS and other cloud services can be embedded in the cloud and run and managed as though Nimbula wrote it. Consequently, these services inherit Director's high availability, multi-tenancy, and network security functionality.

The latest release adds some nifty enhancements, including support for VMware's ESXi hypervisor. Version 2.0 will also support VMware's Cloud Foundry PaaS. Director 2.0 is among the first solutions to bring the Cloud OS model of an EC2-style cloud to VMware customers. (Nimbula is now a member of VMware's Technology Alliance Program.)

This version also extends its management "from the control plane up into the end user application space," the company says. In other words, users can now orchestrate the provisioning of applications and let the system monitor and manage them over their lifetimes.

And this release also "rounds out" Director's IaaS networking feature set (which already included DHCP, NAT, firewall and VLAN services) with DNS and VPN services. This gives Director a complete set of the networking services required for running real world apps.

Two other announcements caught my attention:

  1. Cloud-based hosting service AppFog  has added Blitz.io and Iron.io to its recently introduced add-on program. Blitz provides application and Web site developers with "powerful yet simple capabilities including continuous monitoring, performance testing and remediation." Iron.io specializes in cloud queuing systems; IronMQ is its elastic message queue and IronWorker is its task queue.

    Portland, Ore.-based AppFog was founded about a year ago by Web developer Lucas Carlson, co-author (with Leonard Richardson) of Ruby Cookbook: Recipes for Object Oriented Scripting. The company initially billed itself as a PHP-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider, but quickly began supporting Ruby, Python, Perl, Node.js and Java. The company launched the add-on program in December, and just keeps adding vendors. The list also includes New Relic, MongoLab, MailGun and MongoHQ.

  2. The OpenStack experts at Mirantis have teamed up with cloud training organizer CloudCamp to deliver a series of training courses in OpenStack technology. The program aims to "expand the pool of skilled engineering talent and expertise that a growing number of enterprises require in order to create, deploy and maintain OpenStack solutions."

OpenStack is an open-source project made up of several interrelated projects focused on delivering various components for a cloud infrastructure solution. As the community Web site describes it, the project "aims to deliver solutions for all types of clouds by being simple to implement, massively scalable, and feature rich." More than 145 leading companies participate in the OpenStack project, including AMD, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, Intel and Microsoft.

Posted by John K. Waters on February 14, 2012