An Update from Eucalyptus’s CTO and Founder

June 8, 2011

Yesterday at Cloud Expo I bumped in to Dr. Rich Wolski, CTO and co-founder of Cloud player, Eucalyptus.  It had been a while since we had last talked so I grabbed some time with him and got him to give me the skinny:

Some of the ground Rich covers:

  • Eucalyptus’s major release which is coming out in the next 4 weeks
  • [0:40] The RightScale myCloud integration that they announced yesterday (linking Eucalyptus private clouds with various public clouds)
  • [2:01] Eucalyptus’s relationship with Canonical and how their interests are diverging
  • [3:15] Where specifically Eucalyptus is targeted
  • [4:25] What are some of their goals and product features they’d like to add over the next year

Extra-credit reading


Ubuntu cloud update — OpenStack, Eucalyptus, Ensemble & Orchestra

June 7, 2011

Today when I was walking the floor at the Cloud Expo here in New York, I ran into fellow Austinite Dustin Kirkland.  Dustin is the manager for systems integration team for Ubuntu.  I got Dustin to give me the low down on the most recent UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) that concluded a few weeks ago in Budapest:

Some of the ground that Dustin covers

  • The big areas of focus on the server side coming out of Budapest
  • Getting behind OpenStack as the Ubuntu IaaS platform
  • [1:09] The pioneering work they’ve done with Eucalyptus and how its use case differs from that of OpenStack
  • [2:05] The Ensemble project, a service orchestration framework for the cloud which is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth.
  • [3:59] Ubuntu Orchestra for cloud installation, provisioning and configuration management (using Puppet)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Eucalyptus back at OpenStack Design Summit

April 26, 2011

At the last OpenStack design summit, I sat down with Eucalyptus co-founder Graziano Obertelli and got his thoughts on the effort.  This morning I bumped into a now clean-shaven Graziano and thought Id get his input on this week’s summit.

Some of the ground Graziano covers:

  • What Graziano’s goals are for this weeks OpenStack summit
  • What sessions he plans to attend
  • Eucalyptus’s big upcoming 3.0 release
  • Looking forward to really engaging with the Eucalyptus community

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Dell provides Ubuntu-powered IaaS-in-a-box

February 3, 2011

Yesterday, the announcement went out that the Dell | Canonical Enterprise Cloud, Standard Edition was out and ready for consumption.  What this cloud-in-a-box allows folks to do is to set-up affordable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas)-style private clouds in their computer labs or data centers.  The cool thing is that, because the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) software  is compatible with Amazon Web Services EC2 and S3 services, it enables IT admins and developers to move workloads between public and private clouds.

Who cares?

Application developers and IT service providers and admins who are setting up cloud POC’s are perfect candidates for this pre-configured testing and development environment.  With regards to industries, areas where there is a lot of software development work like Hosters, Telco & Communications, Media & Entertainment and Web 2.0 businesses are prime markets for the Dell UEC solution.

So what’s in it?

The solutions’ basic components are Dell PowerEdge C systems plus a Dell-specific download of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (made up of the Ubuntu operating system and the Eucalyptus platform for private cloud computing).  To simplify getting the whole shebang up and running Dell and Canonical are providing the following:

Here’s a peak at the hardware that supports it:

The Dell UEC cloud solution pod.

  • Cloud Compute Server – PowerEdge C6100 that embeds four discrete compute nodes in a single enclosure
  • Cloud Front-end Server – PowerEdge C2100 server that acts as an all-in-controller and runs all shared UEC-related services
  • Infrastructure Server – PowerEdge C2100 that runs two components of the cloud infrastructure:
    • Cloud Deployment and Landscape Management
    • Cloud Storage
  • Network switch – PowerConnect 6248

And on the software side…

The architecture looks something like this:

The Dell UEC cloud solution architecture

The software components are:

  • Cloud Controller (CLC) – the cloud portal
  • Walrus Controller (W) – the cloud’s storage repository
  • Cluster Controller (CC) – the controller for a up to 1024 compute cores grouped together as a cluster
  • Storage Controller (SC) – the controller for cluster’s storage repository
  • Compute Node (CN) – cloud’s compute node

And on the support side…

If you’re looking for systems management and support services with your order, you are in luck.  Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has put together UEC Assist, a support service built specifically for Dell customers deploying SE Edition and which is delivered by Canonical’s Global Services and Support team.

Its all about efficiency

From a Dell DCS (the group at Dell behind this) point of view, this offering fits in well with our strategy of bringing total solutions to market that optimize efficiency at every layer, from code to servers to storage.  The open source Dell UEC solution is tailor made to deliver a ready to go IaaS solution.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now..


Mark Shuttleworth on UEC and OpenStack

January 11, 2011

Mark Shuttleworth, the ever gracious founder of Ubuntu, stopped by Dell this morning to talk to various folks about various subjects.   I was able to grab some time with him between meetings and get his thoughts on a few topics.

I was particularly interested in getting his thoughts on Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) which will be available this week from Dell as the Dell | Canonical UEC Solution (along with the UEC software, the solution is based on our PowerEdge C2100 and C6100 and comes with a reference architecture and deployment guide).   The other topic I wanted to get his insight into was OpenStack.

Here’s what Mark had to say:

What Mark talked about

  • How Mark has settled into his role as non-CEO (he is still chairman).
  • What he is focusing on these days: the cloud and product design e.g. Unity.
  • [1:45] The thinking behind UEC and the combined Dell Canonical offering.
  • [3:45] OpenStack and Canonical’s participation
  • Working with both OpenStack and Eucalyptus and how both of these are central to the process of standardization that we are starting to see at the infrastructure layer of cloud computing.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Chatting with Eucalyptus Co-founder about OpenStack

November 11, 2010

Continuing in my series of videos from the OpenStack design summit this week in San Antonio, here is an interview I did yesterday with Eucalyptus systems co-founder Graziano Obertelli.

Eucalyptus allows enterprises to set up open source infrastructure-as-a-service private clouds.  Eucalyptus is also one of the key ingredients in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud that is being certified to run on Dell’s PowerEdge C systems as part of our cloud ISV program.

Here is what Graziano had  to say:

Some of the ground Graziano covers:

  • What goals do the Eucalyptus team have for the summit
  • They’ve recently hired a community manager – Mark Atwood
  • What are their goals for their next release

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Ubuntu, the Cloud and the Future — Neil Levine

July 27, 2010

After the cloud summit last week at OSCON, I sat down with Neil Levine of Canonical to see what was in store for Ubuntu cloud-wise (Canonical is a partner of ours in our cloud ISV program).  Neil is the VP of Canonical’s corporate services division which handles their cloud and server products.

Here’s what Neil had to say:

Some of the topics Neil tackles:

  • The next Ubuntu release “Maverick Meerkat” and its geek-a-licious launch date: 10.10.10.
  • Look for Maverick to make Eucalyptus even easier to deploy and use.
  • Data processing and data analytics is one of the key use cases in the cloud and Canonical is looking to move up the stack and provide deep integration for other apps like Hadoop and NoSQL.
  • What are some of the areas of focus for next year’s two releases i.e. 11.04 and 11.10.
  • Project ensemble: what it is and what its goals are.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


The Cloud is a marathon — Marten Mickos, Eucalyptus CEO

June 24, 2010

Yesterday at the GigaOM Structure conference here in San Francisco, I ran into Marten Mickos, the recently appointed CEO of Eucalyptus systems.  Eucalyptus is one of the key ingredients in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud that is being certified to run on Dell’s PowerEdge C systems as part of our cloud ISV program.

Marten, the former CEO of MySQL took the helm of Eucalyptus about three months ago, and was at Structure both as an attendee and participant, sitting on two panels at this two-day cloud-a-polooza.  At the end of the day-one I got some time with Marten and asked him about his new gig.

Some of the topics Marten tackles:

  • How he made the decision to go to Eucalyptus. (Hint: he asked the question, what’s bigger than Open Source)
  • What is Eucalyptus and whats it based on?
  • How will Marten’s experience at MySQL and Sun help him in his new role at Eucalyptus?
    • MySQL was a disrupter of the old whereas Eucalyptus is an innovator of the new.
    • Sun’s company culture was phenomenal, the technology was phenomenal, the business…um…
  • What Eucalyptus is doing with Canonical and the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.
  • What Eucalyptus is focusing on for the next year.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


NetworkWorld Review of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud

May 18, 2010

Tom Henderson and Brendan Allen of ExtremeLabs published a great walk-thru of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) last week in NetworkWorld.  Canonical, the commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu, is one the first members of our Cloud Partner Program and we will soon be offering UEC running on top of our PowerEdge C line accompanied by reference architectures.

If you’re not familiar with UEC, which leverages the open source Eucalyptus private cloud platform, here is a quick backgrounder:

Basically, Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud can be deployed on internal hardware to run job/batch applications. The idea is to initially allocate storage, then rapidly build multiple virtual machines to process data, collect the data, then tear down the infrastructure for re-use by a subsequent purpose.

Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud provides internal cloud control methods that closely mime what can be done on Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure. Its tools can be used to process recurring jobs or one-shot distributed applications, like DNA analysis, video rendering, or database table reformatting/reindexing.

Walk this way

The Review, which is a concise 3 and a half pages, steps you through:

  • Getting started
  • Installation*
  • Setup/configuration
  • Image Bundles
  • Usage/Monitoring

*My favorite line from this section is: “Installation was very simple; we inserted the Ubuntu Server CD, selected Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, and drank energy drinks.”

If you’re interested in learning about UEC this article is a great place to start.

Extra-credit reading

If the above whets your appetite, you may want to dig into the following:

(The last 3 items I grabbed from Dustin’s Blog)

Pau for now…


Talkin’ to Eucalyptus Founder & CTO — Rich Wolski

April 19, 2010

Last month when I was out in the Bay Area for our launch, I was able to catch up with Rich Wolski, founder and CTO of Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is one of the key ingredients in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud that is being certified to run on Dell’s PowerEdge C systems as part of our cloud ISV program.  Here is what Rich had to say:

Some of the topics Rich tackles:

  • How Eucalyptus started at the University of California at Santa Barbara.  They wanted to show how old-style large scale computing (NSF super computer centers) could be combined with new large-scale computing (in the form of Amazon)  in the service of science.  Wanted to also include 4-6 university data centers.
  • They put the code out as open source and got deluged by science and commercial industry about potential applications.  Grew too big to continue as a research project so they brought it outside.
  • Marten Mickos coming on board as CEO.  How it came about.
  • Working with Canonical and Ubuntu and how the relationship began.   UEC and what part Eucalyptus makes up.
  • How NASA is offering a production Eucalyptus cloud to NASA researchers and other governmental agencies.
  • Where Rich sees Eucalyptus going in the next two years.  The importance of the open source community and their continued focus on private clouds in the enterprise.

Pau for now…


Dell’s New Cloud Server line – An Overview

March 30, 2010

At last week’s Dell Launch, “Solutions for the Virtual Era,” we unveiled the first three systems in our new PowerEdge C line.  These “hyper-scale inspired” systems are based on designs that we have built for our largest scaled-out customers such as Windows Azure, Facebook, Ask.com and Tencent.

The PowerEdge C line is targeted at both Public and Private cloud builders as well as HPC, Web 2.0, gaming and large scaled out web farms.  In the video below, Dell solutions architect Rafael Zamora walks us through the PowerEdge C6100, C1100 and C2100.

Upcoming posts

In the days to come I will be posting individual walk-thrus of each of the three systems.  I will also be posting interviews I did with executives from our cloud partners Joyent, Aster Data, Greenplum and Eucalyptus (who’s not a partner but provides a key component of our partner Canonical’s Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud).

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now…


RightScale Part 2: Why the cloud? Apple Fanboys and Server Suffrage

June 18, 2009

Tuesday I listened in on the RighScale webinar: How to Build Scalable Websites in the Cloud.  This is part two of my thoughts and notes from the event.  (Note: it doesn’t look like it’s been posted yet but it should be available here soon).
The clouds providers that Right Scale works with.

The clouds providers that Right Scale works with.

As I discussed last time, RightScale acts as a management platform between cloud providers and Apps.

Which Cloud Providers do they work with?

If you double click on the IAAS bit in the yesterday’s slide you get something like the above.  Right Scale works on top of Amazon, coming soon to Rackspace’s Slicehost, Sun/Oracle’s cloud), Eucalyptus theEC2-compatible open source alternative that allows you to set up “private clouds” (BTW as anyone who attended Austin Cloud camp knows I’m using “private cloud” under duress, Gordon Haff does a good job explaining my heartburn) and VMWare.

Linux more robust than Windows

When asked about OS’s supported the answer was Windows as well as Ubuntu and CentOS.  Their CEO did admit that currently Windows support is not as robust as Linux.  They actually began with CentOS and according to one of their team have recently begun supporting Ubuntu more fully.   When I asked about other Linux flavors, Debian, SuSE etc. they said that there were “licensing issues” standing in the way.  I should have asked about OpenSolaris :)

Animoto, the well used example of how server demand can explode.

Animoto, the well used example of how server demand can explode.

Why do you look to the clouds?

During the webinar they polled the 200 odd attendees: “what’s driving you to the cloud?”  The results (as you’ll notice, you were allowed to vote for more than one):

  • 80% Scalability
  • 73% Cost Savings
  • 59% On Demand access
  • 28% Back-up and recovery
  • 06% Other

Not surprisingly Scalability came in number 1.  As if to underscore the point they brought out everbody’s favorite case study of exploding demand, Animoto.  Thankfully they had another example of uneven demand, iFixit (see below).  As an aside, one example I’d like to see charted is the attendee who mentioned that their agency is responsible for posting election results and were “not prepared for the interest worldwide, for Proposition 8.”

It was interesting to see that cost savings came in a close second, its always hard to measure particularly over the long haul but the perceived cost benefit is definitely strong in most folks mind.

iFixit's traffic could be said to be a tad "spikey."

iFixit's traffic could be said to be a tad "spikey."

Right Scale fighting for Server voting rights

And in conclusion…I’m always intrigued with the way English language morphs and evolves so I thought it was really interesting how the word “vote” is being used in the cloud (or at least by RightScale).  Basically they use a “voting process” when scaling.  Here’s how one of their team explained it.

Once a machine hits the scale up threshold  it places a vote to scale up.  When enough machines vote to scale up i.e. 51% if that that is what the decision threshold is set at, then new servers are provisioned and configured.  The same goes for scaling down.

Don’t know if this usage is new or a throw back from mainframes or from some other industry but I like it.

Pau for now…


Talking to Canonical’s KVM Kid — Dustin Kirkland

April 28, 2009

At Austin Cloud Camp on Saturday I ran into Ubuntu linux developer and Canonical employee, Dustin Kirkland.  Dustin is on the server developer team at Canonical and, as he explains it, focuses on various aspects of virtualization, the plumbing layer below cloud computing.  I grabbed Dustin for a few minutes and chatted with him about last week’s release and what he’s been working on.

Some of the topics Dustin Tackles:

  • KVM, Canonical’s hypervisor of choice
  • Ubuntu’s next release and its focus on Eucalyptus to enable companies to set-up their own EC2 compatible “private clouds” based on Ubuntu servers.
  • What Dustin likes most about cloud computing (hint: think green)
  • What he likes most about working at Canonical

Update: And on a related note — Eucalyptus goes commercial with $5.5M funding round

Pau for now…


Talking to Ubuntu’s Cloud Man

April 23, 2009

Today mark’s the release of Ubuntu 9.04, nee “Jaunty Jackalope,” and the debut of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud powered by Eucalyptus.

To get some insight into the release and what it means, I grabbed some time with Simon Wardley of Canonical.  Simon, who joined Canonical near the end of last year, is the person tasked with looking into cloud computing for the company in order to figure out what it means for them, what it means for the industry and ultimately, determining what Canonical should be doing about this change that’s occurring in our industry.

My interview with Simon (16:14)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Simon Wardley, setting the controls for the heart of the cloud.

Simon Wardley, setting the controls for the heart of the cloud.

Some of the topics Simon tackles:

  • How did Simon get his present job and what was he doing before?
  • When looking at adopting cloud computing three risks need to be evaluated
    • The risk of doing nothing (which should be balanced against the next two)
    • Transitional risk
    • Out sourcing risks
  • Cloud standards will emerge through the marketplace rather than via committee
  • Why Ubuntu went with Amazon EC2 and Eucalyptus.
  • Today’s release is a technical preview, “a starting point in a journey.”
  • For the “Karmic Koala” release due in October, they will be focusing on persistency, policies and portability.  They are also working with a bunch of management tool providers  to allow users a choice of how they want to manage their environment.
  • Whats coming next year in the cloud space:
    • A hybrid model: Private clouds that allow bursting between them and public clouds.
    • Portability between providers will become a big issue.
    • A lot of standardization at the infrastructure layer of the stack
    • An explosion of innovation
    • The IT department will face real governance issues
    • Open source will continue to be critically important

Pau for now…


Mark Shuttleworth dicusses the Cloud and Ubuntu

March 30, 2009

Last month Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, CEO of Cannonical Ltd and First African in Space, announced that Ubuntu was going to be making a big push into cloud computing with their release slated for October.  This will add to early cloud support that’s debuting in next month’s release, Ubuntu 9.04.  (BTW, For a good backgrounder on Mark and Ubuntu, check out Ashlee Vance’s story in the New York Times from January).

I  was interested to get some more details so I reached out to Mark to find out his master Cloud plan, his thoughts on Cloud Computing today and where he thought it was going.  This is what he had to say:

My interview with Mark (9:51)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


Mark and myself at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Boston at the end of ’07 (Mark’s the one without the “Barton” name tag.)

Some of the topics Mark Tackles:

  • Ubuntu has picked two anchor points for its cloud strategy: Amazon EC2 and UCSB‘s (go Gauchos!) Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is for those looking to create “private clouds” on their own and on the Amazon side they are making it easy for users to plug into EC2 as well as offering folks the ability to run Ubuntu-based machines on their cloud.
  • Why they went with EC2 and Eucalyptus.  On the Eucalyptus side it has to with it being Java-based, which meshes nicely with the work Ubuntu did with Sun to get the Java stack “straightened out” on Ubuntu for  app servers.
  • The constraints that EC2 imposes actually make it more interesting by providing discipline, much in the same way that http applied the discipline of being completely connectionless.
  • We haven’t yet seen the “definitive cloud” in  the way that Google came along and captured the spirit (and revenues) of the web.  It will still be 5 -10 years before the cloud computing is nailed.
  • Portability in the Cloud is key if we want to avoid gross lock-in issues.  People are trying to tackle this in a variety of ways but it makes sense to look at the way http came to dominance.
  • Any truth to the rumor that Google is planning on using Ubuntu as a Netbook OS? (listen how Mark deftly responds :)
  • Last time we spoke, back in August, Mark said he was looking at profitability in 18 months to two years, is he still on track?

Pau for now…

Update: Here is the Register article based on the above podcast.


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