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OpenNebula 1.4 Challenges Eucalyptus and Nimbus

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OpenNebula 1.4 Challenges Eucalyptus and Nimbus

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There is a great need in enterprise IT shops for versatile tools that can manage virtual machines across a complex, heterogeneous landscape.  The open architecture of OpenNebula provides the flexibility that many shops need for internal cloud adoption.  OpenNebula is a Virtual Infrastructure Manager for building Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud infrastructures based on Xen, KVM, and VMware virtualization platforms.  A new version of the OpenNebula (1.4) toolkit was recently released, and includes more integrations in its architecture.  The toolkit is free and open source under the Apache License.  With the right integrations, OpenNebula includes features that other open source cloud tools like Eucalyptus and Nimbus don't.

OpenNebula comes in handy when one division of an IT department is using one VM as their standard and another division is using a different one.   The management tool focuses on smart workload provisioning with policy-based management to match all aspects of service level agreements (availability, performance, auditing, etc).  With the creation of an infrastructure incorporating the heterogeneous resources in the data center, OpenNebula can help achieve higher utilization of existing resources.  By managing infrastructure sharing between different departments, OpenNebula can also remove application silos.  The toolkit can reduce space, administration effort, power requirements, and cooling requirements with server consolidation.



In the latest release, OpenNebula now provides on-demand access to Amazon EC2 and ElasticHosts Cloud providers. It also supports new local and Cloud interfaces, including libvirt (API toolkit for recent versions of Linux), EC2 Query API, and OGC OCCI API.   The OpenNebula EC2 Query is a web service that enables users to launch and manage virtual machines in an OpenNebula installation using the Amazon EC2 Query interface, making your Private Cloud accessible through the EC2 Query tool. There is also support for multiple users, image transferring and cloning, virtual network management, and service contextualization.  The contextualization support implements multi-component services and allows integration with VM packs.

The previous versions of OpenNebula, the focus was on Private and Hybrid Cloud computing.  The newest version incorporates a new service to expose Cloud interfaces to Private or Hybrid Cloud deployments.   For one example, this new features could allow partners or external users with access to the private infrastructure to sell overcapacity.  With multiple user support and access-right control, Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks can be accessed more widely within the enterprise.

Another major new feature of OpenNebula 1.4 is VMware support through the VMware Infrastructure API.  With a complete set of language-neutral interfaces to the VMware virtual infrastructure management framework, the OpenNebula VMware adapters are able to manage various VMware hypervisors including ESXi, ESX and VMware Server.  In the new version of OpenNebula, users could create a Cloud infrastructure based on VMware that interfaces with the newly added Amazon EC2 Query API.  Some other important features include a new hook system, support for block devices as VM images, and support for LVM storage.

Here is a paper containing a comparison of Virtual Infrastructure Management tools.  In some cases, with the right integrations, OpenNebula provides more functionality than Nimbus or Eucalyptus.

Haizea integration extends OpenNebula's scheduling capabilities.  It allows OpenNebula to support advance resource reservation and queuing of best effort requests.  In a general sense, it facilitates the leasing of resources as VMs with a variety of lease terms. Haizea can simply be dropped in as a replacement for OpenNebula's default scheduler.  The RESERVOIR Cloud interface is another integration that the OpenNebula team is working on.  According to the project site, RESERVOIR is "a European Union FP7 funded project that will enable massive scale deployment and management of complex IT services across different administrative domains, IT platforms and geographies."

Downloads for OpenNebula 1.4 are available as source code under Apache license.  There are also binary packages for RedHat/CentOS, Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora.
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