Eucalyptus becomes first private cloud provider to support Netflix tools

Netflix generated some buzz recently when it open sourced tools that it developed to manage its Amazon Web Services implementation.

Since Netflix is thought to be the largest AWS user, sharing its experiences and tools is great news for other AWS customers. But what about organizations that use a private cloud instead?

With Eucalyptus 3.3, the latest version of the private cloud software, private cloud users are in luck.

netflix_1.jpgSource: Ken Wilcox, via Flickr

Eucalyptus 3.3 adds a few new AWS-compatible features, including Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancing and CloudWatch, that you need in order to use the Netlix tools.

“There are other companies using our platform on AWS, and additional companies interested in using our platform internally,” Adrian Cockcroft, cloud architect at Netflix, said in an email. “Eucalyptus have added some missing features to enable our platform to run on private clouds, and we are talking to other cloud vendors who are also interested. Eucalyptus are the first to get this done.”

Eucalyptus is excited about this because it proves how close its offering is to AWS. “What would be the best demonstration of the AWS API fidelity? Well, if something really advanced that was written only for AWS actually ran as such on Eucalyptus – that would be pretty impressive,” said Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus.

In other words, Netflix built the tools that it released, including Chaos Monkey, Asgard and Edda, for its AWS implementation. Being able to use those tools on Eucalpytus shows the compatibility between Eucalyptus and AWS.

The ability to join public and private clouds has increasingly been in the spotlight, particularly as the traditional enterprise vendors roll out public and private offerings.

It means that a company could, for instance, do test and dev on an internal cloud and move the workload to a public cloud for production with very little work. Eucalyptus customers already do that with AWS and with this latest release, Eucalyptus is putting the pieces in place to make that easier. However, automatic load transfers won’t happen for a couple years yet, Mickos said.

With autoscaling, one of the new features in Eucalyptus 3.3, users can set rules so that when a workload reaches a certain size, instances are automatically added. It works the same on Eucalyptus as it does with AWS. “The future vision would be to scale to Amazon,” said Mickos. “There are significant technical challenges with that that we are solving but we’re not there yet.” Scaling to AWS in real time could become available in maybe two years, he said.

Automatic scaling to AWS will be a big deal when it comes from Eucalyptus. But it won’t be the only option for automatic scaling to public clouds. Some third-party tools already enable it. Plus, users of other platforms like OpenStack are working on this capability as well.

A couple years sounds like a long time to get to autoscaling from Eucalyptus clouds to AWS but whether it's too long will depend on how elegantly competitors both inside and outside of the AWS ecosystem manage to implement that capability.

In the meantime, Eucalyptus continues to be happy with the opportunity it sees in sticking with AWS. “At Eucalyptus we say there’s nothing like Amazon. They are the dominant force. There isn’t a developer under the age of 25 who isn’t secretly developing something on Amazon. We say, ‘hey, it’s de facto, Amazon is winning, let’s side with them,’” Mickos said.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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