Amazon Architects Promise Simple Cloud From Scratch

Startup promises clouds that almost build and run themselves.

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Among the companies trying to get some PR mileage out of the marketing food-fights that go on between Citrix and VMware every time one or the other has a big user show, is Nimbula, a startup with a cloud computing plan far more ambitious than either of the big bullies.

The company was launched by Chris Pinkham and Willem van Bijon, two of the architects of Amazon's EC2 cloud-computing service, which defined the category, for better or worse.

Nimbula is pushing the same private/public cloud model VMware is, but is trying to automate the configuration, load balancing and provisioning of a private cloud to such an extent the whole thing sounds like a fantasy to anyone who's ever configured email to run across a LAN, let alone ERP to work across the globe.

"Our software automatically installs on lots of customer nodes so there's not much installation or configuration," CEO Pinkham said when the company came out of stealth in June.

"You set policies, and to the extent possible the system takes care of the configuration. If you want to run application A in a New York data center, run applications B and C in Dublin, the system will maintain the credentials so it knows this instantiation needs X amount of memory and Y amount of storage or other attributes, and makes sure it gets them."

Great idea, but as clear an example of the "automagic" rule as there ever was. If someone described by others as a "visionary" ever tells your board something will happen "automagically" when they press a button, make them reveal the trick and how it's supposed to happen without any intervention. Otherwise, you can be sure the only thing on the other side of the button is a sharp stick ready to poke you in the backside so you'll know it's time to make the magic happen.

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