By: Gigaom
Nimbula, Citrix clouds vow Amazon-style computing
If you didn't think that Amazon was the king of cloud, just look at what other cloud companies announced Monday. Even paragons of the private cloud world are trying to cloak themselves in the glow cast by Amazon, which is squarely in public cloud realm.

If you don’t think that Amazon Web Services is the king of cloud, just look at what other cloud companies are announcing this week. Even paragons of the private cloud world are trying to cloak themselves in the glow cast by Amazon, which is squarely in public cloud realm.

On Monday, Citrix Systems said its new Citrix CloudStack 3 will let customers of all sizes build their own “Amazon style clouds.” The offering is actually the next release of Cloud.com, a private-cloud provider (and service) that Citrix purchased last July.

The new CloudStack, the first to come out under the Citrix brand, adds new support for Swift, the OpenStack object storage technology. And, CloudStack 3 includes a “cloud-optimized version of Citrix XenServer as a core integrated feature,” according to Citrix. Public cloud powers Amazon, Rackspace, GoGrid and SoftLayer all use XenServer or Xen virtualization. Having said that, CloudStack 3 will also support rival KVM, OVM, vSphere and Xen virtualization, Citrix said. CloudStack 3 is now in beta and be broadly available later this quarter. The product also adds support for Swift, the OpenStack object storage technology.

Cloud.com has seen some good traction as a private cloud platform, with customers including Zynga, Tata Communications and Edmunds.com.

Also on Monday, Nimbula said its new Nimbula Director 2.0 private-cloud software adds support for VMware, which Nimbula will deliver Amazon EC2-like functionality to VMware ESX users. That’s an interesting claim since the company’s co-founders, Chris Pinkham and Willem van Biljion, led development of EC2 at Amazon.

The ESXi support means Nimbula can layer its EC2-like management function directly atop the VMware hypervisor. In a full VMware stack, the customer would use vSphere, vCenter and vCloud Director. In this case, Nimbula Director running atop the hypervisor brings Nimbula’s “developer friendly” functionality and management right to the hypervisor itself.  According to a Nimbula spokeswoman, classic enterprise applications run great on VMware but newer apps built to run on Amazon EC2, don’t necessarily run properly on the full VMware stack.

 The Director 2.0 software, which will also support VMware’s Cloud Foundry platform as as service, is in beta now and should be generally available in March, the company said at the Cloud Connect Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. on Monday.

Carl Brooks, cloud analyst for Tier1 Research, a division of The 451 Group said Nimbula has ” better technological bona fides than almost any other cloud platform, thanks to the pedigree from Pinkham and Van Biljion.”

He did note that Nimbula’s reference customers, VirtualScale and Solers, are a systems integrator and a solution provider, respectively. “That’s not the creme de la creme enterprise win everyone wants, but the fact that [Nimbula] developed this capability for VMware shows you that the technology is filtering into enterprises via the channel and no matter how much noise anybody makes about enterprise wins, the majority of cloud platforms are getting sold to service providers and the channel. That’s a fact,” Brooks said.

In general, these private cloud infrastructure providers are pretty much in the same boat. They have customers, but many of them are third-party channel partners as opposed to the enterprise end-user accounts these vendors crave. But, Brooks said, they should embrace that.

“Everyone is chasing Amazon like it’s the gold standard when [what Amazon does] is just one way to do cloud and hardly the way enterprises care to think about it,” Brooks said. “Tell an IT guy at a big shop you can give him a platform to spin up servers in minutes and he’ll look at you like you’re yesterday’s catch — he’s been able to do that technically since forever. It’s just not the point for enterprise IT, it is the point for IT infrastructure providers.”

Photo courtesy of Flickr user theaucitron.

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