Open source gains popularity in private clouds

Internal, private cloud computing deployments gain steam, and according to attendees at OSCON, open source is the way to go.

SAN JOSE -- It probably comes as no surprise that the general cloud computing market is heavily into open source. From Amazon.com's Xen-based cloud infrastructure to the LAMP-stack components in most cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) and e-business startups, the public cloud is a fertile environment for open source. What may be less obvious is the extent to which internal "private" clouds are in the open source camp.

At a session at O'Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) this week titled "Private Clouds -- Why They Matter," there was a robust discussion regarding internal cloud computing plans. While few of the attendees had large-scale internal clouds in production, several had some operating cloud infrastructure running in-house, and many claimed to be actively evaluating the technology.

To be fair, some of the session attendees were from companies such as SaaS providers or software developers -- though their comments were clearly directed toward use of cloud technologies for internal applications (rather than their public Web sites). However, there were several traditional end users there as well.

It quickly became clear that many of these internal private clouds were not just using open source (Linux, MySQL, etc.); they were built on open source. Eucalyptus was most often cited as the base platform for building private clouds, and this was true even when VMware was an organization's primary virtualization environment.

The key takeaways included the following:

  1. Internal private cloud deployment is gaining steam.
  2. Many traditional internal IT organizations are considering open source (mostly Eucalyptus) to get them there.

John Treadway is an enterprise and Web 2.0 technology veteran, and he has created two companies built on open source technologies running in a cloud infrastructure. Treadway is a blogger on cloud computing and enterprise technologies and is the lead local organizer of CloudCamp Boston.

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