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Nimbula Enhances, Adds Features In Cloud OS

Seeking to bring cloud computing features to the VMware virtualization private cloud space, Nimbula has announced a new version of its Nimbula Director cloud operating system. In addition to supporting the VMware ESXi hypervisor, Version 2.0 is intended to support VMware's Cloud Foundry platform as a service (PaaS) solution. The company also said it is now a member of VMware's Technology Alliance Program. Other enhancements in this version include the ability for third parties to write software for the Nimbula Director platform, as well as the ability to manage and monitor applications, provide Dynamic Name Service and virtual private network services, and add features intended to make the software more enterprise-ready by improving its scalability.

"There are some good incremental improvements like support for VMware ESXi hypervisors and support for more network services like DNS and VPN," says Paul Burns, president of Neovise, a Fort Collins, Colo., consultancy. "While these are somewhat basic, customers definitely need and want them. There are also a couple of new capabilities that I think really move Nimbula forward. They've greatly improved the extensibility of the Nimbula platform by enabling deep integration with all kinds of related cloud services. This lets service providers more easily offer value-added services such as databases, object storage and development environments."

For example, the company has already used this functionality to integrate VMware's Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service solution, Burns says. "Cloud service providers can't get by with just an API and automated access to servers. They need additional services to support the applications that run on their infrastructure. They also need ways to differentiate from each other. Nimbula's improved extensibility lets service providers do all that."

The other big advancement is around application management, he says. "Most existing applications have not been written to take advantage of the elasticity and redundancy available through cloud environments, and it can be expensive to modify applications to achieve the resiliency they need. Nimbula now adds greater reliability to complex applications without modifying them at all."

While use of cloud computing services continues to creep upward, according to the second InformationWeek Reports: State of Cloud Computing Survey, the dominating cloud trend in 2012 will be IT teams looking to run more sophisticated services on top of basic x86 infrastructure. There will be fewer new adopters of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) during the next 12 months, but new users of PaaS, software as a service (SaaS) and the cloud computing services provided by virtualization vendors all show continued high or increasing percentages.

The goal of the software is to provide users with an experience like that offered by Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud but in user data centers, says Nimbula's Jay Judkowitz, director of product management. While earlier versions of the software focused on having a scalable, elastic, self-service-automated and robust platform, this version now includes an application programming interface and, over time, will include a software developer kit as well, he says.

The company is in negotiations with third parties but cannot name them yet. In addition, it is moving from an infrastructure focus to an application focus, allowing users to define a complex app, specify policy in terms of features such as availability, launch the application, and not worry about it from then on, he says.

The software is scheduled to be available in March. For small deployments of up to 40 cores, the software is free and fully functional; beyond that, it is priced at $300 per core per year.

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