Project Zeppelin Looks To Manage Clouds

Open source software provider Cittio rolls out its first cloud computing management agent.

Ed Scannell

March 9, 2009

2 Min Read
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Cittio on Monday rolled out Project Zeppelin, what it believes is the first open source cloud management and monitoring agent. The company hopes the new technology serves to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing among larger IT shops.

Company officials see Zeppelin as just the first step toward materializing its goal of offering a set of tools that let IT shops better match up applications best suited for cloud computing.

While the changes in cloud-based applications and infrastructure architectures promise to be dramatic, cloud computing itself brings in fresh risks to the command and control structures of today's IT operations, company officials said. This means there will have to be an equally dramatic evolution in the capabilities of existing network and systems management solutions.

There are three major problems facing the industry in the area of cloud management. First, the primitive nature of instrumentation, managing and metering at the cloud operator and application user ends. Second, the lack of new metrics that can more accurately monitor cloud elasticity and resource availability. Third, most system management solutions rely on proprietary agent technology or SNMP for their performance metric, and so lack the ability to transfer data securely, Cittio contends.

Project Zeppelin, Cittio said, is designed to counteract these deficiencies by offering detailed asset, performance, auditing, and of cloud and data center infrastructure and applications.

It can be deployed remotely and reportedly can also secure data accessed through the Internet based on standard WBEM/CIM-XML and WS-Management interfaces. Zeppelin also supplies instrumentation for a range of open source software including Linux, Citrix XenServer through Project Kensho, and VMware.

Project Kensho is a "critical" Citrix effort that supports that company’s vision for virtualization and cloud interoperability, according to Simon Crosby, the CTO, of the virtualization and management division of Citrix Systems.

"Within days of our open source release, the Cittio team demonstrated a complete cloud monitoring solution for XenServer built using Zeppelin and the Kensho tools," Crosby said. Crosby added that along with a chargeback utility that enabled a service provider to bill per VM hour, Citrix users can now make fairly static data centers more into "delivery centers."

Cittio is also launching an open source community development initiative that will work in concert with Zeppelin.

Zeppelin is currently available for download at SourceForge.

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