Data Center Map

20 Cloud Platforms (IaaS software)
By Sune Christesen, Apr 11 2011

Following the launch of our cloud server map two months ago, covering IaaS offerings from service providers, it has been interesting to track which software the various providers are using for managing their clouds, what hypervisors they are running, what kind of storage they use, which features they support etc.

While many are using custom platforms, where they have written their own code to manage their virtual servers, a lot are using already available frameworks or turnkey solutions to power their cloud offerings. If you are looking to start offering cloud services there is a jungle of different platforms available, both commercial and open source, that can either help you get started or deliver you a complete solution tailored to fit your exact needs.

The platforms available are developed with different feature sets and with different target groups in mind, so finding the right one for your needs can be a challenging task. Due to the many providers who are using our service, and the fact that many of them are realizing the need to get started with cloud services, we have compiled a list of some of the various platforms below with a few notes about each of them:

  • Abiquo
    Supporting VMware ESX, ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer / Xen, Virtual Box and KVM, Abiquo supports all the common virtualization engines. Designed for multi-tenancy and available in both a free community edition and an enterprise edition with different features.
  • CA 3Tera AppLogic
    Commercial platform from 3Tera based on Xen, designed for commodity hardware without the need for a SAN due to its integrated distributed storage solution. Web interface, API and resource metering is included in the AppLogic turnkey solution.
  • CloudStack
    Designed for multi-tenant solutions with support for Xenserver, VM and VMware vSphere.’s CloudStack supports billing/metering, web interface, APIs based on existing standards and virtual networking with segmentation of network traffic into VLANs.
  • Convirture ConVirt
    Available in an open source and commercial version, both with support for thin provisioning, template library, live migration while only the commercial version support high availability, backup functionality, VLAN integration and resource limiting.
  • ElasticStack
    The ElasticStack platform is offered by cloud provider ElasticHosts, designed specially for service providers with billing, web administration and API. Removes the need for a SAN, but utilizing storage on the local hypervisor nodes.
  • Enomaly Elastic Computing Platform (ECP)
    Designed for service providers with automation in mind, with the ability to integrate with existing billing systems via Enomalys API. Includes self-service web interface and support for the most common hypervisors, as well as a special feature that enables Enomaly providers to sell spare capacity via their SpotCloud platform.
  • Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus is an open source cloud platform, available with commercial support, that was originally started as a university project but since commercialized. Designed to be hypervisor agnostic and compatible with the widely used EC2 API.
  • Flexiant Extility
    Extility was created by cloud provider Flexiant to manage entire virtual data centers, and provides a turnkey cloud solution aimed at service providers with full API as well as an extensive web based control panel with integrated billing. In addition a commodity based SAN solution called Flexisan can also be provided to remove the need for enterprise storage.
  • HP CloudSystem
    An enterprise oriented commercial solution from HP, designed for both private, public and hybrid clouds. Designed with automation in mind and includes a self-service portal with built in service catalog with support for predefined templates.
  • IBM CloudBurst
    IBM CloudBurst is an enterprise targeted product providing resource monitoring and cost management through a self service portal with built in service catalog and prepackaged templates.
  • Incontinuum CloudController
    Commercial solution from the Dutch company InContinuum Software, that automates and simplifies the management of a virtual data center.
  • Nimbula Director
    Nimbula Director was created by some of the people behind Amazons EC2 technology, and aim to provide both enterprises and service proviers with a simple software solution to build private, public or hybrid clod infrastructure. Includes both web administration plus API, and available in a free edition for smaller deployments.
  • Novell Cloud Manager
    The Novell Cloud Manager is a commercial solution aimed at enterprise usage, with utilization tracking, template based provisioning, VLAN management and built in pricing plus approval process for provisioning.
  • OnApp
    OnApp is a turnkey solution aimed specially at hosting providers, integrating with existing billing solutions widely used by service providers and providing end user API and control panel. Originates from the service provider VPS.NET, but today OnApp is an independent company.
  • OpenNebula
    Fully open source solution that provides a set of management tools with full API and a simple web interface, enabling organizations to build their own cloud platform around it to fit their own needs. Commercial solutions with support also available.
  • OpenQRM
    Open source solution with commercial support, aiming to provide a complete data center management platform with focus on automation, rapid deployment, monitoring and high availability cloud computing. Support the most common hypervisors as well as OpenVZ, Virtualbox and LXC.
  • OpenStack
    OpenStack is an open source project originating from Rackspace and NASA, aiming to provide more open standards within the industry. OpenStack includes both a compute and a storage project.
  • Parallels Automation for Cloud Infrastructure (CI)
    Cloud Infrastructure from Parallels is part of their Automation product, intended to automate the provisioning and management of virtual servers for service providers. Designed for multi-tenancy and integrated with their billing, management is available either via control panel or API.
  • VMware vCloud
    VMware vCloud solutions are commercial solutions based on VMwares own hypervisor, making it possible to provide on-demand, pay-as-you-go infrastructure as a service.
  • Xen Cloud Platform (XCP)
    XCP is an open source solution based on the Xen Hypervisor, aimed to cover the isolation and security needs of a multi-tenant deployment. API support as well as some community driven graphical user interfaces.

Now putting platform one versus platform two up for comparison obviuosly would have been handy, but to be honest there is so much difference between these various platforms that it would simply be impossible to compare them in a fair manor – some of them do completely different things. My best advice would therefore be to compare them on your own, based on the needs your organization have.

Things to consider are storage type (for example NFS or iSCSI SAN, local storage, distributed storage), hypervisor support, multi-tenancy, high availability, API, self-service control panel, billing integration, resource metering, automation, network isolation, licensing, openness to customization, commercial support, integration assistance etc.