Elastra offers a tool to build public-private clouds

Cloud Server Enterprise Edition works with VCenter, Xen or Amazon Web Services

Elastra has announced the availability of its Cloud Server platform, which lets enterprises build public-private computing clouds, it said on Tuesday.

Cloud Server Enterprise Edition can be used for running databases, applications servers and Web servers. The cloud can be based on VCenter from VMware, Citrix's XEN platform or Amazon Web Services' computing cloud, according to Elastra.

Elastra is aiming Cloud Server at large enterprises looking beyond standard server virtualization for a more efficient way to manage their applications. While it might suit smaller companies, they tend to be more interested in price than in features, said CEO Kirill Sheynkman.

The most important features are the ability to model an application and run it, regardless of the underlying virtualization platform, according to Elastra Chief Software Architect Stuart Charlton.

The company is calling the new software Cloud Server 2.0 Enterprise Edition. A previous version focused on deploying applications through Amazon Web Services.

Elastra has developed three modelling languages to describe applications' architecture, the capabilities of the hardware and software they run on, and their configuration.

The model defines security policies, how the application scales and how it should be managed, Charlton said. It will simplify operations and allow for automation, he said.

The platform can be integrated with existing management tools, including IBM's Tivoli, HP's OpenView, BMC's Performance Manager (previously known as Patrol) and Spectrum Infrastructure Manager from CA.

Pricing for Elastra Cloud Manager wasn't immediately available.

Elastra's platform can also be used to integrate management of private clouds and Amazon Web Services' Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) platform.

IT departments can manage applications running on their own private clouds and in Amazon's cloud from a single user interface, according to Charlton.

The VPC service, announced in August, is a significant step towards getting enterprises more comfortable with public and private clouds, according to Sheynkman.

Other players want businesses to become more comfortable with cloud computing too, including Cisco Systems, EMC and VMware. On Nov. 3 they formed the Virtual Computing Environment Coalition to accelerate the adoption of virtualization and private clouds.

That's good news, said Sheynkman. "The fact that large vendors are coming together means that they are endorsing it, and are serious about turning [private clouds] into a mature technology."

However, "When big companies come together they tend to be slow ... and as a small company we can't afford to spend a lot of time in committee meetings," he said.

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