In the article about cloud computing/utility computing/grid computing we’ve presented the most important companies which offers cloud computing hosting.In this article we will present the companies which offers means (mainly, the software and hardware) which powers most of the cloud computing hosting providers.
As Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_virtualization puts it:
In computing, platform virtualization is a term that refers to the abstraction of computer resources. Virtualization hides the physical characteristics of computing resources from their users, be they applications, or end users. The term has been widely used since the 1960s.
Platform virtualization is performed on a given hardware platform by host software (a control program), which creates a simulated computer environment, a virtual machine, for its guest software. The guest software, which is often itself a complete operating system, runs just as if it were installed on a stand-alone hardware platform. Typically, many such virtual machines are simulated on a single physical machine, their number limited only by the host’s hardware resources. Typically there is no requirement for a guest OS to be the same as the host one. The guest system often requires access to specific peripheral devices to function, so the simulation must support the guest’s interfaces to those devices. Trivial examples of such devices are hard disk drive or network interface card.
Virtual machines are used to consolidate many physical servers into fewer servers, which in turn host virtual machines. Each physical server is reflected as a virtual machine “guest” residing on a virtual machine host system. This is also known as Physical-to-Virtual or ‘P2V’ transformation.
Virtual machines can be used in disaster recovery as “hot standby” environments for physical production servers. This changes the classical “backup-and-restore” philosophy, by providing backup images that can “boot” into live virtual machines, capable of taking over workload for a production server experiencing an outage.
There are several methods of platform virtualization:
- full virtualization
- hardware assisted virtualization
- partial virtualization
- operating system-level virtualization
Below we’ll be trying to present most of these platform virtualization and software providers (next page).
It is the grand daddy of virtualization software commpanies but it is the most active in the field. Their software helps companies to offer cloud and utility computing through Virtual Datacenter OS but not only.The list of their customers is too long to show it here so you can check it out on their website.
They have different ranges of prices and that depends of the sofware they sell.
RightScale enables companies to create Web solutions running on cloud computing providers such as Amazon EC2 that are scalable, reliable, easy to manage, and affordable. Core offerings include: automated system management, pre-packaged and re-usable components, service expertise and best practices.They have different pricing plans, including a free one.
Animoto, Tunecore, ForeclosureRadar, iWidgets, Wexas, G.ho.st, Genuitec, Neulio, and ELC Technologies are some of their customers.
eNomalism is an open source web-based virtual infrastructure platform. Designed to answer the complexity of managing globally disperse virtual server environments. Enomalism helps to automate the transition to a cloud computing environment by reducing an IT organizations overall workload. The easy to use dashboard can help with issues including deployment planning, load balancing, automatic VM migration, configuration management, capacity diagnosis and resource monitoring. Multiple physical servers can be managed as a single server using a specialized tool set which include a centralized user provisioning system, virtualized server creation wizard and templates which facilitate virtual server configuration, application deployment mechanism, and integration into 3rd party applications via web services API as well as centralized user management.
Being open source it doesn’t cost you a dime to use the software but it could cost you to use the support.
Force.com is the fastest platform for building and deploying enterprise applications. What used to take months can now be done in days or weeks. Unlike a stack of separately designed hardware and software products, Force.com speeds innovation through a powerful yet easy-to-use development model. Assemble applications with clicks, components and code then instantly deploy them to the salesforce.com infrastructure.
GigaSpaces eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) is a next-generation application scale-out server built for today’s most demanding enterprise and web applications. Unlike traditional application servers, GigaSpaces XAP enables predictable application scalability on-demand. GigaSpaces XAP works seamlessly with existing development frameworks in Java (Spring, Hibernate, Tomcat, Mule, J2EE), .Net and C++.
Virgin Mobile, DowJones, Nortel, ABB, BAT, CME, Commerzbank, Lehman Brothers (rest in peace!), Webster, eTapestry are some of Gigaspaces customers. If you are a start-up you may qualify to get Gigaspaces XAP free. They have also a free limited edition (GigaSpaces Community Edition).No prices are listed on their website so you have to contact them regarding this.
Citrix XenServer is server virtualization that makes datacenters more agile and efficient through faster application delivery, higher levels of availability and improved utilization of IT resources. XenServer is based on the open source Xen® hypervisor, an exceptionally lean technology that delivers low overhead and near-native performance. Leveraging both Intel VT platforms and AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) platforms for hardware assisted virtualization, XenServer delivers faster, more efficient virtualization computing.
Unlike other virtualization products that are built on closed proprietary systems, XenServer’s open APIs allow customers to access and control advanced functions from their existing server and storage hardware.They have lots of customers too.
The Xen hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization, offers a powerful, efficient, and secure feature set for virtualization of x86, x86_64, IA64, PowerPC, and other CPU architectures. It supports a wide range of guest operating systems including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and various versions of the BSD operating systems.The Xen hypervisor is a unique open source technology, developed collaboratively by the Xen community and engineers at over 20 of the most innovative data center solution vendors, including AMD, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Mellanox, Network Appliance, Novell, Red Hat, SGI, Sun, Unisys, Veritas, Voltaire, and Citrix.
Xen is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL2) and is available at no charge in both source and object format. Xen is, and always will be, open sourced, uniting the industry and the Xen ecosystem to speed the adoption of virtualization in the enterprise.
KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko. KVM also requires a modified QEMU although work is underway to get the required changes upstream. Using KVM, one can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux or Windows images. Each virtual machine has private virtualized hardware: a network card, disk, graphics adapter, etc.
KVM is open source software which means is free to use.
- Microsoft Virtualization
Of course, Microsoft couldn’t resist to enter this market and it did it so by buying an independent virtualization software maker some time ago. Now they offer a full range of products which competes directly with VMWare.They have big names as customers.
- Sun VirtualBox
Another big software player entered in this market with VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), and OpenBSD.
Virtual Iron provides true server virtualization including intelligent virtual machine mobility, high availability, rapid recovery and performance load balancing. The Virtual Iron Web-based console is easy to deploy, use and manage.They also have an interesting comparison between their virtualization software and VMWare, Microsoft and Citrix virtualization software http://www.virtualiron.com/Products-and-Services/Compare.
- Parallels Virtuozzo
Parallels Virtuozzo Containers is the world’s leading OS virtualization solution. Parallels Virtuozzo creates isolated containers on a single physical server and OS instance.
Compared to other virtualization technologies, Parallels Virtuozzo offers the highest levels of density, performance and manageability.
- Oracle Grid
The grid computing technologies developed by Oracle including: Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware Clustering, Automatic Storage Management and Enterprise Manager Grid Control enable customers to fully exploit low-cost, industry standard hardware and storage. Oracle VM is a related and complementary technology that enhances the benefits of deploying low-cost hardware by combining the ability to virtualize within as well as across x86 and x86-64-based servers.
Together, Oracle’s grid computing technologies and Oracle VM deliver a complete virtualization solution for the data center.
- IBM PowerVM
IBM couldn’t miss the pack so here’s their offer regarding virtualization.
PowerVM is the family of technologies, capabilities and offerings that deliver industry-leading virtualization on IBM POWERTM processor-based systems.
IBM Power Systems servers coupled with PowerVM technology are designed to help you consolidate and simplify your IT environment.
OpenVZ is container-based virtualization for Linux. OpenVZ creates multiple secure, isolated containers (otherwise known as VEs or VPSs) on a single physical server enabling better server utilization and ensuring that applications do not conflict. Each container performs and executes exactly like a stand-alone server; a container can be rebooted independently and have root access, users, IP addresses, memory, processes, files, applications, system libraries and configuration files.OpenVZ is free open source software, available under GNU GPL.
OpenVZ is the basis of Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, a commercial virtualization solution offered by Parallels. OpenVZ project is supported by Parallels.
- Hewlett-Packard Integrity Virtual Machines (Integrity VM)
HP Integrity Virtual Machines (Integrity VM) is a soft partitioning and virtualization technology, within the HP Virtual Server Environment, which enables you to create multiple virtual servers or machines with shared resourcing within a single HP Integrity server or nPartition.HP Integrity Virtual Machines runs on any HP Integrity server (including blades).
- Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtualization
With Virtualization from Novell, you can consolidate workloads running on multiple physical servers onto a single physical server and harness unused computing power. You can also reduce your total number of servers by migrating multiple environments on different physical machines to individual virtual machines hosted on a single server. As a result, you can increase your CPU utilization and the efficiency of your server hardware.Xen is the main driver for Novell virtualization solution.
GridGain is developed in Java and for Java developers and it is a natural extension of the latest Java development methodologies including annotations, integration of Spring and AOP-based grid-enabling. It is focused on doing one thing and doing it better than any other product – providing the best grid computing platform for Java that is fun, simple and productive to use. GridGain is dual-licensed under LGPL and Apache 2.0 licenses and is built on open source software foundation.
They have important clients like: TomTom, PointLoyalty, Traficon, TradingScreen, PitneyBowes, Moody’s, Vedia and others.
The ParaScale Cloud Storage (PCS) software aggregates storage across multiple standard Linux servers to provide one highly scalable storage cloud, with massive capacity and parallel throughput. Files are accessible via 100% standard file-access protocols (NFS, HTTP, FTP), which means that applications don’t have to be modified to use PCS, and installation is easy. Deployments can start easily with several terabytes and scale to several petabytes in a single pool (namespace).A single administrator can manage hundreds of servers, with the system automatically balancing out hot-spots and capacity utilization across the various nodes.
- Elastic Servers
Elastic Servers are custom application stacks, built from components, virtualization ready, download to test and deploy to a cloud.
Elastic Computing, powered by ELASTRA, unlocks the value of the cloud. Companies building applications focus their resources and time on their applications and customers – not on their infrastructure. Design, deploy & manage database and application infrastructure in the Cloud… in minutes – all with the click of a button.
- Bungee Connect
The Bungee Connect PaaS delivers the entire application lifecycle, including all the environments, tools and systems required to develop, deploy and host web applications. Development on Bungee Connect is accelerated by a comprehensive IDE, automated web service and database connectivity, integrated end-user interactivity, and developer collaboration.
VirtualLogix VLX is an innovative and high-performance solution providing concurrent support for rich operating systems (OS) like Linux, and in-house or commercial Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) on general purpose processors and DSPs.
VirtualLogix VLX has been designed for products requiring the broad feature set of rich OS’s combined with the pre-ported stacks, or real-time performance of RTOS solutions.
VirtualLogix VLX enables developers to completely consider new and flexible architectures for their embedded products, yielding lower bill of materials (BOM) and development costs, enhanced preservation of intellectual property, and faster time to market.
The 10gen software stack is analogous to Google App Engine in that it provides a new stack of tools (database, grid management, application server) that are purpose-built to run in a cloud environment.
The 10gen system is open-source and great for small development projects, yet our design goal is tools powerful enough to run the largest web sites on the internet.
As you see, plenty of software to choose from. A very nice comparison between different virtualization software you can also find on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_virtual_machines
If you have other suggestions please let us know in the comments.