VI managers Case Studies

In this section, we describe the main features of the most popular VI managers available. Only the most prominent and distinguishing features of each tool are discussed in detail.

Apache VCL. The Virtual Computing Lab project has been incepted in 2004 by researchers at the North Carolina State University as a way to provide customized environments to computer lab users. The software components that support NCSU’s initiative have been released as open-source and incorporated by the Apache Foundation. Since its inception, the main objective of VCL has been providing desktop (virtual lab) and HPC computing environments anytime, in a flexible costeffective way and with minimal intervention of IT staff. In this sense, VCL was one of the first projects to create a tool with features such as: self-service Web portal, to reduce administrative burden; advance reservation of capacity, to provide resources during classes; and deployment of customized machine images on multiple computers, to provide clusters on demand. In summary, Apache VCL provides the following features: (i) multi-platform controller, based on Apache/PHP; (ii) Web portal and XML-RPC interfaces; (iii) support for VMware hypervisors (ESX, ESXi, and Server); (iv) virtual networks; (v) virtual clusters; and (vi) advance reservation of capacity. AppLogic. AppLogic is a commercial VI manager, the flagship product of 3tera Inc. from California, USA. The company has labeled this product as a Grid Operating System.

AppLogic provides a fabric to manage clusters of virtualized servers, focusing on managing multi-tier Web applications. It views an entire application as a collection of components that must be managed as a single entity. Several components such as firewalls, load balancers, Web servers, application servers, and database servers can be set up and linked together. Whenever the application is started, the system manufactures and assembles the virtual infrastructure required to run it. Once the application is stopped, AppLogic tears down the infrastructure built for it. AppLogic offers dynamic appliances to add functionality such as Disaster Recovery and Power optimization to applications. The key differential of this approach is that additional functionalities are implemented as another pluggable appliance instead of being added as a core functionality of the VI manager. In summary, 3tera AppLogic provides the following features: Linux-based controller; CLI and GUI interfaces; Xen backend; Global Volume Store (GVS) storage virtualization; virtual networks; virtual clusters; dynamic resource allocation; high availability; and data protection.

Citrix Essentials. The Citrix Essentials suite is one the most feature complete VI management software available, focusing on management and automation of data centers. It is essentially a hypervisor-agnostic solution, currently supporting Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V.
By providing several access interfaces, it facilitates both human and programmatic interaction with the controller. Automation of tasks is also aided by a workflow orchestration mechanism. In summary, Citrix Essentials provides the following features: Windowsbased controller; GUI, CLI, Web portal, and XML-RPC interfaces; support for XenServer and Hyper-V hypervisors; Citrix Storage Link storage virtualization; virtual networks; dynamic resource allocation; three-level high availability (i.e., recovery by VM restart, recovery by activating paused duplicate VM, and running duplicate VM continuously); data protection with Citrix Consolidated Backup.

Enomaly ECP. The Enomaly Elastic Computing Platform, in its most complete edition, offers most features a service provider needs to build an IaaS cloud. Most notably, ECP Service Provider Edition offers a Web-based customer dashboard that allows users to fully control the life cycle of VMs. Usage accounting is performed in real time and can be viewed by users. Similar to the functionality of virtual appliance marketplaces, ECP allows providers and users to package and exchange applications. In summary, Enomaly ECP provides the following features: Linux-based controller; Web portal and Web services (REST) interfaces; Xen back-end; interface to the Amazon EC2 public cloud; virtual networks; virtual clusters (ElasticValet).

Eucalyptus. The Eucalyptus framework was one of the first open-source projects to focus on building IaaS clouds. It has been developed with the intent of providing an open-source implementation nearly identical in functionality to Amazon Web Services APIs. Therefore, users can interact with a Eucalyptus cloud using the same tools they use to access Amazon EC2. It also distinguishes itself from other tools because it provides a storage cloud API—emulating the Amazon S3 API—for storing general user data and VM images. In summary, Eucalyptus provides the following features: Linux-based controller with administration Web portal; EC2-compatible (SOAP, Query) and S3- compatible (SOAP, REST) CLI and Web portal interfaces; Xen, KVM, and VMWare backends; Amazon EBS-compatible virtual storage devices; interface to the Amazon EC2 public cloud; virtual networks.

Nimbus3. The Nimbus toolkit is built on top of the Globus framework. Nimbus provides most features in common with other open-source VI managers, such as an EC2-compatible front-end API, support to Xen, and a backend interface to Amazon EC2. However, it distinguishes from others by providing a Globus Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF) interface. It also provides a backend service, named Pilot, which spawns VMs on clusters managed by a local resource manager (LRM) such as PBS and SGE. Nimbus’ core was engineered around the Spring framework to be easily extensible, thus allowing several internal components to be replaced and also eases the integration with other systems. In summary, Nimbus provides the following features: Linux-based controller; EC2-compatible (SOAP) and WSRF interfaces; Xen and KVM backend and a Pilot program to spawn VMs through an LRM; interface to the Amazon EC2 public cloud; virtual networks; one-click virtual clusters.

OpenNebula. OpenNebula is one of the most feature-rich open-source VI managers. It was initially conceived to manage local virtual infrastructure, but has also included remote interfaces that make it viable to build public clouds. Altogether, four programming APIs are available: XML-RPC and libvirt for local interaction; a subset of EC2 (Query) APIs and the OpenNebula Cloud API (OCA) for public access. Its architecture is modular, encompassing several specialized pluggable components. The Core module orchestrates physical servers and their hypervisors, storage nodes, and network fabric. Management operations are performed through pluggable Drivers, which interact with APIs of hypervisors, storage and network technologies, and public clouds. The Scheduler module, which is in charge of assigning pending VM requests to physical hosts, offers dynamic resource allocation features. Administrators can choose between different scheduling objectives such as packing VMs in fewer hosts or keeping the load balanced. Via integration with the Haizea lease scheduler, OpenNebula also supports advance reservation of capacity and queuing of best-effort leases. In summary, OpenNebula provides the following features: Linux-based controller; CLI, XML-RPC, EC2-compatible Query and OCA interfaces; Xen, KVM, and VMware backend; interface to public clouds (Amazon EC2, ElasticHosts); virtual networks; dynamic resource allocation; advance reservation of capacity.

OpenPEX. OpenPEX (Open Provisioning and EXecution Environment) was constructed around the notion of using advance reservations as the primary method for allocatingVMinstances. It distinguishes from other VI managers by its leases negotiation mechanism, which incorporates a bilateral negotiation protocol that allows users and providers to come to an agreement by exchanging offers and counter offers when their original requests cannot be satisfied. In summary, OpenPEX provides the following features: multi-platform (Java) controller; Web portal and Web services (REST) interfaces; Citrix XenServer backend; advance reservation of capacity with negotiation.

oVirt. oVirt is an open-source VI manager, sponsored by Red Hat’s Emergent Technology group. It provides most of the basic features of other VI managers, including support for managing physical server pools, storage pools, user accounts, and VMs. All features are accessible through a Web interface. The oVirt admin node, which is also a VM, provides a Web server, secure authentication services based on freeIPA, and provisioning services to manage VM image and their transfer to the managed nodes. Each managed node libvirt, which interfaces with the hypervisor. In summary, oVirt provides the following features: Fedora Linux-based controller packaged as a virtual appliance; Web portal interface;KVMbackend.

Platform ISF. Infrastructure Sharing Facility (ISF) is the VI manager offering from Platform Computing. The company, mainly through its LSF family of products, has been serving the HPC market for several years. ISF’s architecture is divided into three layers. The top most Service Delivery layer includes the user interfaces (i.e., self-service portal and APIs); the Allocation Engine provides reservation and allocation policies; and the bottom layer—Resource Integrations—provides adapters to interact with hypervisors, provisioning tools, and other systems (i.e., external public clouds). The Allocation Engine also provides policies to address several objectives, such as minimizing energy consumption, reducing impact of failures, and maximizing application performance. ISF is built upon Platform’s VM Orchestrator, which, as a standalone product, aims at speeding up delivery of VMs to end users. It also provides high availability by restarting VMs when hosts fail and duplicating the VM that hosts the VMO controller. In summary, ISF provides the following features: Linux-based controller packaged as a virtual appliance; Web portal interface; dynamic resource allocation; advance reservation of capacity; high availability.

VMWare vSphere and vCloud. vSphere is VMware’s suite of tools aimed at transforming IT infrastructures into private clouds. It distinguishes from other VI managers as one of the most feature-rich, due to the company’s several offerings in all levels the architecture. In the vSphere architecture, servers run on the ESXi platform. A separate server runs vCenter Server, which centralizes control over the entire virtual infrastructure. Through the vSphere Client software, administrators connect to vCenter Server to perform various tasks. The Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) makes allocation decisions based on predefined rules and policies. It continuously monitors the amount of resources available to VMs and, if necessary, makes allocation changes to meet VM requirements. In the storage virtualization realm, vStorage VMFS is a cluster file system to provide aggregate several disks in a single volume. VMFS is especially optimized to store VM images and virtual disks. It supports storage equipment that use Fibre Channel or iSCSI SAN. In its basic setup, vSphere is essentially a private administration suite. Selfservice VM provisioning to end users is provided via the vCloud API, which interfaces with vCenter Server. In this configuration, vSphere can be used by service providers to build public clouds. In terms of interfacing with public clouds, vSphere interfaces with the vCloud API, thus enabling cloud-bursting into external clouds. In summary, vSphere provides the following features: Windows-based controller (vCenter Server); CLI, GUI, Web portal, and Web services interfaces; VMware ESX, ESXi backend; VMware vStorage VMFS storage virtualization; interface to external clouds (VMware vCloud partners); virtual networks (VMWare Distributed Switch); dynamic resource allocation (VMware DRM); high availability; data protection (VMWare Consolidated Backup).

Source of Information : Wiley - Cloud Computing Principles and Paradigms 2011


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