Industry News Desk
Sun Announces Open Cloud Platform & API
Sun Open Cloud Platform to Power Public and Private Clouds with Open Technologies
By: Reuven Cohen
Apr. 14, 2009 10:30 AM
As a member of the Sun Cloud Computing Strategic Advisory Council, I have been working closely with Sun since last year in an effort to guide their direction in terms of openness, portability and interoperability on their cloud efforts. These are areas I believe Sun has done a tramendous job of addressing in their latest cloud offering. Lew Tucker, Tim Bray, Craig McClanahan and the rest of the team at Sun have clearly spent a lot of time developing the most feature rich, powerful and open cloud on the market.
One of the first things I'd like to point out is their open source API. What you will immediately observe is that they've taken an open, extensible approach towards developing a cloud computing API. While fully RESTful, the consumer of the service only needs to know the starting URI. Everything else is discoverable through retrieving the representations of the various entities. This, along with it being "free of any restrictions," and made available under The Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License are excellent components. My concern about this particular license is its Attribution requirement : "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor". I would prefer to see a less restrictive license. That being said, my first impression is that the API is very easy to understand and Sun has applied the RESTful principles beautifully.
The Sun Cloud API uses the concept of a use center for launching virtual machines, assigning public IP addresses, attaching storage volumes, etc. Lew Tucker, CTO, Cloud Computing had this to say "When looking at what would be needed to run Sun.com, eBay.com, or other large web properties, we learned that it was important to introduce abstractions for grouping machines, creating subnetworks, isolating resources, and support for teams in the virtual cloud environment. This is the basis of a Virtual Data Center, that every user gets upon joining Sun's cloud".
To make it easy for even the individual developer to get started, everyone starts with a Virtual Data Center containing a single default cluster or partition. Using the GUI, they can simply drag and drop virtual machines, virtual subnets, and storage devices. Once an application is developed, the entire set of virtual machines can be stored, copied, or cloned to meet an myriad set of needs.
I know that some of you may point of that Sun is late to the game, a game that is probably still in its first inning. What Sun has done with their Cloud is taken steps to create one of the first truely open cloud infrastructure offerings on the market geared specifically with the needs of enterprise users in mind.They may not be first, but they certainly are now among the best cloud providers.
If you're interested in discussing the inner works of Sun's Cloud API, there is a message thread I started on Sun's kenai developer portal > http://kenai.com/projects/suncloudapis/forums/forum/topics/524-API-Discussion?
Also, read Sun’s official announcement here.
Sun has also released A Guide to Getting Started with Cloud Computing, which offers a useful overview of the basic issues whilst relegating most of the Sun pitch to a separate section.
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