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OpenStack Austin and AWS Free Tier [Updated]

by Abel Avram on Oct 22, 2010 |

OpenStack has announced Austin, the first open source cloud computing platform release based on Rackspace’s Cloud Servers plus Cloud Files and NASA’s Nebula technologies. In what seems to be a response, Amazon has made available a free AWS Usage Tier for new customers for one year.

The OpenStack initiative led by Rackspace was announced in July, the main software components being Object Storage based on Rackspace’s Cloud Files source code and Compute, based on NASA Nebula’s computing engine and Rackspace’s Cloud Servers technology. After 3 months of development, bug fixing and streamlining, OpenStack has released Austin, the first open source cloud computing platform that is most probably going to change the cloud landscape. NASA has also announced the pre-release of their internal Cloud Services powered by Nebula available to their credentialed personnel.

Mark Collier, VP of Community and Business Development at OpenStack, has declared that OpenStack will include support for Xen virtualization hypervisor based on contribution from Citrix, which is going to use the OpenStack technology for their OpenCloud Platform. The Nebula code brings support for the KVM hypervisor, other supported hypervisors being QEMU and User Mode Linux Support. Collier mentioned that “the goal of OpenStack is to support multiple hypervisors, although currently the release build is lacking support for both VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V.”

Update. Following the OpenStack Austin announcement, Microsoft has announced their commitment to integrate OpenStack with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. Microsoft will provide architectural and technical guidance to Cloud.com which will write the necessary code so OpenStack will run on Microsoft's virtualization platform. The code will be made available on OpenStack.org.

Object Storage has “more than a dozen bug fixes and newer features like a statistics processor, enhanced access control and user defined meta data,” according to Krishnan Subramanian, an industry analyst, advisor and entrepreneur, Austin being “a complete polished version which is much easier to install and deployed seamlessly.” He mentioned that hundreds of developers are currently contributing to the project, and more than 35 companies and organization are supporting it. The next release is code named “Bexar”, scheduled for January 2011.

OpenStack will hold an open design conference on November 9-12, 2010 for those interested in evolving the technology further.

In what seems to be a response to the OpenStack initiative, Amazon has announced a free AWS Usage Tier for new customers starting on November 1st, including EC2, Load Balancer, EBS and S3 available for one year only. SimpleDB, SQS, and SNS will be available indefinitely for new and previous customers. The services can be used for anything the customer wants, having the following limitations:

  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month
  • 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing
  • 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os, 1 GB of snapshot storage, 10,000 snapshot Get Requests and 1,000 snapshot Put Requests
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
  • 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer “in” and 15 GB of data transfer “out” across all services except Amazon CloudFront)
  • 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage
  • 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service
  • 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service

If an application deployed on a free account happens to use more resources than allocated, the standard pay-as-you-go fees will apply for what extra resources are used. That is useful for customers who, for example, launch a website that proves to become popular enough to require such resources.

Google has offered its Google App Engine for free since it started, having a different set of limitations: a customer can have up to 10 applications deployed on GAE, each using up to 500MB of storage and up to 5 million page views/month. Extra resources are to be paid.

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Interesting developments by Vikas Hazrati

These are interesting developments, certainly leading to a wider adoption of the cloud. Gartner report suggested that cloud computing and cloud / web platforms are at the peak of inflated expectations. All cloud vendors would try to get the largest piece of the pie before consolidation sets in. This is good for the enterprises though who are waiting on the sidelines. More here Is This the ‘Tipping Point’ for Cloud Adoption by Enterprises?

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