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January 26, 2011

Open Source Cloud Project Aims to Topple Commercial Offerings

Nicole Hemsoth

This past week some updates emerged from the Contrail Project, which is the product of ten organizations across six European nations that are collaborating to design, implement, evaluate and promote what they call “an open source computational cloud wherein users can limitlessly share resources.”

As the project leads state, “the main contribution of Contrail is an integrated approach to virtualization, offering IaaS, services for IaaS cloud federation and PaaS. It will aim at equaling current commercial clouds and surpass them in a number of select key domains to facilitate industrial update of federated cloud computing.”

The scope and objectives of the three-year Contrail Project are rather large as they hope to achieve a number of goals to create an environment that is interoperable, secure, and accessible.

The team hopes to provide an IaaS and PaaS offering that will allow cloud providers to seamlessly integrate resources from other clouds with their own infrastructure. One issue they hope to address is the fear of vendor lock-in via their decision to allow live application migration from one cloud to another.

The project is backed by 8.3 million Euros from the European Union as well as additional project funding and if successful could provide another startling case study on the open use of a shared resource.

Nick Trigg of Constellation Technologies, a UK-based SME selling cloud and grid services to industry and partner on the Contrail project discussed the problem with current cloud resources that led to the development of their work. He stated that cloud services available now “are too complex for ordinary companies to use; this leaves companies unable to take advantage of the benefits that the cloud offers. The Contrail project is planning to make the power of the cloud available to everyone. This is truly the next step in the next generation of Internet services.”

Full story at Contrail Project