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Facebook+ Nebula =廉价私有云
 作者: Michal Lev-Ram    时间: 2011年07月29日    位置: 技术     
[ ]  

想搭建自己的私有云?对于囊中羞涩和缺乏强大IT部门的公司而言,目前笨拙而昂贵的解决方案不久将变得更加切实可行。

    Nebula是一家“名副其实”(Nebula的中文意思为星云——译注)的云计算新创企业,它开发了一套设备,自称能在“几分钟内” 配置私有云计算基础设施。

    Nebula究竟有何秘诀?该公司创始人兼首席执行官克里斯•肯普曾帮助美国国家航空和航天局(NASA)开发了开源云计算平台OpenStack。Nebula目前正与Facebook的开放硬件工程(Open Compute Project)通力合作,致力于提供更加廉价的硬件设备,以便使更多公司能配备自己的私有云。所谓开放硬件工程,是社交网络公司Facebook针对其服务器和数据中心技术展开的开源项目。

    曾经担任NASA的IT部门首席技术官的肯普称:“这项技术的应用对象应该不仅仅局限于互联网和游戏公司。”根据肯普的说法,公司经常面临以下选择:依靠公共云基础设施【例如亚马逊(Amazon)的网络服务】、购买昂贵的专用硬件和软件或是雇佣通晓如何将各种开源技术整合在一起的团队。

    现在,位于帕洛阿尔托市的Nebula希望能提供第四种选择——该公司自称通过其设备,只需较少开销(不过Nebula并未透露具体价格)就可组建私有云基础设施。这种设备能被连接到上千台廉价计算机上。

    Facebook开放硬件工程负责人弗兰克•弗兰克斯齐表示:“如果执行得力,他们真的有望填补市场空白。将(他们的产品)基于OpenStack和开放计算等开源项目,目前仅此一家。”

    Meet Nebula, an aptly-named startup that's developed a device it says can configure private cloud computing infrastructure "in minutes."

    So what's the secret sauce? OpenStack, an open-source cloud-computing platform the company's co-founder and CEO, Chris Kemp, helped develop at NASA. Nebula is also collaborating with Facebook's Open Compute Project, an effort to open-source the social networking company's server and data center technologies, in the hopes that cheaper hardware will enable more companies to deploy private clouds.

    "Internet and gaming companies shouldn't be the only ones with access to this technology," says Kemp, former chief technology officer of IT at NASA. According to Kemp, companies are often faced with the choice of relying on public cloud infrastructure (a la Amazon's (AMZN) Web Services), buying expensive, proprietary hardware and software or hiring a team of DIY technologists with the know-how to link together open-source technologies.

    Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nebula hopes to offer a fourth option—what it says is a less costly (it won't disclose the exact price) way to build a private cloud infrastructure, using its appliance which can be hooked up to thousands of inexpensive computers.

    "If they execute well they have an opportunity to really fill a need," says Frank Frankovsky, head of Facebook's Open Compute Project. "And basing it [their product] on open source – both OpenStack and Open Compute—is unique."

Nebula首席执行官克里斯•肯普

    为何Facebook会关注包括其潜在竞争对手在内的其他公司的私有云配置?

    事实上,Facebook并不关心这些,它所关心的是改进自身现有服务器、数据中心和硬件存储设备的设计,使其运转更为高效以节约成本。Facebook公开了自己的设计蓝图,作为交换,它希望其它公司能将其创新以开源软件的方式贡献给自己。

    Facebook的新功能及其用户隐私政策引发的争议成为人们热议的话题。与之相比,开放硬件工程所获得的关注则要少得多,该工程于今年4月公布,旨在“开源”Facebook自行定制的服务器和数据中心技术。不过过去几个月,这项工程不动声色地取得了不小进展。Facebook表示其社区参与者人数已超过1,000人。大约250名非Facebook员工在上月参加了首次开放硬件峰会。下一次峰会计划于今年10月举行,我敢打赌Nebula届时一定会出席。

    Facebook的弗兰克斯齐表示:“Nebula拥有一些非常关键的技术人才。他们将积极参与这项工程。”

    Nebula同时还拥有一些非常关键的投资人(Nebula同样没有透露自己已募集到的确切资金额)。其投资者包括太阳微系统(Sun Microsystems)联合创始人安迪•贝希多斯海以及风险投资公司凯鹏华盈(Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)。五家参与试用的客户将在今年10月初开始利用Nebula的设备部署私有云,它们的行业分布在能源、金融、生物和媒体等领域。

    肯普表示:“我们的商业模式很简单,你只需购买一个盒子,然后把服务器插进去就行了。我们希望打破现有的市场格局。”

    诚然,Nebula能利用开源软件和硬件提供廉价的私有云部署解决方案,但所谓开源技术意味着,其它任何感兴趣的公司也能利用这项技术。戴尔(Dell)刚刚发布了OpenStack云解决方案,该公司声称其能替代现有仍基于专用许可软件的云方案。OpenStack和Facebook的开放硬件工程仍处于起步期,今后几年,随着更多开源云基础设施进入市场,用户将拥有更为广泛的选择。

    译者:项航

    Why does Facebook care about private cloud deployments at other companies, including potential competitors?

    It doesn't. What it cares about is improving its own server, data center and storage hardware designs, making them run more efficiently in order to trim costs. In exchange for making its blueprints publicly available, Facebook is hoping other companies will contribute with their own innovations, open-source software style.

    The social networking site generates a lot of buzz for new features and privacy controversies. Its less-sexy Open Compute Project, or the "open-sourcing" of its custom-built server and data center technology, made far less of a splash when it was unveiled last April. But over the last few months, the project has quietly made headway. Facebook says its community of contributors has grown to over 1,000. About 250 non-Facebook employees attended its first-ever Open Compute summit last month. The next one is scheduled for October, and you can bet Nebula will be there.

    "Nebula has some very significant engineering talent," says Facebook's Frankovsky. "And they'll actively contribute back."

    Nebula also has some very significant financial backers (again, the company won't disclose the exact dollar amount it managed to raise). Its list of investors includes Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Five pilot customers from energy, finance, biotech and media industries will begin deploying private clouds using Nebula's appliance in early October.

    "Our business model is simple, you just buy a box and plug servers into it," says Kemp. "We want to disrupt the existing economies here."

    Of course, while the use of open-source software and hardware could enable Nebula to offer a cheaper solution for private cloud deployments, the very definition of open-source technology means that it's also available to any other company interested in utilizing it. Dell's just-launched OpenStack Cloud Solution is also being touted as an alternative to existing cloud options that are based on proprietary, licensed software. And with both OpenStack and Facebook's Open Compute Project still in their infancy, you can count on many more open-source cloud infrastructure "alternatives" hitting the market in coming years.




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