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Apache Deltacloud Hits Open Source Cloud Server Milestone

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted August 6, 2012


Back in 2009, Linux vendor Red Hat launched an ambitious project known as Deltacloud in an effort to prevent cloud server silos. With Deltacloud, many clouds can be managed and abstracted to enable operational efficiency and prevent cloud lock-in.

The project moved to the Apache Software Foundation in 2010 and became a top level project earlier this year.

Now after three years of effort, Deltacloud has finally hit its 1.0 release. A 1.0 release is usually a major milestone signifying that an open source project is mature and ready for consumption. In Deltacloud's case, the effort has already been deployed and integrated into Red Hat's commercial CloudForms effort that officially launched in June.

"We could have probably gone 1.0 much earlier," David Lutterkort, Chair of the Apache Deltacloud Project Management Committee and Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat, told ServerWatch.

Apache Deltacloud Project For example, the project could potentially have been labeled 1.0 after it became a top level Apache project. A 1.0 release also typically signifies a degree of API stability and backwards compatibility, which Deltacloud now provides.

"The 1.0 mostly signifies that we feel what we have is sufficiently stable and flexible enough to allow us to evolve the project without breaking existing users," Lutterkort said.

Deltacloud 1.0 Features

One of the new and improved features that has landed in the official Deltacloud 1.0 release is a new frontend for the Amazon EC2 API.

"In terms of engineering, the EC2 frontend was built solely based on the documentation that AWS makes available and our familiarity with the actual implementation of that API," Lutterkort said.

Lutterkort added that the project has also received a contribution from Fujitsu for its Global Cloud Platform. He noted that the Fujitsu cloud contribution was great to see since its API has some significant differences from the other clouds that Deltacloud supports.

"Seeing how it was possible to accommodate that was great validation of our approach," Lutterkort said.

Red Hat Leadership

While Red Hat started the Deltacloud effort and provides resources that aid in the Apache process, the open source project is not necessarily being directly driven by Red Hat's product management needs. Lutterkort noted that Red Hat product management's involvement in Deltacloud has been fairly light.

"There are of course feature requests that we have gotten in connection with CloudForms, but most of what PM (product management) needed for CloudForms was already there," Lutterkort said. "The bigger impact of being used by CloudForms was the QE effort around productization that we benefited from tremendously."

Why Apache?

Red Hat is no stranger to running open source efforts, though running Deltacloud as an Apache project has a number of benefits. Lutterkort explained that since Deltacloud is written in Ruby, the Red Hat community jboss.org development site wouldn't have been a good fit for it anyway.

"Apache helped us a lot in making it clear that this is not just a Red Hat effort," Lutterkort said. "The ASF model makes it very clear to anybody looking at Deltacloud how the project is governed, how direction is set, and how people can get involved and recognized for their contributions."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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