Monday, 30 April 2012

EC OPTIMIS Project To Release First Open Source Toolkit For Cloud Providers

Toolkit Reduces Risk and Helps Providers Build The Perfect Cloud For Their Needs

The EU-funded OPTIMIS project has announced it is releasing the first version of its open source toolkit to help European service providers build and run applications in the cloud.

The software toolkit makes it easy for service providers to build service policies and virtual machines and make deployment and infrastructure decisions based on four key factors - trust, risk, eco-efficiency and cost (TREC). It gives service providers the choice of deploying services across all types of cloud environments – private, hybrid, cloud-bursting, federated or multi-clouds.

“The OPTIMIS project is an important part of Neelie Kroes’ EU-wide cloud initiative,” said Csilla Zsigri, director of consulting services EMEA, at 451 Research and project spokesperson. Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission, is responsible for the Digital Agenda and has set out an EU-wide cloud computing strategy to put Europe ahead of the game, by making it not only ‘cloud-friendly’ but ‘cloud active’.

“This cloud strategy goes beyond a policy framework by stimulating new research and innovation, and the creation of pan-European partnerships to create better cloud environments and give European businesses, especially SMBs, a platform on which to innovate with new products and services,” Zsigri added.

The OPTIMIS programming component allows developers to define service elements and automatically create virtual machines. Using the TREC optimisation engine, the toolkit manages the deployment of the VMs to the service provider’s preferred infrastructure.

Another component, the OPTIMIS broker, manages the infrastructure selection and service deployment by automatically evaluating infrastructure providers based on the service provider’s TREC preference. These deployments can even occur across multiple cloud infrastructures if the TREC-based evaluation determines that would deliver the best result.

Once the service is live, OPTIMIS allows the service provider to continue to monitor, change and optimise the various configurations at runtime.

Another key feature of the toolkit is that the software design incorporates data protection requirements. “This is important, because data protection is more and more becoming a 'must have' feature for cloud services, not only in Europe but worldwide,” added Zsigri.

Version one of the toolkit will be available on 1 June 2012 for download from the OPTIMIS web site.

The beta version of the toolkit has been tested by some of the cloud providers and IT services firms involved in the project, such as Atos, Flexiant and Arsys in collaboration with major supercomputing centres such as University of Stuttgart (HLRS) and Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).

“The beta version has given us an indication of the potential benefits of this toolkit. At this stage, the beta version has been able to select best deployment venues based on the application’s TREC requirements. Once the full application service is up and running, the toolkit monitors both the TREC levels and the application KPIs and if the SLA is compromised, it takes corrective action and for instance it automatically bursts to a different cloud environment,” said Ana Juan, head of Service Engineering and IT platforms Lab at Atos.

“The OPTIMIS toolkit helps eliminate the risks involved in building cloud environments and we hope this will encourage more European SMBs to create new cloud applications and services,” added Juan.

FACTFILE: OPTIMIS is a three-year, €10.5m research and development project under the 'Software and Service Architectures & Infrastructures' track of the EU's 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The OPTIMIS project consortium is led by IT services company Atos and includes Umea Universitet, The 451 Group, Universit├Ąt Stuttgart, ICCS, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, SAP, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, University of Leeds, Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover, Flexiant, BT Group, City University London and Arsys. The project started in June 2010. More details at : www.optimis-project.eu.

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