Eucalyptus Private Cloud – First Impressions

In a recent post I mentioned that I was evaluating the Eucalyptus private cloud for use on Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course. What I am keen to be able to add to the course is hands-on experience to attendees of provisioning resources from a private cloud and the associated tools for monitoring and controlling cloud usage and utilisation. The Eucalyptus cloud has a set of command line tools, euca2ools, for provisioning resources which have commands and options compatible with Amazon EC2 and S3 services. However, as a first exposure to Eucalyptus I am keen that attendees have a visual tool to work with. Then we can delve deeper with the command line tools.

Harold Spencer, Jr. at Eucalyptus suggested I try the HybridFox plugin for Firefox to access the Eucalyptus cloud. This provides a browser based interface to the cloud where I can configure key pairs, set up security groups, launch instances, attach volumes and much more. This is exactly what I had hoped to use and demonstrate in the course. Five minutes later I had a Linux instance launched in the cloud and had logged in via SSH. Here is the proof of my launched instance ! The green bar indicates a running instance.

I think that configuring and launching a machine instance will make a great short introductory exercise for attendees, following a presentation of the Eucalyptus architecture. The instructor can then log into the Eucalyptus management console and show the vital statistics for each user such as number of instances launched and CPU hours used. With this foundation there is so much more to investigate, demonstrate and have the attendees do.

So in summary, my first impressions of the Eucalyptus private cloud are: wow – this is so neat, well thought out and straightforward to use. I feel truly excited about what we can begin to do with this cloud in the course. It has also got me thinking about the applications Eucalyptus may have in my consulting work. Before I finish, I would just like to say thanks to Steven Fitzgerald and Brady Murray of Eucalyptus for their total patience and support on this project.

Chris Czarnecki

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