European cloud project plots OpenStack move

The Optimis project has detailed the first version of its cloud software, and is now deciding whether to contribute its code to OpenStack or develop its own 'European' cloud software platform
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

A European Commission-backed project to create an OpenStack-like cloud platform has detailed the first version of its software toolkit, but it is unclear what comes next.

The Optimised Infrastructure Services (Optimis) project announced on Monday that the first version of its open-source toolkit would be released on 1 June, though a beta is available to project partners. Its software is designed to let service providers deploy, automate and manage cloud environments according to four factors: trust, risk, eco-efficiency and cost.

The technology bears similarities to the open-source cloud platform OpenStack — to such an extent that one of the project's stakeholders is calling for the technology to be contributed to OpenStack, rather than developed as a standalone.

"Optimis is thinking about joining OpenStack with some of the components," Csilla Zsigri, a spokeswoman for the Optimis project and director of consulting services EMEA at 451 Research, told ZDNet UK on Monday. "We are seeing OpenStack as a future partner."

The project has received €10.5m (£8.5m) in funding (PDF) from the Commission's seventh framework programme.

"The Commission is not so happy about this [potential OpenStack move] because they are saying OpenStack is not a European initiative — but, well, cloud in general is not very European," Zsigri said. "From a business perspective, I think this OpenStack path would be really good for Optimis."

Optimis has a few features for implementing the brokerage of services and information between clouds that OpenStack lacks, she said, and that code could be added to OpenStack.

Optimis backers

Besides the 451 Group, other stakeholders of the project include BT, Atos, Umea University, SAP, Universität Stuttgart, ICCS, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Fraunhofer SCAI, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, Flexiant, City University London, Arsys and the University of Leeds.

From a business perspective, I think this OpenStack path would be really good for Optimis.
– Csilla Zsigri, 451 Research

None of the project's stakeholders are using the Optimis code in production, although some of the service providers are testing it and making sure it works together, Zsigri said.

The 451 Group is "trying to convince the rest of the consortium" to donate the code to OpenStack as it does not believe the stakeholders would be willing to work together to set up a company and sell the software as an independent entity, she acknowledged.

Optimis is funded through to May 2013. The second version of the code should be released in six months, with a final release due in May or June next year.

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