Indeed, Wolski says that Eucalyptus isn’t meant to be an EC2 killer (for one thing, it’s not designed to scale to the same size). However, he believes that the project can make a productive contribution by offering a simple way to customize programs for use in the cloud. Wolski says that it’s easier to assess a program’s performance when it’s possible to see how it operates both at the interface and from within a cloud.
Wolski says that Eucalyptus will also imitate Amazon’s popular Simple Storage Surface, which allows users to access storage space on demand, as well as its Elastic IP addresses, which keeps the address of Web resources the same, even if the physical location changes.
Ignacio Llorente, a professor in the distributed systems architecture group at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in Spain, who works on OpenNebula, says that Eucalyptus’s main advantage is that it uses the popular EC2 interface. However, he adds that “the open-source interface is only one part of the solution. Their back-end [the system’s internal management of physical resources and virtual machines] is too basic. A complete cloud solution requires other components.” Llorente says that Eucalyptus is just one example of a growing ecosystem of open-source cloud-computing components.
Wolski expects many of Eucalyptus’s users to be academics interested in studying cloud-computing infrastructure. Although he doubts that such a platform would be used as a distributed system for ordinary computer users, he doesn’t discount the possibility. “You can argue it both ways,” he notes. But Wolski says that he thinks some open-source cloud-computing tool will become important in the future. “If it’s not Eucalyptus, I suspect [it will be] something else,” he says. “There will be an open-source thing that everyone gets excited about and runs in their environment.”