Private cloud software available as free beta download

A startup founded by the creator of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud is now offering a free beta download of its software, which creates Amazon-like clouds behind the enterprise firewall.

A startup founded by the creator of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud is now offering a free beta download of its software, which creates Amazon-like clouds behind the enterprise firewall.

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Nimbula, led by former Amazon EC2 developer Chris Pinkham, was founded to build software that automatically configures a private data center’s hardware into a compute cloud that acts much like Amazon EC2, integrating with multiple hypervisors and operating systems to give developers and other users access to virtualized instances of servers and storage. The software also controls access to public cloud resources, letting customers pursue a hybrid approach to cloud computing.

Nimbula said its software, Nimbula Director, is now heading into public beta and will be available as a free download starting Monday, Dec. 6 at the company’s website.

“Based on Nimbula's Cloud Operating System technology, Nimbula Director delivers Amazon EC2-like services behind the firewall,” Nimbula said in a press release. “Allowing customers to efficiently manage both on- and off-premises resources, Nimbula Director quickly and cost effectively transforms inflexible, inefficient and under-utilized private data centers into muscular, easily configurable compute capacity while supporting controlled access to off-premise clouds.

“Nimbula Director provides powerful utility-grade cloud features like policy based authorization, enabling secure multi-tenancy, topology-independent distributed network security and monitoring and metering. Nimbula Director also uniquely provides highly automated deployment and cloud management to scale and facilitates easy migration of existing applications into the cloud by supporting multi-platform environments and flexible networking and storage.”

Nimbula was recently named one of Network World’s 25 new IT companies to watch. Nimbula emerged from stealth mode in June of this year, saying that a few “large international customers in the financial services, technology and healthcare industries” were using the software in private beta. VMware co-founder and former CEO Diane Greene serves on Nimbula’s board of directors.

Pinkham worked for Amazon between 2001 and 2006, leading development of the service that became EC2. He founded Nimbula in 2008 with Willem van Biljon, a fellow veteran of Amazon.

Nimbula is running a little bit behind schedule. At launch, the company said general availability was planned for the fall of 2010. That was later updated to the end of 2010, and Nimbula now says general availability will occur in the first half of 2011.

The private beta was limited to about a dozen customers “so we could work closer with the folks,” says marketing vice president Reza Malekzadeh, a longtime VMware executive who left VMware in 2009 and joined Nimbula in April 2010.

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Jon Brodkin

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