|DownloadableOnDemand Data Center Vendor: QLayer ?
In an email response to my post on Amazon's EC2 offering, where I suggested it wouldn't get interesting until the next layer of cluster management/deployment was rolled out, an observant blog reader pointed me to QLayer - a vendor of a data center on demand service, that sounds suspiciously similar to 'something that would make Amazon EC2 extremely compelling'.
OS images (QImage),
network topology (QNetwork) and
replication for deployment/failover (QReplicate)
so that you can instantiate a VM-based data center topology by clicking some buttons on a web page ( I think ).
Viewing their flash intro, they even have a control panel slide with checkboxes for "Click here for Mail Server, Click here for Database".
Lazy sysadmins (and developer's who are occasionally press-ganged into system administration like myself ) can rejoice.
The Belgium-based firm raised $9M last week in a second round of funding -- they are definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Related Thought #1:: the missing piece in all this is some sort of meta-distribution or vendor that can certify/support clusters that work in harmony - making sure all the ports/network address/authentication/file paths etc line up. Clustered apt-get? MetaYum? I haven't even read about anything like this, so please let me know if you have. I know that there are grid management tools, but I don't think they cope with the heterogeneity of a data center (vs the clone-army regularity of a compute farm). It's possible that you have to go to someone like Opsware and sign away your first child to get this, but I'm hopeful for something simpler/developer friendly.
Related Thought #2: It would be nice if Windows were invited to this party ... but consider the licensing complexity of using non-OSS software in the above scenarios: Instead of 'Check here for Mail Server' it would probably take you several hours to figure out what combination of Exchange+AD+w2k3 Server CPU-based licenses, per -seat or device access licenses, a-la-cart vs. silver level support contract vs gold level, etc ... ARG! That's not where you wanted to go today.