RightScale Offers Schools Freebie Cloud Management Tools - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
3/6/2009
05:33 PM
Roger Smith
Roger Smith
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RightScale Offers Schools Freebie Cloud Management Tools

RightScale, a company that supplies tools, expertise, and automated technology to help companies run scalable applications across numerous public and private clouds -- including Amazon, Go Grid, and the open-source Eucalyptus cloud -- this week launched a new program that provides qualified educational institutions copies of the company's Cloud Management Platform free of charge.

RightScale, a company that supplies tools, expertise, and automated technology to help companies run scalable applications across numerous public and private clouds -- including Amazon, Go Grid, and the open-source Eucalyptus cloud -- this week launched a new program that provides qualified educational institutions copies of the company's Cloud Management Platform free of charge.RightScale CEO Michael Crandell told InformationWeek that Harvard Medical School's Center for Biomedical Informatics is among the first to participate in the new Education Program. As part of a "Translational Science in the Cloud" seminar, teams at Harvard will be able to use RightScale's platform to manage their server deployments to a "translational research laboratory" running on Amazon Web Services. "RightScale has its roots in higher education," explained Crandall, "and we are strongly committed to helping advance research and innovation through cloud computing." According to Crandall, RightScale got its start when one of the company's co-founders, Thorsten von Eicken, a former professor of computer science at Cornell University, received a grant from Amazon.com while teaching a 2006 class at U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB) on how to build a Ruby on Rails e-commerce site on the recently launched beta of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2. "As he was burning through the grant money, he realized that he needed a cloud management platform to monitor cloud usage, and that's how RightScale was born."

Crandall stated that it was entirely coincidental that UCSB professor Rich Wolski established the Eucalyptus Cloud project, an open-source software infrastructure for implementing cloud computing on clusters, at the same time that RightScale being founded. "Maybe there's something in the water here that leads to these kinds of cloud formations," he joked. He said RightScale has been collaborating with the UCSB Eucalyptus Project Team to accelerate the advancement of cloud computing technology.

Asked if organizations were using RightScale's management platform to test their applications on the Eucalyptus EC2-compatible, open source cloud infrastructure before moving to a larger-scale deployment on Amazon's EC2, Crandall replied that, because RightScale was cloud-agnostic, it was possible for enterprises to also do public-to-private deployment. "We can support both use cases: you can build a cloud app internally and then deploy it to a public cloud like Amazon; as well as building it externally and bringing it in-house. In many cases, it's easier to get IT resources externally through Amazon than requisition them internally because of long lead times typically required for equipment procurement." Crandall said that he also expected a percentage of clouds apps built in universities and educational laboratories would also use RightScale's platform to migrate to public, commercial clouds.

"We don't have any preset limits on the number of schools or educational institutions that will have free access to RightScale's professional toolset," Crandall said. "One of the benefits of being in the scalability business is that RightScale platform itself is very scalable. Although we're not giving away free consulting time, schools will have access to our platform and self-service support through our wiki, our knowledge base, and so forth."

"From our point of view, the more educational institutions that sign up to use RightScale, the better," he concluded.

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