Eucalyptus: Overview

This post is part of the Open Source Cloud Computing series. For an Overview, please click on the Tag.

Eucalyptus was developed at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and is provided under the GNU GLP v3 Open Source License. The name Eucalyptus stands for  “Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems”. Its main target is to enable the execution and control of virtual instances with Xen or KVM under Linux and to provide an API that is compatible to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Since Eucalyptus is basically built upon the Amazon APIs, it is great for hybrid Cloud Solutions. The first version of Eucalyptus was released in 2008.

Platform Description

Each Eucalyptus component runs as UNIX service and communication between the components is based on SOAP Web services. Eucalyptus infrastructure may consist of one or more locations, which represent different datacenters. Eucalyptus consists the Cloud Controller, Cluster Controller, Node Controller, Walrus and the Storage Controller. The Platform provides Tools that are called “Euca2ools”, which are written in Python. The command-line tools distributed by Amazon Web Services inspire Euca2ools. There are two major Tools:

  • api-tools (Command Line interface to EC2)
  • ami-tools (Command Line interface to work with Amazon Machine Image)

With Euca2ools, it is possible to:

  • Do queries on availability zones (i.e. clusters in Eucalyptus)
  • Do SSH key management (add, list, delete)
  • Manage virtual Instances (start, list, stop, reboot, get console output)
  • Configure and Manage Security groups
  • Configure and Manage Volumes and snapshots (attach, list, detach, create, bundle, delete)
  • Manage Images (bundle, upload, register, list, deregister)
  • Manage IP addresses (allocate, associate, list, release)

All Configuration Elements for Eucalyptus are stored in a config-file as Key-Value Pairs. To start Eucalyptus, the configuration must be finished. Eucalyptus needs to connect to Clients (End Users) and Cloud Components (CC, Walrus, etc.). Therefore, network management is essential. Eucalyptus knows the following networking topologies:

  • Managed Mode. With Manged Mode, Eucalyptus provides all Networking Features such asVM Network Isolation, Security Groups, Elastic IPs and Metadata Service. A Cluster Controller must be in the same broadcasting Domain as the Node Controllers with Managed Mode. Furthermore, all Cluster and Node Controllers must be configured.
  • Managed Mode without VLAN. This is basically the same as Managed, but no VLAN is used. The Connectivity must be made by Ethernet and all Cluster Controllers and Node Controllers must be in the same Broadcast Domain.
  • System Mode. Eucalyptus mostly stays out of the way in terms of VM networking and basically relies on DHCP service to configure VM networks On all Cluster Controllers, VNET_MODE=”SYSTEM“ and on a Node Controller, a Bridge must be specified.
  • Static Mode. Eucalyptus DHCP Server „issues“ the Network Configuration. Nodes must be configured with VNET_MODE=”STATIC”.

The header image is provided by  jar (away for a while) under the creative commons licence.


Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

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