Head of Products and Services at ELEKS

One of the most important problems with cloud computing is vendor lock-in. If you use, for instance, Amazon EC2 it is quite a hard to move your solution into other cloud quickly. There are several solutions that address this issue. Probably most interesting among them is RightScale.

RightScale is a web based cloud computing management solution for managing cloud infrastructure from multiple providers. To manage public and private cloud resources RightScale uses RightLink, their agent that is pre-installed with ServerTemplates or cloud be installed on your own Linux and Windows images. RightLink is open source tool for compliance review and offers secure outbound communication without a need for open inbound ports.
It supports several popular cloud vendors, such as Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, Windows Azure and so on.
Our engineers spent some time by playing with RightScale API to determine if it fits our requirements. In general, it works as expected, but there are several reasons why it doesn’t fit our needs. Shortlist of pros and cons follows:
Pros:

  • it allows you to avoid vendor lock-in
  • MultiCloud images
  • version control system for virtual images and configuration

Cons:

  • you still have vendor lock-in, but this time on RightScale
  • one more abstraction layer adds unnecessary complexity
  • lack of SDK, just REST API
  • three versions of API, two of them are in beta-version and one is not yet released at all
  • it doesn’t support Amazon GPU instances (basically it was showstopper for us)

As a conclusion, it looks like RightScale really does what it is supposed to do: allows you to work with several cloud vendors without lock-in. But it doesn’t support all features of all vendors – just a common subset. It is also hard to start work with it because of lack of SDK and very little information about it in the Internet, so that it doesn’t look as product for start-ups. It looks like it could be used by corporate customers with more or less standard needs.

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