Nimbus overview

Nimbus is an open-source toolkit focused on providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities to the scientific community. To achieve this we focus on three goals:

  • Enable providers of resources to build private or community IaaS clouds. The Nimbus Workspace Service provides an implementation of a compute cloud allowing users to lease computational resources by deploying virtual machines (VMs) on those resources. A complementary tool, Cumulus, provides an implementation of a quota-based storage cloud. Cumulus is designed for scalability and allows providers to configure multiple storage cloud implementations.

  • Enable users to use IaaS clouds. An example of a tool in this area is the Nimbus Context Broker, which creates a common configuration and security context across resources provisioned from potentially multiple clouds. Nimbus also offers scaling tools allowing users to automatically scale across multiple distributed providers. We call these tools "sky computing tools" as they often operate in a multi-cloud environment combining private and public cloud capabilities.

  • Enable developers to extend, experiment and customize IaaS. To achieve this goal we provide a high-quality, highly configurable and extensible open source implementation. For example, the Workspace Service can be configured to support different virtualization implementations (Xen or KVM), resource management options (including schedulers such as PBS), interfaces (including compatibility with Amazon EC2), and many other options. Nimbus components are regularly acceptance tested which allows developers to easily extend them. Over time, the project has attracted a community of open source contributors and committers.

Combining those tools and capabilities in different ways allows users to rapidly develop custom community-specific solutions. For example, one community might want to use Nimbus IaaS to configure a private or community cloud while another may want to focus on augmenting resources of an already existing cloud with resources from various community and public clouds.

For more information, start with the Frequently Asked Questions and Features page.