openQRM cluster manager released as open source

by Andy Oram

Related link: http://openqrm.sourceforge.net/



There's an interesting new distributed management project called
openQRM. It's currently around 73 on
SourceForge, and has been up in the top 50 recently. It was released
under a modified version of the Mozilla Public License by
Qlusters,
a company that was founded by openMosix developer Moshe Bar and that
I've repeatedly met with at LinuxWorld Expos. I just talked to a
colleague of mine, William Hurley, who recently took a job as Qlusters
CTO.



According to Hurley, what distinguishes openQRM from the many other
available network and cluster management tools is that it lets sites
continue to use the architecture and software they currently have with
minimal disruption. openQRM developers have already created plug-ins
for Nagios, Xen, and VMWare ESX. Integration with other software or
home-grown scripts at each user site should be fairly easy. Now that
the core technology is open source, the team is hoping to pull in more
developers from the community, particularly to support FreeBSD, OS X,
and other platforms.



openQRM is important because of the proliferation of servers run by
small organizations on small budgets, made possible in recent years by
free software running on cheap hardware. The bottleneck now, as many
TCO analysts point out, is system administrator time. According to
Hurley, without good management tools, system administration
can add $7000 to $20,000 to the annual cost of each box.



openQRM offers automatic failover for servers under its control. In
fact, you can set up automatic failover from one openQRM managing
server to another, so there's no single point of failure anywhere in
your architecture. The system also supports diskless servers, which
lowers cost and rates of failure.



I find this product interesting also because it reflects the
continuing move to free software by commercial vendors. Qlusters
started out as an entirely proprietary product, but because they
lived in a Linux environment and ran on Linux systems, they felt they
wanted to become more a part of the free software community. I had a
long meeting on this topic with VP Fred Gallagher at the most recent
LinuxWorld, which I wrote up in a

blog from that conference
. Since then, they've acted on this
impulse. Hiring Hurley and releasing openQRM are both significant
steps toward supporting the free software movement.



Qlusters itself will market a variety of proprietary plug-ins and
management tools on top of this open platform. The license allows
other companies to develop proprietary products on top of openQRM. The
only stipulation (and the only modification Qlusters made to the
Mozilla Public License) was that commercial vendors have to
acknowledge they're using Qlusters's openQRM.