Grid is dead, and reinventing itself as Cloud. All kidding aside, the idea of providing a virtual machine instance as a service in the Grid rather than just CPU time with the appropriate environment and libraries to be used by different users isn’t new; it actually makes a lot of sense to provide e.g. a working virtual machine instance for a complex scientific application, which is a lot easier than having to document the correct setup for fellow researchers to implement.
One of the core services of the Virtual Workspace project was orchestrating the deployment of VMs on remote resources as well as the release versioning. Today, Nimbus is a set of tools that together provide a “infrastructure-as-a-service” (IaaS) cloud computing solution targeted specifically towards scientific applications. Many non-scientific use cases are supported as well.
Nimbus allows a client to lease remote resources by deploying virtual machines (VMs) on those resources and configuring them to represent an environment desired by the user.
It was formerly known as the “Virtual Workspace Service” (VWS) but the “workspace service” is technically just one the components in the software collection.
Just as Eucalyptus, it is capable of managing clients that are compatible with the Amazon EC2 service.
Open Source Virtualization management platforms like Nimbus , Eucalyptus, OpenNebula and openQRM are catching on. This probably isn’t the last one we’ll learn about. The question is which one will survive eventually.