ComodIT takes on autoscaling as it moves towards being a ‘cloud brokering enabler’

ComodIT, the Belgian startup that’s trying to take on the likes of Opscode and Puppet Labs (see disclosure) as the IT automation service of choice among enterprise devops, has added autoscaling capabilities to its arsenal.

As it set out in a blog post, the company also released an open-source Python library so users can integrate its automation into their own applications and processes.

ComodIT was a finalist in our Structure:Europe LaunchPad competition last year in Amsterdam (this year’s event will be in London in September). The company automates not only the ongoing configuration of what goes on within virtual machines (VMs) – whether they’re hosted on public (Amazon (s amzn) EC2, Rackspace(s rax)) or private clouds (OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus, VMware(s vmw)) or even on physical servers – but also the provisioning of those VMs. ComodIT lets users migrate machines between, for example, EC2 and a Xen hypervisor by changing a single parameter.

And its latest features may come in handy for those who want to run their application on a private cloud while bursting to a public cloud when needed.

“If you want to have autoscaling for your infrastructure, your web application or database, if you want to have it on hybrid clouds you have to manage the fact that, if the load is becoming too high, you need to automatically scale your infrastructure,” ComodIT CEO Daniel Bartz explained to me. “To do this, usually you are talking about orchestration, but most of the time the tools are scaling only the virtual machine entity itself – if the load is too high, you just pop up a new VM.

“We are able to do that if you need, but also to reconfigure automatically what is in another machine to keep the complete infrastructure coherent and be able to adapt to hybrid clouds.”

The new Python library bears a permissive MIT license and, according to Bartz, is largely targeted at startups that are developing new infrastructure and new applications.

‘Enabling the cloud broker market’

ComodIT is still in beta mode and, before it can hit general availability, it needs to integrate one more piece: its billing system. The firm’s subscription model is a per-node-per-month one, but right now payments need to be organized by email.

And once that billing system is in place, along with connections to providers’ systems, ComodIT will try to become what Bartz calls an “enabler” for the booming cloud broker market“.

“There are two challenges for the cloud broker market,” Bartz said. “The first is technical, and we are close to a solution there – to make the deployment and management of your infrastructure independent of the underlying technology. People can use ComodIT to do that today.

“But the other part is billing relationship management with the different cloud providers. There we are nowhere. To do that, the cloud brokers need to have the underlying technology.”

Intriguing talk, but Bartz wouldn’t say any more for now. Further details will come in the summer, he promised.

Disclosure: Puppet Labs is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.