60 Open Source Apps You Can Use in the Cloud

Many open source applications are now available on a SaaS basis, and others can help enterprises set up IaaS or PaaS environments.


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Cloud computing is making a dramatic impact on the technology industry – and the open source community is no exception. Market analysts at IDC predict that worldwide spending on cloud computing services and technologies will top $100 billion this year. That's a 25 percent increase over 2013 totals.

The open source community is participating in this race to the cloud in two key ways. First, much open source software, particularly software for enterprises and small businesses, is now available on a SaaS basis. This provides customers with quality, low-cost applications and eliminates the hassles of deploying software on their own servers. At the same time, it gives open source companies a viable business model that allows them to make money from their technology.

Second, many open source projects are focusing on developing the infrastructure and management software that makes cloud computing possible. These tools are used by public cloud computing providers and by organizations that want to set up private or hybrid clouds.

For this list, we've collected some of the best of both types of open source cloud apps. Although there are a few projects here that are aimed at home users, most of these are applications suitable for businesses.

As always, if you know of other open source cloud projects that you think should be on the list, feel free to make a note in the Comments section below.

Cloud Infrastructure and Management

1. OpenStack

Numerous technology companies have announced their support for OpenStack, making it the leading open source cloud computing platform. It allows data centers to pool their compute, storage, and networking resources and manage them through a dashboard interface. Operating System: OS Independent.

2. CloudStack

This Apache project offers a turnkey Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution. It's used both by public cloud computing vendors and by organizations running their own private clouds. Operating System: OS Independent

3. OpenNebula

This project aims to simplify the process of setting up and running private or hybrid cloud environments. The project is completely open source, but services and support are available thorough C12G Labs, which manages the project. Operating System: Linux.

4. Eucalyptus

Short for "Elastic Utility Computing Architecture, Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems," Eucalyptus allows organizations to build private or hybrid cloud environments that are compatible with Amazon Web Services. Support is available on a subscription basis. Operating System: Linux.

5. Synnefo

Synnefo is a complete cloud infrastructure stack built using Google Ganetti, OpenStack and KVM. There's a demo on the website, so you can see the dashboard in action before you download. Operating System: Linux.

6. Scalr

Used by companies like GE, Expedia, Samsung, Oracle, Disney, Nokia, CBS and Accenture, Scalr is an enterprise-class cloud management solution. In addition to the open source version, it also comes in paid hosted or on-premise versions. Operating System: Linux.

7. FOSS-Cloud

This multi-faceted cloud computing solution includes virutalization, cloud desktop, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS capabilities. According to the website, it can save users up to 40 percent compared to closed source virtualization software. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

8. openQRM

This enterprise-class tool combines datacenter management/system administration and IaaS provisioning into a single tool. It comes in both a free community version and a paid enterprise version. Operating System: Linux.

9. Desein

Sponsored by Dell, Desein describes itself as a "Open Source cloud abstraction library for Java." It's a model for IaaS and PaaS offerings that enables applications to run in any cloud environment. Operating System: Linux.

Cloud Desktop

10. eyeOS

Although it is now commercial software available from IBM and other partners, you can still access the older, open source versions of this cloud desktop solution from the SourceForge link above. It claims to be the first and the most popular open source cloud desktop. Operating System: Linux.

11. Oneye

A community group is continuing development of the open source version of eyeOS, which they have forked under the name Oneye. It's currently in version 0.9, and only community support is available. Operating System: Linux.

12. ownCloud

As you can probably guess from the name, this project allows individual users to set up their own personal cloud so they can access their files, email, and multimedia content from any device. If you don't have your own server, the website links to several service providers who offer hosting. Operating System: Windows, Linux.


13. Xen

Sponsored by the Linux Foundation, Xen has been incorporated into numerous other open source projects, including Eucalyptus, Apache CloudStack, OpenNebula and OpenStack. Amazon began using it for its cloud computing service in 2006, and it also runs many other public clouds. Operating System: OS Independent.

14. KVM

A Red Hat emerging technology project, KVM is a virtualization solution for x86 systems. It's been part of the Linux kernel since 2007. Operating System: Linux.

Network Monitoring

15. Opsview

This monitoring tool allows IT pros to keep tabs on their cloud, virtual and physical systems. It comes in core (open source), pro, enterprise and MSP versions. Operating System: Linux.

Platform as a Service

16. AppScale

Based on Google App Engine, AppScale is an open source platform as a service solution. Paid support is available. Operating System: Linux.

17. OpenShift

Owned by RedHat, OpenShift is both downloadable software that allows organizations to set up their own PaaS and an online public PaaS. It supports technologies like Java, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python, Perl, MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL and Jenkins. Operating System: Linux.

18. Cloud Foundry

Now owned by Pivotal, Cloud Foundry counts Verizon, SAP and Baidu among its users. In addition to sponsoring the open source project, Pivotal also offers Pivotal Web Services, a public PaaS based on Cloud Foundry, and Pivotal CF, a supported version of Cloud Foundry that enterprises can use to set up a private PaaS. Operating System: Linux.


19. Amanda/Zmanda

Amanda, short for "Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver," claims to be the "most popular open source backup and recovery software in the world." Zmanda, which sponsors development of the tool, offers cloud-based backup based on the same software. Operating System: Windows.

20. Bacula

Designed for enterprise use, Bacula also lays claim to the "most popular" title. Bacula Systems offers paid support and services, including "Bacula for the Cloud." Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

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Tags: Linux, cloud computing, apps, Open Source App

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