Blog Article:

Federating Multiple Cloud Instances with OpenNebula Zones

Ignacio M. Llorente

Chief Executive Officer at OpenNebula Systems

Aug 22, 2011

This is the second article covering the functionality provided by the new OpenNebula Zones (oZones) component available in the third major release of OpenNebula. In a previous article, we described its Virtual Data Center (VDC) functionality that is helping many IT organizations make the transition toward the next generation of cloud infrastructures supporting multiple fully-isolated VDCs with advanced multi-tenancy. This article elaborates on its support for building multi-tier cloud architectures consisting of multiple OpenNebula Zones.

What is an OpenNebula Zone?

An OpenNebula Zone (oZone) is a group (“cluster”) of physical hosts under the control a single OpenNebula instance (“OpenNebula cloud”). The new oZones server available in OpenNebula 3.0 offers a single access point and centralized management for multiple oZones, potentially hosted in different geographical locations. A running oZone can be easily added to the oZones server, as long as you have valid administrator credentials in the server, without requiring any changes to the OpenNebula Zone itself.

A new onezone command and oZones GUI help manage and monitor the Zones in each oZones server, providing the ability to show the aggregated resources from multiple zones: templates, images, users, virtual machines, virtual networks and hosts.


A Zone can be further divided into Virtual Data Center (VDCs)  to support organizational isolation with advanced multi-tenancy. A VDC is a fully-isolated virtual infrastructure environment where a group of users, under the control of the VDC administrator, can create and manage compute, storage and networking capacity.

The cloud administrator can create a VDC with the new onevdc command or oZones GUI. The administrator assigns a group of users to a group of physical resources and grants at least one of the users, the VDC administrator, the privileges to manage all virtual resources in the VDC. Users can then access their VDCs using any of the existing OpenNebula interfaces (CLI, SunStone, OCA, or the OCCI and AWS APIs) with the VDC URL endpoint through the oZones server. The mapping of VDCs to the different Zones is transparent to the users and can be dynamically adapted by the cloud administrator for capacity planning.

Examples of Enterprise Use Cases of Federated Cloud Instances

The new functionality for federating OpenNebula cloud instances address many common requirements in enterprise use cases, for example:

  • Complete isolation of users, organizations or workloads in different Zones with different levels of security or high availability
  • Optimal performance with the execution of different workload profiles in different physical clusters with specific architecture and software/hardware execution environments
  • Massive scalability of cloud infrastructures beyond a single cloud instance
  • Multiple site support with centralized management and access to clouds hosted in different data centers to build a geographically distributed cloud

Are You Ready to Try the New OpenNebula Zones?

Through the new oZones component, OpenNebula offers a seamless, dynamic operating environment that enables the bridging of multiple Cloud instances, helping businesses achieve the full flexibility and benefits of cloud computing. OpenNebula 3.0 is a fully open-source technology. You have the software, the guides and our support to deploy your cloud infrastructure with multiple VDC environments.


  1. Sebastien

    Hi, Can a VDC span multiple zones ?

  2. tinova

    Hi Sebastian,

    Not yet, currently all the VDC resources (physical hosts, for instance) now have to reside in the same Zone.

  3. Laurent

    Hi, I’m not sure I understand : two zones can run on two hardware and opennebula totaly independent ?
    If that’s right, can we move an image from a zone to another zone ?

    • Ignacio M. Llorente

      You would need support from the underlying infrastructure. Please use our support mailing list for more info. Regards



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