Eucalyptus Systems has released an update to the commercial version of its private cloud software, Eucalyptus Enterprise Edition.

Version 2.0 of the software can run instances of the Windows operating system in a self-provisioned cloud, in addition to Linux, said Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL who became chief executive of Eucalyptus Systems in March.

The updated software can also track usage and costs for predefined groups, allowing organisations to understand which of its departments are using cloud computing resources and adjust their internal accounting accordingly.

Developed by a University of California researcher with funding from the US National Science Foundation, Eucalyptus allows anyone to set up a cloud platform, which then can be offered as a service, either internally or publicly.

The software duplicates all of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) application programming interfaces, guaranteeing that any workload running on AWS can also run on a Eucalyptus platform, according to the company. This allows organisations to set up applications that can be run either on an internal cloud, on AWS, or switched between the two.

The new version can run Windows Server 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 7, which users can log into via Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol. The software also allows an administrator to put potential users into groups and allocate them different levels of access.

Version 2.0 includes Storage Area Network (SAN) adapters, allowing the software to connect directly to a SAN, which should improve I/O (input/output) throughput.

The commercial version of Eucalyptus is aimed at a number of different enterprise users, Mickos said. One group would be members of the research community who have heavy computational applications with variable loads. Another would be large organisations that simply want to use their data centres more efficiently.

"You can reduce your idle time on the hardware, meaning you can do more with the same hardware," Mickos said. While this benefit can also be realised by using virtualisation software, cloud services will offer the additional benefit of "being able to provision servers much faster, and even let the users self-provision," which could cut manpower costs, he argued.

Mickos was CEO of MySQL when the relational database company was purchased in 2008 by Sun Microsystems, which was subsequently purchased by Oracle. MySQL the company offered a commercially supported version of its database, as well as a more basic free version.

"The model that MySQL was striving towards is now the one we use for Eucalyptus," he said. He called this approach "open core."

"There is a core product that is open, and around it you have commercial features that you get only when you pay money," he said.