The European Union (EU) is funding the launch of a new open source toolkit, designed to help European service providers build and run applications in the cloud.

The toolkit, developed by the EU-funded Optimis project, helps developers to define service elements and automatically create virtual machines (VMs). It uses an optimisation engine based on four decision factors – trust, risk, eco-efficiency and cost (TREC) – to manage the deployment of VMs across multiple cloud environments.

Version one of the toolkit will not be available until 1 June 2012, but a beta version has already been tested by some of the companies involved in the project, such as Atos, Flexiant and Arsys in collaboration with major supercomputing centres such as University of Stuttgart (HLRS) and Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).

According to Ana Juan, head of service engineering & IT platforms lab at Atos, the Optimis toolkit helps eliminate the risks involved in building cloud environments.

“The beta version has been able to select best deployment venues based on the application’s TREC requirements,” said Juan. “Once the full application service is up and running, the toolkit monitors both the TREC levels and the application KPIs and if the SLA is compromised, it takes corrective action – for instance it automatically bursts to a different cloud environment.”

The Optimis project is part of an EU-wide cloud computing initiative launched by Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, which aims to make Europe more “cloud-friendly”. The toolkit software design incorporates data protection requirements, which are becoming an essential feature for cloud services in Europe and worldwide.

“This cloud strategy goes beyond a policy framework by stimulating new research and innovation, and the creation of pan-European partnerships to create better cloud environments and give European businesses, especially SMBs, a platform on which to innovate with new products and services,” said Csilla Zsigri, director of consulting services EMEA at 451 Research.

Ealier this year, Kroes announced a European Cloud Partnership, that will look at common requirements for cloud procurement and come up with standards to ensure security and competition, along with €10 million (£8m) of initial funding.