Network virtualization startup Midokura joined the OpenStack Foundation on Tuesday as a corporate sponsor. Midokura is the steward behind the open source software-defined, networking platform MidoNet that delivers virtualized networking solutions for IaaS platforms such as OpenStack. Midokura open-sourced its MidoNet platform in November 2014 with the intent of democratizing access to its virtualized networking solutions while concurrently launching an enterprise-grade version of MidoNet that includes a layer of professional services aimed at production deployments. Midokura’s MidoNet platform claims scalability, performance and security advantages over the Open vSwitch (OVS) plugin provided by OpenStack. In a press release, Midokura remarked on the value of MidoNet to OpenStack deployments as follows:
As the OpenStack project now hits its five-year mark, nearly two-thirds of users recently surveyed by the OpenStack Foundation still have concerns about OpenStack Neutron. Midokura’s disruptive MidoNet technology fulfills this need by replacing the default OVS plug-in from OpenStack deployments to offer a much more scalable and efficient networking solution for highly virtualized cloud environment. The result is that OpenStack users can easily support production-grade deployments to fulfill explosive enterprise demands – all while benefiting from the freedom of open source by forgoing the need to lock in with a single private vendor.
Here, Midokura highlights the scalability benefits delivered to OpenStack deployments by MidoNet, particularly as it relates to environments with “explosive enterprise demands.” MidoNet decouples OpenStack from network infrastructures by creating an abstraction layer that lies between the physical network and hosts. As a result, users can create a distributed overlay networking infrastructure that allows for changes to the virtual network without corresponding disruptions to the physical infrastructure of the network. The larger significance of MidoNet is that it gives OpenStack customers an enhanced range of options regarding scale-out networking solutions, while remaining true to OpenStack’s open source philosophy and vision. By joining OpenStack as a corporate sponsor, Midokura stands to strengthen its already deep and collaborative relationship with the OpenStack Foundation and position itself more strongly to render MidoNet the de facto networking solution of choice for the OpenStack community.
Cloud monitoring leader Cloudyn today announced its support for the Microsoft Azure cloud. Cloudyn’s support of Azure means complements its existing support for Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and OpenStack, thereby rendering it compatible with an even wider range of hybrid cloud infrastructures. Cloudyn specializes in performance management across a variety of cloud infrastructures by means of a unified user interface. In addition to performance management, Cloudyn also delivers cost tracking and optimization services that allow customers to control costs by optimizing resource and infrastructure allocations across different infrastructures and applications. The following screenshot of Cloudyn’s management dashboard illustrates the cost-tracking functionality of the Cloudyn platform:
Cloudyn’s data visualization functionality provides customers with nuanced drill-downs of cost by entity, cost savings opportunities and trend analytics of cost over time. By supporting Microsoft Azure, Cloudyn provides customers with the ability to understand how an Azure deployment alters the cost and performance equation in a hybrid cloud infrastructure that might alternatively include an on-premise OpenStack deployment as well as use of Amazon Web Services. Cloudyn CEO Sharon Wagner commented on the significance of the company’s support for Azure as follows:
We’re thrilled to add support of Microsoft Azure to our set of cloud platforms. Our customers’ interests in Azure adoption have grown rapidly. From the onset, we’ve been committed to helping our customers ease into the multi-cloud model as well as successfully manage it. Now we’ll be able to further help them cut down on cloud spend while avoiding cloud sprawl.
In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Wagner noted that all performance metrics collected from the cloud infrastructures that Cloudyn supports reside on the same table, giving Cloudyn the unique capability to perform cross-cloud performance and cost comparisons. Cloudyn’s ability to deliver rich and nuanced analytics for hybrid cloud deployments renders it a powerful tool for contemporary cloud deployments, the vast majority of which necessarily embrace some combination of private and public cloud environment. Today’s announcement of its support for Azure represents yet another important milestone for Cloudyn, particularly as it seeks to add even more cloud platforms to the list of infrastructures it supports for performance and cost analytics.
Alation today came out of stealth to announce a software platform that enables knowledge workers within enterprises to more effectively locate, understand and use data stored within their data infrastructures. Alation integrates knowledge of an organization’s data by using a combination of machine learning technology in conjunction with human curation processes to help organizations derive the maximum value from their data repository. The company’s technology platform crawls an organization’s databases to create the analogue of a Google PageRank for data elements that reflect how often the data has been used, who has used it, who originated the data and the degree to which it has been validated within the organization. Alation’s platform also features collaborative analytics that allow analysts to take advantage of the crowdsourced contributions of other analysts and data scientists. The collaborative analytics functionality enables users to take advantage of real-time annotations to data elements from other users within the organization that shed light on its significance, uses, reception and relationship to other data points and sets.
Other solutions offered by Alation include Data Warehouse Optimization, Data Governance frameworks and Data Search and Discovery that runs across distributed datasets by using natural language searches. Today’s announcement builds on Alation’s $9M Series A funding raise announcement in March. Alation already claims an impressive roster of customers that include eBay, MarketShare, Inflection and Invoice2Go. Unlike the bevy of Big Data analytics platforms that focus on analytic queries on streaming or distributed datasets, Alation’s innovation consists in its commitment to simplifying, streamlining and enriching access to data within an enterprise. By focusing on knowledge about data, Alation promises to accelerate both the quality of analytic deliverables as well as the cycle time required to produce data-driven insights by rendering data easier to find and contextualize. Expect to hear more about Alation’s ability to leverage machine learning technology to enhance the ability of analysts to locate data of interest as its platform consolidates on its early market traction and focuses the valences of its product development in collaboration with customer feedback.
On March 26, Amazon announced two new storage plans for Amazon Cloud Drive that deliver enhanced options regarding the storage of files in the cloud. Both storage plans give customers the option of unlimited storage and take direct aim at cloud storage competitors such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. The Unlimited Photos Plan from Amazon Web Services allows customers to store an unlimited number of photos for $11.99 per year while the Unlimited Everything Plan allows users to store an unlimited number of files, whether they be photos, videos or other files, for $59.99/year. Both plans feature a free three month trial and disrupt the cloud storage landscape by giving away photo storage for less than $1/month and file storage for less than $5/month. Amazon’s prices beat Dropbox and Google Apps per Google Drive, both of which charge $10/month for 1 TB of storage for a single user.
Meanwhile, Amazon recently broadened its deployment of Amazon Prime Now by rendering its one hour delivery service available in 35 zip codes in the Dallas area. Amazon Prime Now provides one hour delivery for $7.99 or free two hour delivery for subscribers to Amazon Prime, which costs $99/year. With the addition of Dallas to its list of available cities, Amazon Prime Now’s deployment currently spans New York, Baltimore, Miami and Dallas. Taken together, Amazon’s new product offerings for cloud storage and its expansion of Amazon Prime represent aggressive steps to redefine not only the cost, but also the logistics of day to day operations such as file storage and e-commerce. Amazon’s new product offerings aim to lure cloud-averse customers to become more comfortable with its platform as Amazon attempts to choke not only Dropbox and Google Drive, but also the likes of eBay, Walmart.com and Target.com. By rendering its existing products and services more attractive, Amazon is also likely to benefit from spillover revenue as customers surf through and sign up for a broader range of its products and services. But the real benefit, for Amazon, from expanding the overall usage of its platform is the enhancement to the reputation of the Infrastructure as a Service that undergirds its dizzying range of products and services, and the corresponding affirmation the company receives to expand and upgrade its infrastructure fleet toward the end of expanding its business-facing cloud-based products and services.
IT automation vendor Puppet Labs today announces Enterprise 3.8 which features key updates to Puppet Node Manager and a new application called Puppet Code Manager. The recently enhanced Puppet Node Manager now features the ability to automate the initial provisioning of infrastructures in conjunction with rule-based logic and parameters that dictate when infrastructure should be rendered ready for production. Puppet Node Manager also supports the launch and configuration of Docker containers as well as a new Amazon Web Services module that takes responsibility for the deployment and ongoing management of AWS resources. As told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Tim Zonca, Puppet’s Director of Product Marketing, the AWS module allows organizations to leverage a unified IT automation interface for managing on-premise and cloud-based DevOps processes instead of Amazon’s indigenous orchestration tools and a separate Puppet interface for automating, streamlining and simplifying infrastructure management. The graphic below illustrates Puppet Node Manager’s user interface and the corresponding simplicity of its method for defining rules for infrastructure components:
In addition to an enhanced Puppet Node Manager, Puppet also announces an application called Puppet Code Manager that allows customers to define their infrastructure using code and subsequently manage the code—as opposed to the infrastructure itself—as it traverses different components of the product and software development lifecycle. Puppet Code Manager allows IT teams to more expeditiously apply a consistent methodology for changing, upgrading and testing their fleet of infrastructure components. Meanwhile, Puppet’s Bare Metal provisioning tool Razor is now generally available for the discovery of bare-metal hardware and the provisioning of OS on that hardware. Taken together, today’s set of announcements represent yet another important step on the part of Puppet to consolidate its leadership position in the IT automation and orchestration space. Puppet’s ability to render its technology applicable to a variety of infrastructures and platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Docker containers punctuates its relevance for IT management more generally. That said, the obvious question for Puppet Labs is the degree to which its automation technology can keep pace with the bewildering rate of change specific to the cloud, Big Data and computing landscape, particularly as Big Data technologies continue their aggressive maturation and application development, as exemplified by Pivotal’s support for a hosted distribution of Cloud Foundry on AWS, moves in the direction of increasingly agile methodologies that value precisely the automated management functionality that Puppet delivers.
The following Infographic, courtesy of Vormetric, illustrates widespread adoption of cloud computing and Big Data technologies at rates of 80% and 30% respectively. However, the graphic also points to intense concerns on the part of IT Managers about cloud and big data security, particularly insofar as those security considerations involve lack of control of the location of data and inadequate encryption and security protocols and frameworks for the protection of data and sensitive environments.