In a presentation from Day 1 of the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Jonathon Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation announced the rollout of the initial round interoperability protocols and testing to ensure that OpenStack distributions successfully interoperate with one another. Currently, 16 companies have interoperability testing results available and the OpenStack Foundation plans to ensure the application of its interoperability testing on all OpenStack-branded products during the remainder of 2015. Bryce also notes that over 30 OpenStack products and services in the marketplace have pledged to support federated identity. Bryce’s elaboration on the aggressiveness of the OpenStack Foundation’s efforts to ensure the development of a common OpenStack core stack across all distributions suggests that OpenStack is likely to live up to the promise of interoperability and open standards that constituted part of its core vision as an open source IaaS platform that allows customers to migrate workloads from one OpenStack environment to another with ease. Companies that have produced live interoperability results at present include IBM, SwiftStack, Red Hat, Bluebox, Rackspace and Mirantis.
Pivotal and Mirantis recently announced a partnership whereby Pivotal will support deployments of Pivotal Cloud Foundry on the Mirantis OpenStack platform. Meanwhile, Mirantis will resell Pivotal Cloud Foundry to its IaaS customers. The partnership between Pivotal and Mirantis reinforces the integration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry by bringing together two leading open source technologies in the cloud computing space and delivering a full stack marked by infrastructure provisioning and management capabilities in addition to agile application development functionality. As noted in a Pivotal blog post, customers can deploy Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Mirantis OpenStack by following a runbook that streamlines its deployment. The collaboration between Pivotal and Cloud Foundry underscores the ascendancy of open source cloud computing technologies that are predicated upon transparent governance frameworks and the contributions of developers and organizations from all over the world. By offering Pivotal Cloud Foundry on top of Mirantis OpenStack, Pivotal and Mirantis render available an on demand solution that absolves companies of the hassle of integrating an application development platform into an infrastructure deployment. The partnership gives Mirantis the feather in its cap constituted by an enterprise-grade PaaS in the form of Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Correspondingly, Pivotal benefits from the increased sales channel exposure enabled by access to Mirantis customers. The real winner from this partnership, however, is OpenStack insofar as it continues to cement its reputation for having the ability to integrate with major PaaS, database and Big Data technologies as recently exemplified by the agreement between Oracle regarding its Database as a Service and Mirantis, and Piston Cloud’s announcement of Piston OS 4.0.
Piston Cloud Computing today announced the availability of Piston Cloud OS 4.0, an operating system that builds upon the company’s platform for deploying enterprise-grade OpenStack deployments by enabling customers to deploy Hadoop and Spark on bare metal. In addition to support for Hadoop and Spark, Piston CloudOS 4.0 will support Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm in a forthcoming release. As such, Piston CloudOS 4.0 represents a notable expansion of Piston CloudOS because it aims to support the larger vision of empowering enterprises to quickly deploy the infrastructure and applications they need by using a unified platform in contrast to siloed platforms and interfaces. In its current state, Piston CloudOS 4.0 supports the open source Apache Hadoop distribution but plans to support commercial releases of Hadoop in the future as illustrated in the graphic below:
The graphic shows how Piston CloudOS 4.0 aspires to become a one stop shopping ground for frameworks that allow enterprises to launch application development, application management and data analytics-related projects. The deployment of Hadoop on bare metal allows organizations to enjoy performance benefits in comparison to virtualized environments, thereby enabling in-memory technologies such as Apache Spark to function at a high level of performance. By delivering the capability to enjoy push-button deployments of Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, Piston Cloud accelerates the operational agility of deployment teams that are interested in spinning up virtualized, cloud infrastructures in conjunction with bare-metal environments for their Big Data use cases. Moreover, by supporting technologies such as Docker, Mesos, Kubernetes, MongoDB and Cassandra, Piston Cloud gives customers an impressive array of frameworks and tools in what amounts to the industry’s first turnkey platform for cloud, Big Data and container management. Another advantage of Piston CloudOS 4.0 is that it gives users the ability to redistribute workloads across different frameworks to ensure the continued optimization of the infrastructure.
While Piston CloudOS 4.0 represents an important complement to Piston’s renowned OpenStack capabilities, the obvious question raised by this product offering concerns the significance of the company’s decision to pivot on its core OpenStack offering toward a platform that embraces a broader set of use cases and workloads. While the decision to shift course from a pure OpenStack-play strategy constitutes an astute move to gain an early foothold in the emerging market for integrated cloud, Big Data and application management platforms, the attendant question involves the long-term viability of commercial OpenStack solutions as a standalone offering, particularly in light of Nebula’s decision to close on April 1. Regardless of its implications for OpenStack, however, Piston’s new CloudOS platform represents a noteworthy intervention in the evolution of cloud and Big Data technologies by delivering a unified platform for OpenStack-based infrastructure provisioning, Hadoop deployment and, in forthcoming releases, container management and access to NoSQL as well. The bewildering heterogeneity of cloud, Big Data and application management technologies means that unified interfaces for the provisioning of infrastructures and associated data and applications promise to simplify the workflows and technology management overhead faced by organizations. Meanwhile, by tying OpenStack deployments more closely to contemporary data and application frameworks, Piston promises to increase the attractiveness of its core OpenStack offering by surrounding it with technologies and frameworks that are garnering increased traction in the enterprise.
OpenStack startup Nebula announced on April 1 that it is “ceasing operations” after approximately four years in business. Nebula attempted to productize OpenStack for enterprise-grade deployments but realized that the company had “exhausted all potential options” and therefore decided to close shop. Nebula-based private clouds will continue to operate but will no longer have the benefit of support from Nebula. In a note on its website, the Nebula management team reflected on the company’s decision to suspend operations by remarking:
…We are deeply disappointed that the market will likely take another several years to mature. As a venture backed start up, we did not have the resources to wait.
In total, Nebula raised $38.5M in equity and debt financing from investors such as Comcast Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Innovation Endeavors and well known individual investors Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton and Ram Shriram. The Nebula Management team’s assessment that the enterprise OpenStack “market will likely take another several years to mature” raises questions about the viability of OpenStack startups in a commercial IaaS market that is increasingly dominated by technology behemoths with the capital to acquire cloud-based startups and integrate them into a larger portfolio of cloud and Big Data products and services.
On one hand, OpenStack startups such as Metacloud and Cloudscaling have enjoyed extraordinary successes as evinced by acquisitions led by Cisco and EMC, respectively. On the other hand, Nebula’s failure raises deep questions about the ability of OpenStack startups to gain market traction in the private cloud IaaS space, particularly given the stellar credentials of a leadership team that included Chris Kemp, former NASA CTO and Devin Carlen and Steve O’Hara. That said, another reason for Nebula’s failure could simply involve a deeply flawed business model, but it remains to be seen whether the cloud computing space will ever receive a detailed post-mortem analysis of the reasons underpinning the company’s failure to succeed.
Midokura Becomes OpenStack Corporate Sponsor As OpenStack Community Embraces More Networking Options
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.
Midokura Releases Enterprise-Grade MidoNet Marked By Support For IaaS Platforms In Addition To OpenStack
On Wednesday, Midokura announced the latest release of its Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) platform that delivers network virtualization for IaaS clouds. Wednesday’s release constitutes the first major release since Midokura’s decision to open source its network virtualizaton technology in November. MEM supports not only OpenStack but also VMware vSphere and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6 as illustrated below:
The innovation of this commercial release consists of the platform’s deep integration with additional IaaS platforms such as VMware vSphere, for example, which subsequently allows enterprises to use MidoNet for both proprietary and OpenStack-based IaaS deployments as evinced in hybrid cloud infrastructures, for example. Co-founder and CEO of Midokura Dan Dumitriu remarked on the significance of MEM’s support for platforms beyond OpenStack as follows:
Our latest Enterprise MidoNet release marks the next step in our product evolution by offering support for platforms that are already proven and well-entrenched in modern enterprise data centers. The result is that businesses can make the most of their technology investments with Midokura’s open, scalable network virtualization for heterogeneous hypervisors and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds.
As Dumitriu notes, the most recent release of MidoNet throws open the door for MidoNet to be used in a variety of datacenters that collectively leverage “heterogeneous hypervisors” for their IaaS platforms. MidoNet’s decision to support a variety of IaaS frameworks means that, while it stands to benefit from its early traction amongst the OpenStack community, it also now positions itself to support a more diverse range of cloud platforms and amalgamations of IaaS infrastructures and subsequently make an even stronger case for its prominence amongst OpenStack deployments by virtue of its extensibility to other environments that may variously complement OpenStack. As of this release, MEM also supports OpenStack Juno and includes enhancements such as Load Balancing as a Service for the OpenStack Neutron project. Available immediately, Midokura is offering a 30 day free trial of MEM including enterprise-grade support and the MidoNet Manager interface.
On Tuesday, Mirantis announced the integration of OpenStack with Kubernetes, the open source framework developed by Google to manage containers. The integration between OpenStack and Kubernetes enhances the portability of applications between the private cloud infrastructures typical of OpenStack and public cloud environments such as the Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure that support Kubernetes. Even though Docker containers are well known for enhancing the portability of applications across infrastructures, transporting applications and workloads from private clouds to public clouds remains challenging. The availability of Kubernetes within (OpenStack) private clouds in addition to public cloud environments now renders it easier to transport containerized applications from private to public clouds and subsequently obtain a greater return on investment from deploying hybrid cloud infrastructures.
Moreover, the integration between Kubernetes and OpenStack facilitates container management on the Mirantis OpenStack platform by automating and orchestrating the management of Docker containers within an OpenStack-based IaaS infrastructure. The integration between Kubernetes and OpenStack depends on the OpenStack Application Catalog Murano, which manages the infrastructure for Kubernetes clusters and deploys the Docker application to the Kubernetes cluster. As the application and Kubernetes cluster scale, Murano manages the interplay between OpenStack compute, storage and networking resources and the application to ensure support for the infrastructure needs of the application and its attendant Kubernetes cluster. Tuesday’s announcement underscores the burgeoning power of containers, container management frameworks such as Google’s Kubernetes, the significance of OpenStack within the private cloud space as well as the increasingly urgent need for technologies that promote communication across cloud infrastructures toward the end of realizing the true potentiality of hybrid cloud environments. The integration of Kubernetes and OpenStack’s Murano will be available for preview on the Mirantis OpenStack Express platform in April 2015.