Piston Cloud Computing today announced its selection by Swiss telecommunications provider Swisscom to lead the development of its cloud-based infrastructure. As a result of the partnership, Piston will provide Swisscom with a cloud-based infrastructure built on its turn-key commercial OpenStack solution in addition to professional services. Swisscom plans to migrate the “majority” of its IT applications to the cloud over the next few years and as such, OpenStack-based cloud environments represent a key component of its overarching cloud strategy. Piston plans to deliver Swisscom with two interfaces in the form of one platform for Swisscom’s day to day operations, and another for its customers. Swisscom boasts over 6.4 million mobile customers, a million TV customers and 2 million broadband connections for retail. The deal represents an important coup for Piston as it continues to expand its presence in the commercial, private cloud OpenStack space, as well as for the OpenStack platform more generally. Swisscom’s selection of Piston Cloud Computing also illustrates the early success of the February release of Piston OpenStack 3.0, Piston’s most advanced turn-key platform for deployment and management of OpenStack-based IaaS infrastructures.
Piston Cloud Computing
Today, Piston Cloud announces the release of version 3.0 of its enterprise-grade OpenStack-based platform for building Infrastructure as a Service cloud environments. Piston OpenStack version 3.0 features improvements in storage, networking, orchestration, diagnostics and monitoring. Piston prides itself on the ability of its platform to integrate with a wide array of hardware, PaaS, storage, networking and orchestration vendors and as such, boasts one of the most flexible turnkey commercial OpenStack solutions in the market today. The announcement of the release of version 3.0 comes in conjunction with news of Piston OpenStack’s production-grade usage by Intelemage, a medical image sharing solutions vendor.
Highlights of Piston OpenStack 3.0 include:
•Multi-tier storage pools with fine-grained configuration parameters that deliver enhanced performance.
•An expanded range of compatibility with software defined networking vendors such as Juniper Contrail, PLUMgrid, and VMware NSX.
•The ability to use Piston’s orchestration platform, Moxie RTE™, for third party services and applications
•Enhanced tools for cluster management and dashboard monitoring of the IaaS infrastructure.
Taken together, version 3.0’s announcements underscore Piston’s commitment to delivering a truly turnkey solution that supports integrations with third party vendors in an effort to simplify the platform’s installation on the part of customers that have pre-existing SDN networking or storage vendors of choice. Meanwhile, Piston OpenStack 3.0 continues to impress by way of its hyper-converged architecture that integrates “virtualized compute, storage, and network capabilities” into each and every server by means of the collaboration between the micro-OS and the Moxie RTE as illustrated below:
The graphic of Piston’s architecture illustrates how the Piston OpenStack solution differs from a configuration where each host has one, full fledged operating system. Instead, the solution boasts a transient, minimalist, Linux-based, “Iocane micro-OS” that operates at the server level. The micro-OS provides “containers, network namespaces, resource limiting and network traffic shaping to Moxie RTE™” such that the Moxie RTE, multi-server run-time environment can manage all of the processes specific to the server-level micro-OS. As a result, IT administrators who confront defective servers or hardware can remove them from the run time environment without losing data or compromising application uptime because of the infrastructure’s distributed architecture. Piston co-founder and CTO Joshua McKenty famously surmised the status of physical servers within the landscape of Piston OpenStack using the metaphor of puppies and cows as follows:
The servers in today’s data center are like puppies – they’ve got names and when they get sick, everything grinds to a halt while you nurse them back to health. Piston Enterprise OpenStack is a system for managing your servers like cattle – you number them, and when they get sick and you have to shoot them in the head, the herd can keep moving. It takes a family of three to care for a single puppy, but a few cowboys can drive tens of thousands of cows over great distances, all while drinking whiskey.
Here, puppies represent the traditional data center environment that attempts to remediate problems specific to a server or hardware more generally, whereas the cattle are illustrative of an environment that allows for hardware to be disposed of as necessary, with no harm to the larger infrastructure. In a subsequent blog post, McKenty notes that cattle need to roam, and that they can do so only in the context of “a common host orchestration environment” represented by the MoxieRTE. Piston’s unique distributed operating system architecture in conjunction with a minimalist, micro-OS that avoids the hassles of OS installation, configuration and management means that its customers can focus on monitoring the health of the infrastructure without applying patches, updates and fixes to an OS.
Intelemage, a leader in medical image sharing solutions, today announces its use of Piston for its private IaaS platform. Whereas Intelemage had previously dedicated significant time to deploying and managing servers and their attendant infrastructures, with Piston it has reduced deployment time “down to seconds.” Meanwhile, both the news of the release of Piston OpenStack 3.0 as well as the Intelemage announcement come in the wake of remarkable exchange between Piston and Red Hat whereby Red Hat rescinded Piston’s sponsorship of its upcoming Red Hat Summit. As reported in a Register exclusive, Red Hat cancelled Piston’s sponsorship, refunded the $13,000 sponsorship fee and subsequently overturned its cancellation and waived Piston’s sponsorship fee by way of apology. The reasons for Red Hat’s cancellation of Piston’s sponsorship are not immediately clear, although one possibility is because Piston reportedly beat Red Hat in the contest for a large OpenStack contract, details of which have yet to be disclosed.
The only certainty, here, is that Piston’s reputation in the market for commercial OpenStack solutions is skyrocketing alongside the emergence of a brand name known for high performing, scalable, easy to use platform that can more than more than bear its weight against larger IaaS and virtualization players such as Red Hat, Ubuntu and VMware. After years of preparation, the commercial OpenStack space finally appears ripe enough for intense competition as key players step up and differentiate themselves from the pack. With version 3.0, Piston appears poised to go toe to toe with the likes of Red Hat, HP, Dell, IBM and Cloudscaling if not surpass them altogether with superior technology. The next six months will be critical for the commercial OpenStack space given that the market finally appears ready to explore solutions on a wider scale than previously. Expect Piston to be at the forefront of the commercial OpenStack land grab, particularly in light of its relationship with Pivotal and the Cloud Foundry-OpenStack integration project.
Pivotal And Piston Cloud Partnership Intends To Refine Integration Between OpenStack And Cloud Foundry
Last Thursday, Piston Cloud (Piston) and Pivotal announced a partnership whereby Piston will deliver the community OpenStack infrastructure for Cloud Foundry. The partnership enables Pivotal to continue refining the integration of Cloud Foundry with OpenStack that Piston achieved last year. Thursday’s announcement means that Cloud Foundry’s developer ecosystem will be tightly integrated with Piston’s OpenStack distribution in order to ensure the resulting IaaS-PaaS, OpenStack-Cloud Foundry infrastructure successfully negotiates challenges related to continuous integration, rapid release cycles and scalability considerations. Piston’s co-founder and CTO, Joshua McKenty, will serve on the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board and Piston will continue to function as a partner for rapid deployments of Cloud Foundry.
James Watters, the head of product, marketing, and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry, remarked on the work specific to the integration in an interview with The Register by noting, “there’s a fair amount of work to make sure an IaaS and a PaaS like Cloud Foundry that automates itself through APIs all flows together very well” and that “every hour of every day Cloud Foundry gets tested on Piston.” Meanwhile, Joshua McKenty identified some of the integration issues that the partnership proposes to examine as follows:
We actually did most of the work to make sure Cloud Foundry could run on OpenStack last year. It’s not a tremendously complicated API, but it is important that it’s consistent and reliable. One of the things we’ve really focused on with Piston OpenStack is making sure the services are highly available, so as you scale up the scope of the Cloud Foundry environment on top, the IaaS environment can handle it.
Here, McKenty singles out the consistency and reliability of the Cloud Foundry API and the scalability of the OpenStack infrastructure in relation to the Cloud Foundry platform as topics for investigation. In a guest blog post for Cloud Foundry, McKenty further noted that Piston’s aim is to “to keep up with and continue to support the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem” given that the fundamental goal of cloud computing is “really just about providing the computing resources to keep up with the fast-paced DevOps and Agile lifecycle.” In other words, Piston intends to “keep up with” Cloud Foundry not only from a scalability perspective, but also in the context of its rapidly evolving, agile-driven code base and enhancements.
Overall, the partnership represents a huge coup for Piston given that it was hand-picked from the cottage industry of OpenStack vendors and distributions. More importantly, however, the announcement underscores the weight of the market momentum in favor of open-source based cloud computing platforms. Moreover, Thursday’s partnership increases the commercial viability of Cloud Foundry insofar as it was motivated in part by customer requests and interest. The industry should expect McKenty to bring his expertise in OpenStack governance to Cloud Foundry’s emerging governance structure and help drive a rapid expansion in Pivotal’s partnering companies and organizations with respect to Cloud Foundry. As the integration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry matures courtesy of the Pivotal-Piston partnership, we may even see the evolution of a formal collaboration beween OpenStack’s governance structure and Cloud Foundry’s emerging model of governance and open source software leadership.
Piston Cloud Releases Version 2.0 of Piston Enterprise OpenStack With Advanced Management and Orchestration Capability
Piston Cloud Computing announces the release of version 2.0 of its enterprise OpenStack platform for managing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) private clouds today. Built on OpenStack Folsom, version 2.0 features an array of new features and functionality that streamlines the process of deploying and managing IaaS clouds by leveraging DevOps-related tools and improved storage and memory functionality. Highlights of the release include the following:
•Automated provisioning and configuration
Piston Cloud’s Moxie HA platform automates the application of system upgrades, the re-balancing of VMs, and the provisioning and configuration of new resources in collaboration with CloudBoot, an advanced system orchestration platform. As a result, system administrators can monitor and manage their infrastructure with such ease that the platform is analogous to “managing your servers like cattle – you number them, and when they get sick and you have to shoot them in the head, the herd can keep moving,” as described by CTO and co-founder Joshua McKenty.
The graphic below illustrates the centrality of the Moxie HA and CloudBoot orchestration platform to the platform’s architecture:
•Shared storage that leverages open source storage solution Ceph
Piston’s open source Ceph storage solution allows customers to leverage virtual SAN solutions as well as take advantage of existing hardware such as RAID-based Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or SATA devices.
•Capability To Add Additional Virtual Machines In Less Than A Second
Virtual Memory Streaming (VMS) delivers unique capabilities to clone VMs and thereby launch extra virtual machines in less than a second. VMS is a software extension to the KVM hypervisor that leverages sophisticated hypervisor memory management technologies to enable the creation of new VM instances through cloning.
Overall, Piston Enterprise OpenStack version 2.0 is an unequivocally more robust product that provides an integrated, private cloud deployment and management experience over and beyond a simple OpenStack distribution. The release is compatible with all major software defined networking (SDN) platforms and additionally boasts complete interoperability with other OpenStack distributions and the ability to integrate with commodity hardware from x86 vendors such as IBM, Dell, Cisco, HP and Supermicro. One of the platform’s core differentiators consists of its integrated orchestration and configuration management technology that minimizes the degree of day to day operational oversight of the private cloud, IaaS environment. Piston’s CEO Jim Morrisroe surmises the value of the platform by noting:
Piston Enterprise OpenStack 2.0 is perfect for enterprise DevOps teams and AWS customers that want to reduce operating costs and dependencies with a private cloud solution, while maintaining the agility and scalable performance of a true cloud architecture.
In the wake of the release of OpenStack Grizzly and widespread backing of OpenStack for cloud platforms by the likes of IBM, Red Hat and even Oracle, Piston Enterprise OpenStack version 2.0 points to the emergence of a turnkey OpenStack solution for IaaS private clouds that brings all of the agility and scalability of public clouds to the enterprise’s doorstep. For the first time, the product also claims premium levels of customer support that attempt to allay concerns about the ability of a smaller vendor to nimbly respond to the needs of its customers.
This week, Piston Cloud Computing announced the finalization of $8 million in Series B funding from Cisco Systems, Data Collective and Swisscom Ventures, with additional participation from Divergent Ventures, Hummer Winblad and True Ventures. The $8 million in Series B funding builds upon $4.5 million in Series A funding from July 2011. The funding will be used to accelerate Piston’s product development and enhance the company’s ability to respond to the needs of its expanding product base. Piston recently appointed open source industry veteran Jim Morrisroe as CEO and correspondingly freed up Joshua McKenty, the company’s founding CEO, to focus on product development for Piston and his responsibilities as a board member of the OpenStack Foundation. Piston claims a unique and powerful position in the commercial OpenStack space given the depth of its executive experience in OpenStack and commercial open-source software. The company delivers software for managing private clouds based on OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service technology. Piston Enterprise OpenStack leverages its proprietary Moxie High Availability platform to minimize service disruptions and Null-Tier Architecture to simplify scaling and overall infrastructure management. Piston’s core product boasts the ability to operationalize an OpenStack private cloud in less than 10 minutes.
Piston Cloud Computing announced the appointment of Jim Morrisroe at its new Chief Executive Officer on Monday. Morrisroe takes over as CEO from cofounder Joshua McKenty, who will become the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Morrisroe brings to Piston Cloud over 20 years of experience in high growth technology companies that include VMware acquisition Zimbra, Storigen and Cemaphore Systems. Morrisroe’s appointment as CEO allows Piston to pursue a more aggressive business development strategy by freeing up McKenty to focus on product development and his responsibilities on the OpenStack governance board.
Morrisroe was previously a Vice President and General Manager at Zimbra, where he led the team’s acquisition by VMware after its spinout from Yahoo. Given that Zimbra delivers open source commercial email, calendar and collaboration software, Morrisroe brings to Piston Cloud extensive experience in open source software and its commercialization. In the early days of Zimbra, Morrisroe built a global team that grew the company’s revenue from $0 to a revenue rate such that it was acquired by Yahoo for $350 million in 2009. Prior to Zimbra, Morrisroe was VP of Worldwide Sales at Cemaphore Systems as well as VP of Sales at Storigen Systems. Morrisroe brings to Piston Cloud an exemplary track record of growing software sales globally as well as delivering strategic leadership to product and engineering teams.
McKenty remarked on Morrisroe’s addition the Piston Cloud team as follows:
We are extremely excited to welcome Jim to Piston Cloud. Not only is he a natural fit with the executive team, but his deep experience in open source and enterprise software will help us take the company to the next level.
Meanwhile, Morrisroe remarked on Piston Cloud’s positioning with respect to the enterprise as follows:
Private cloud and OpenStack are systematically transforming all aspects of enterprise information technology and Piston Cloud is the clear leader in the market for commercial OpenStack. OpenStack and private cloud software is emerging as a massive market and is disrupting billions of dollars that is today spent on legacy technologies. Piston Cloud is extremely well positioned to help lead customers through this transformation. I look forward to driving the continued growth and development of the company.
Morrisroe positions Piston Cloud as the “clear leader” amongst commercial OpenStack vendors. With McKenty freed up to focus on product development initiatives, Morrisroe’s characterization of Piston Cloud as the leader amongst the cottage industry of commercial OpenStack vendors may not be far off the mark, particularly given McKenty’s deep knowledge of the OpenStack product and its roadmap by virtue of his tenure at NASA and intimate knowledge of the OpenStack foundation. In comparison to vendors such as Red Hat and Rackspace, however, Piston has traditionally lacked competitiveness with respect to support. In an interview with Cloud Computing Today, Morrisroe mentioned the possibility of Piston Cloud’s partnerships with world class support vendors as its customer base expands and continues to grow.
Morrisroe’s appointment as CEO is likely to be a huge boon for the company because it frees McKenty from his company and OpenStack responsibilities and transfers the responsibility for sales to an industry veteran with a proven track record of growing open source software sales globally. Meanwhile, Piston continues to focus on productizing OpenStack in ways that render its version appealing for enterprise deployments. Expect to hear more news from Piston on the product and business development fronts in the next few months as the company strives to live up to its billing as the undisputed leader amongst commercial OpenStack vendors.
Today, Piston Cloud Computing announced the release of Airframe, a free OpenStack-based cloud management platform that allows users to examine a scaled down version of Piston’s Enterprise OpenStack product. Piston’s announcement represents the latest in a series of OpenStack-related announcements that began with Red Hat’s preview of its OpenStack distribution and Rackspace’s release of Alamo, its OpenStack product for Private Cloud Software. Airframe can be installed in under 10 minutes and includes all of OpenStack’s core components in the form of its compute, storage, networking and cloud management functionality.
Airframe allows enterprises to conduct proof of concept investigations and become familiar with the OpenStack installation and management process from a product that derives from Piston’s production-ready OpenStack configuration. Importantly, Airframe includes Cloud Foundry, thereby allowing enterprise users to experiment with hybrid private cloud IaaS and PaaS environments. Airframe boasts a push button upgrade to Piston Enterprise OpenStack and simplifies the overall OpenStack installation process as noted by Joshua McKenty, Piston’s CEO and co-founder:
OpenStack installers on the market today are either too complicated to deploy and manage, or just not a complete solution. We felt it was important to provide an ‘easy’ method of installing OpenStack that didn’t require sacrificing a production-class architecture. Users can upgrade from a pilot deployment to a fully-supported production environment without having to start over. We believe that’s a really significant difference. With Airframe we can give people a truly seamless experience from a free to paid and supported solution.
Airframe’s streamlined installation process preserves a “production-class architecture” and differentiates itself from other OpenStack downloads by its ease of upgrade to a production environment. Moreover, its bundling of Cloud Foundry renders Airframe one of the more extensible of the free OpenStack distributions on the market today. Expect users to choose Airframe over Alamo if they are seriously anticipating a quick transition from a proof of concept to a production-grade environment. Airframe will be generally available via download at http://airframe.pistoncloud.com on September 4, 2012.