Cambridge, MA based startup Basho Technologies recently announced the availability of Riak CS, a cloud storage solution that targets cloud products and services. Basho’s press release outlines three immediate use cases for Riak CS: (1) Cloud service providers can leverage Riak CS as the underlying cloud storage technology for their cloud solution; (2) Enterprises with private clouds can use Riak CS as the cloud storage platform for their private cloud environment; and (3) Companies with web-based applications can turn to Riak CS for their cloud storage needs. Importantly, Riak CS is compatible with the Amazon Web Services S3 API, thereby allowing customers to migrate data back and forth between AWS S3 and their Basho cloud storage solution as needed. The principal customers envisioned for Riak CS feature IaaS providers, telecommunications qua cloud service providers and enterprises seeking either storage for their private cloud or a dedicated storage solution. The launch of Riak CS positions Basho as a leading player in the hotly contested enterprise storage space alongside the likes of Box, Nirvanix, Zetta, Mezeo, Scality and Egnyte. Besides its implications for the world of enterprise cloud storage, the Riak CS product underscores the prevailing currency of Amazon Web Services APIs as a standard with which cloud vendors seek compatibility.
Today, PaaS vendor Engine Yard revealed details of an expanded partner program for three tracks of partners, namely, (1) Solution Providers, (2) Technology Providers and (3) Infrastructure as a Service providers. The Engine Yard partner program elaborates how Engine Yard will assist partners that contribute to the ecosystem of products and services that surrounds its PaaS platform. Engine Yard hopes that the partner program will uniquely position it to “provide the most robust cloud offerings available to developers” as a result of the way in which its partners collectively enhance the value of its PaaS offering.
The three partner tracks in Engine Yard’s Partner Program are as follows:
Solution providers are “dev shops, design agencies, consultants and systems integrators” who use the Engine Yard platform as a service to deliver products for their clients. Engine Yard claims over 200 solution providers at present.
Technology providers are vendors who offer third party software that are either integrated into Engine Yard’s PaaS platform or otherwise serve as platform “enhancements or extensions.” Over 100 technology providers enhance Engine Yard’s platform currently.
Infrastructure as a Service providers offer Engine Yard within their IaaS offerings as branded solutions for customers seeking a PaaS solution that matches Engine Yard’s “deep expertise in Ruby on Rails and PHP.” Examples of Engine Yard’s Infrastructure Providers include Amazon Web Services and Terremark.
Engine Yard offers partners a variety of technical and sales and marketing support in order to contribute toward their success. In addition to the partner program, Engine Yard announced a startup incubation program that facilitates the movement of “early stage companies from an idea to running cloud-based applications in production easily and cost-effectively.” Participating startups will receive free premium technical support, free development hours and discounts on training and other consulting services from Engine Yard.
PaaS vendor DotCloud today announced three additional functionalities for its PaaS platform, namely, vertical scaling, WebSocket support and support for MongoDB 2.0. DotCloud’s blog describes vertical scaling as an improvement in the “performance of a single service, most often a database” by way of the addition of new resources such as “RAM, CPU time, disk I/Os and more.” Vertical scaling is differentiated from horizontal scaling because of its focus on the addition of resources to a specific computing unit such as a server, whereas horizontal scaling is generally represented by the addition of servers to an existing server ecosystem. Typically offered by IaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services, vertical scaling is less common within the PaaS space. As such, DotCloud’s initiative to offer vertical cloud scaling builds upon a larger trend amongst PaaS vendors to deliver functionality that replicates the performance and scalability of IaaS vendors.
DotCloud also announced support for WebSockets that allows for bi-directional communication between web browsers and an application’s back-end database in real-time. WebSocket support is intended to enrich web-based application development, particularly as it relates to applications that depend upon frequent user interaction and feedback. Finally, DotCloud understands itself as “huge fans of MongoDB” and now supports MongoDB 2.0. In the wake of today’s announcement, DotCloud now supports multiple languages and technology stacks in addition to vertical scaling and support for WebSockets within a product offering that illustrates the increasing richness of the PaaS space.
Opscode announced the finalization of $19.5 million in Series C funding led by Ignition Partners, with additional participation from Battery Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, today. The funding will support the expansion of Opscode’s “software engineering, sales, marketing and business development efforts.” Headquartered in Seattle, Opscode develops cloud automation software that streamlines the deployment and ongoing management of cloud infrastructures. Opscode’s flagship product chef is well known for automating the deployment of hardware and software applications for complex cloud IT ecosystems. Today’s announcement of the finalization of Series C funding includes news that John Connors of Ignition Partners joined Opscode’s Board of Directors. Opscode’s total funding now stands at approximately $31 million. Opscode competes with the likes of Puppet Labs and Rightscale in addition to HP, IBM and BMC.
This week, Amazon Web Services inked a deal with Eucalyptus Systems of Santa Barbara, California whereby customers can migrate data between their data centers and the Amazon Web Services platform by using Eucalyptus APIs that are compatible with Amazon Web Services products such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Although Eucalyptus APIs have always been compatible with the Amazon EC2 platform, the March 22 announcement by the two companies means that AWS has officially committed to professionally supporting compatibility between the Eucalyptus AWS API and its own suite of products and services. The press release underscored Amazon Web Services’s professional commitment to Eucalyptus Systems as follows:
As part of this agreement, AWS will support Eucalyptus as they continue to extend compatibility with AWS APIs and customer use cases. Customers can run applications in their existing datacenters that are compatible with popular Amazon Web Services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
The agreement means that Amazon Web Services, which has been dismissive of the private cloud for years, is officially embracing private clouds such as those within enterprise data centers. Eucalytpus Systems represented precisely the partner Amazon Web Services was seeking to gain greater penetration in the enterprise private cloud market. Amazon Web Services’s Terry Wise, Director of Amazon Web Services Partner Ecosystem, commented on the synergies between the two companies by noting:
“We’re pleased to provide customers with the added flexibility to more freely move workloads between their existing IT environments and the AWS cloud. Enterprises can now take advantage of a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus, enabling the use of scripts and other management tools across both platforms without the need to rewrite or maintain environment-specific versions. Additionally, customers can leverage their existing skills and knowledge of the AWS platform by using the same, familiar AWS SDKs and command line tools in their existing data centers.”
As Wise remarks, one of salient benefits of the agreement is the ability for enterprise customers to take advantage of “scripts and other management tools across both platforms” that absolve IT staff of the need to train themselves on cloud management in two different ecosystems. On one hand, customers familiar with AWS can use “AWS SDKs and command line tools in their existing data centers” while leveraging “a common set of APIs that work with both AWS and Eucalyptus.”
Financial details about the partnership between Eucalyptus and Amazon Web Services have not been made public, but rest assured that the agreement represents a huge coup for both parties. Eucalyptus, on one hand, stands to gain traction in the wake of the proliferation of enterprise-grade OpenStack deployments and the huge upsurge of momentum and commercial interest in OpenStack more generally. Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, finds in Eucalyptus a viable partner that can take it directly to enterprise deployments and gain more traction in the market for ancillary cloud services related to enterprise private clouds such as backup, storage and disaster recovery. Enterprise Eucalyptus customers that were once leery of signing up with Amazon Web Services will now find little reason not to experiment with the Seattle-based cloud giant.
Precisely when OpenStack’s fortunes seemed virtually meteoric (no pun intended), Amazon Web Services responded with an astute strategic play designed to consolidate its stranglehold on IaaS cloud computing market share. The agreement furthers the dominance of the Amazon Web Services API as the standard for cloud APIs and thereby jeopardizes OpenStack’s claim to fame as the inter-operable platform of choice for cloud deployments. Last September, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote in a blog post that “the hackers and funders and leaders and advocates of OpenStack, and any number of other cloud infrastructure projects both open source and proprietary, would be better off figuring out how to leverage [the AWS API’s] standardisation than trying to compete with it, simply because no other API is likely to gain the sort of ecosystem we see around AWS today.” Amazon Web Services’s agreement with Eucalyptus just boosted the AWS API even further. The only question now is how OpenStack and Rackspace and the open source cloud computing community more generally will respond to the AWS-Eucalyptus alliance.
At World Hosting Day in Germany, Dell revealed plans to expand its distribution of OpenStack-based cloud solutions from the U.S. and Canada to the UK, Germany and China. Dell’s integrated OpenStack offering will target enterprise customers as well as service providers interested in using OpenStack to deliver cloud solutions to third party customers. The solution will run on Ubuntu, OpenStack and Dell’s crowbar software. Dell’s open-sourced crowbar software will manage OpenStack setup from the initial boot of the server to the configuration of the OpenStack software components. Powered by Dell’s PowerEdge C servers, the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution represents an out of the box cloud offering that allows customers to take advantage of Dell’s optimization of OpenStack for the solution’s validated hardware and software configuration.
John Igoe, Dell’s Executive Director of Cloud and Big Data Solutions, spoke to the optimization of OpenStack within Dell’s integrated solution as follows:
“As early supporters of solutions based on open-standards like OpenStack and Hadoop, Dell remains committed to providing open, standards-based solutions that enable customers to integrate new technologies without sacrificing performance or existing IT investments. Utilizing and integrating the efficiencies of the PowerEdge C line with optimized software and tailored services, the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution enables users to take a server out of the box and be up-and-running on an OpenStack cloud in mere hours. With Dell’s tested and validated designs in infrastructure, software, and services, customers can build out their IT presence and lower in-house costs.”
Even though Igoe notes that customers can “take a server out of the box and be up-and running on an OpenStack cloud in mere hours,” Andy Cash, Dell’s Director of Next-Generation Computing Solutions, commented that customers should not think of Dell’s OpenStack solution as an appliance. “We would be concerned about organisations thinking of this as an appliance… because it’s not,” Cash told ZDNet, noting that the costs and final hardware and software specifications would change on a “project-by-project” basis. Dell will provide consultative support in addition to the hardware and software required for OpenStack installations.
Dell’s OpenStack solution represents part of its broader corporate strategy to shift its strategic focus away from hardware sales toward enterprise cloud software and services. Dell announced the availability of an OpenStack solution in the U.S. and Canada at OSCON last summer. Having added the UK, Germany and China to the list of countries that can purchase its OpenStack solution, Dell intends to add more countries to its OpenStack sales base as customer demand grows worldwide.
ActiveState has partnered with IaaS vendor CloudSigma to allow CloudSigma to resell its Stackato PaaS platform as part of its portfolio of cloud products. CloudSigma will offer ActiveState Stackato in order to cater to the needs of customers interested in cloud deployments that leverage Stackato’s “any cloud, any stack and any language,” PaaS platform. The partnership represents a strategic move by ActiveState to broaden the channel for Stackato’s distribution by collaborating with an IaaS vendor whose customers may wish to differentially utilize IaaS and PaaS platforms for discrete enterprise cloud projects and initiatives. ActiveState’s partnership with CloudSigma illustrates a growing trend in the PaaS space marked by the availability of PaaS platforms within third party IaaS infrastructures. Earlier this year, for example, CloudBees announced the availability of its PaaS platform AnyCloud on Amazon Web Services and other IaaS hosting environments. Similarly, the integration of Nimbula’s Nimbula Director 2.0 IaaS platform with 3rd party PaaS platforms offers the performance, scalability and management tools of a public IaaS cloud to private PaaS cloud deployments.