Piston Cloud To Develop Interface Betwen OpenStack And Cloud Foundry As IaaS Converges With PaaS

Piston Cloud Computing announced a new engineering initiative to develop an interface between OpenStack and VMware’s Cloud Foundry. Piston proposes to develop the interface and incorporate it into a subsequent release of its flagship product pentOS™. The interface will be recommended to OpenStack as a project for incubation after submission to the OpenStack satellite community. The integration of OpenStack and Piston Enterprise OS will leverage the recently announced Cloud Foundry Bosh management tool, which streamlines the process of deploying Cloud Foundry across heterogeneous cloud ecosystems. “An open source tool chain for release engineering, deployment and lifecycle management of large scale distributed services,’” Cloud Foundry BOSH is is intended to negotiate differences between IaaS systems in order to enable Cloud Foundry PaaS to run smoothly on any IaaS cloud infrastructure.

Piston’s initiative to integrate OpenStack with Cloud Foundry illustrates the currency of open source cloud computing and the increasing convergence of IaaS and PaaS platforms. Cloud Foundry, for example, already supports integrations with VMware’s vSphere and Amazon Web Services. Going forward, IaaS customers are likely to demand integrated PaaS offerings as a complement to their base IaaS platform in cases where they would prefer to spin-off a deployment in a ready-made technical environment tailored to a specific development language or set of specifications.


IaaS Startup SingleHop Closes $27.5 Million In Funding From Battery Ventures

Just when it seemed that Amazon Web Services had swallowed all hope for startup IaaS companies, IaaS vendor SingleHop, Inc. announced the finalization of a $27.5 million round of funding led by Battery Ventures with participation from the American Chartered Bank. Founded in 2006, SingleHop specializes in IaaS cloud computing undergirded by automated cloud management software. The company was ranked the #25 fastest growing business in the U.S. in 2011 by Inc. magazine, a significant increase from its #58 spot of the previous year. The $27.5 funding raise represents SingleHop’s first institutional capital raise and promises to position it for explosive growth that builds upon record earnings of $22 million in 2011, a 75% increase in comparison to revenues from 2010.

Dave Tabors, General Partner at Battery Ventures remarked on SingleHop’s positioning in the IaaS space by noting:

“SingleHop is well positioned given the rise in cloud computing and demand for outsourced IT services. With its automated technology platform, the company has carved out a unique position in the market. Customers are happy and sticking around, and that’s a direct result of the company’s business model, coupled with superior technology and a smart leadership team. We’re really looking forward to helping this company scale.”

SingleHop CEO Zak Boca elaborated on Tabors’s remarks on the company’s “automated technology platform” by underscoring how SingleHop was unique in the IaaS space “because all of our services are provided through our proprietary and fully automated platform.” Called LEAP, SingleHop’s technology platform automates the process of deploying and remotely managing servers from a range of computing devices.

Notable data points about SingleHop include the following:

• Clients in 114 countries
• Three data centers—two in Chicago, and one forthcoming in Phoenix
• 100,000+ servers
$22 million in revenue in 2011
• $9.7 million EBITDA in 2011

Chicago-based SingleHop has managed to sustain significant growth during a time period marked by the arrival of bevies of IaaS vendors onto the cloud computing scene. Analysts and enterprise buyers would do well to watch this vendor unfurl its product differentiation as the IaaS market matures, particularly now that it is backed by a venture capital firm that participated in the success of the likes of Akamai, Bladelogic, Groupon, Guidewire Software and Opscode.

Linux Foundation Announces CloudOpen, Technical Conference On Open Source Cloud Computing And Big Data

The Linux Foundation recently announced CloudOpen, a technical conference dedicated to open source cloud computing and big data. The conference is intended to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas about the use of open source cloud and big data technologies. The inaugural CloudOpen technical conference will take place from August 29 to August 31, 2012 in San Diego, California. The conference expects to showcase content of a technical nature related to products such as, but not limited to “Chef, Gluster, Hadoop, KVM, Linux, oVirt, Puppet, and Xen.” The Linux Foundation is currently soliciting Calls For Proposals (CFPs) by June 1. Sponsors of CloudOpen include Dell, Citrix, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, NEC, Puppet Labs and SUSE.

CloudOpen is unique amongst cloud computing conferences because of its explicit focus on open-source technologies. The conference enables collaboration and conversation amongst open-source cloud professionals at a historical juncture where CIOs, development managers and software developers are increasingly used to navigating hybrid IT infrastructures featuring a combination of proprietary and open source solutions. Because many open source cloud and big data technologies are new or have only been recently deployed in combination with other solutions, technical resources are likely to benefit tremendously from the conference’s design of facilitating lateral conversations about topics such as best practices, regulatory requirements, deployment challenges, integration with 3rd party software, automation, inter-operability, APIs and ongoing operational challenges.

The Linux Foundation announced CloudOpen in the wake of weeks of recent conversation about open source cloud computing products Eucalytptus, OpenStack and CloudStack. First, Eucalyptus reached a deal with Amazon Web Services such that AWS officially endorsed its API for promoting inter-operability between the Eucalyptus private cloud and the Amazon Web Services platform. The deal means that Eucalyptus 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).

Then, Citrix open-sourced CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation despite having made a prior commitment to using OpenStack for CloudStack’s IaaS technological platform. Meanwhile, OpenStack has continued to make waves given the launch of its Foundation, Rackspace’s Beta launch of a commercialized OpenStack platform as well as an endorsement from Puppet Labs. Expect the open source cloud and big data juggernaut to gather steam this spring and summer. Red Hat, for example, will open-source the code for its Platform as a Service, OpenShift, at the Open Cloud Conference from April 30 through May 3.

Citrix Continues To Invest In OpenStack, For XenServer

A Citrix blog post by senior software engineer John Garbutt points out that Citrix has far from walked away from OpenStack. According to Garbutt’s post, Citrix still has two dedicated resources working on OpenStack and is looking for a third. Predictably, Citrix’s main OpenStack focus consists of optimizing its XenServer virtualization platform for OpenStack deployments. At present, Citrix can claim two flagship deployments of OpenStack with XenServer in the form of Internap and Rackspace. Internap deployed a production-grade, OpenStack cloud using XenServer and Rackspace recently launched a Beta version of its OpenStack-based cloud using XenServer instead of the KVM hypervisor traditionally used for OpenStack deployments.

Despite the backing of illustrious customers like Internap and Rackspace, Citrix is continuing to tweak the use of XenServer with OpenStack by announcing additional functionality for OpenStack’s Folsome release such as live migration and boot from volume. In addition, Citrix plans to improve the supporting documentation for OpenStack and XenServer as well as create a compatibility test suite for the Amazon EC2 platform. Cross pool live migration constitutes the main feature that Citrix promises to release in its bid to improve XenServer’s cloud optimization although the company is making no promises of its completion by the OpenStack Folsome release.

The bottom line here is that Citrix still has its fingers in the OpenStack pie and is likely to continue doing so given the relative immaturity of the market for OpenStack clouds. That said, the post indirectly confirms that Citrix has given up any idea of building a cloud infrastructure based on OpenStack in parallel with CloudStack, which it recently incubated with the Apache Software Foundation. When the web buzzed with overly-simplified news of Sony’s “defection” to OpenStack from Amazon Web Services, for example, the tech blogosphere needed an extra couple of days to fully comprehend that Sony was continuing to use Amazon Web Services in parallel with OpenStack. In the case of Citrix, however, the abandonment of OpenStack is complete save for its use as a distribution channel for the XenServer virtualization platform, even though OpenStack may well end up cannibalizing Citrix-commercialized deployments of CloudStack at some point in the future.

Amazon Web Services Launches Online Marketplace For Cloud Software

Just when OpenStack appeared to be grabbing the tech blogosphere’s attention with vendor endorsements revealed in conjunction with its Design Summit in San Francisco, Amazon Web Services reminded the cloud computing world of its market share dominance and technological leadership by releasing yet another component to its cloud computing platform. On Thursday, Amazon Web Services announced an online marketplace that allows customers to speedily deploy software from a range of other cloud vendors. Vendors in the AWS Marketplace include 10gen, CA, Canonical, Couchbase, Check Point Software, IBM, Microsoft, SAP AG, and Zend, as well as Drupal, MediaWiki, and WordPress. The AWS Marketplace simplifies access to cloud-based software for customers and thereby promises to offer vendors increased customer awareness of their products. Moreover, customers can benefit from the marketplace’s 1-click technology that simplifies deployment and allows users to try out software for customized trial periods without being confined to 30 or 60 day trial periods that expire and subsequently require expensive subscriptions. Prices vary based on the software vendor although, in the case of open-source software such as WordPress, customers pay only for the additional amount of storage and computing power required of the application.

Key features of the Amazon Web Services marketplace include:

• A centralized collection of software that can be deployed on the Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
• Billing managed by Amazon Web Services for participating software vendors.
• Simplified billing for customers who will now receive one invoice for both hardware and software usage.

The marketplace aptly illustrates Amazon Web Services’s intention to morph into a one stop shopping ground for cloud computing. The AWS Marketplace promises to vault the Seattle-based cloud startup turned behemoth into the de facto initial point of contact for customers seeking to deploy or develop cloud-based software because of its streamlined access to an ecosystem of software products. One critical metric of the marketplace’s success will be how many other cloud and big data vendors make their software available within the AWS Marketplace. PaaS vendors, in particular, may elect to offer their products within the AWS marketplace in an effort to solicit the attention of customers with a combination of IaaS and PaaS cloud computing needs. If this week’s Splunk IPO was any indication, Big data may also become a notable category of vendors for the AWS Marketplace as Big Data appears to have finally arrived in the eyes of investors and tech journalists at large.

ActiveState Produces Video On Migration To Cloud And Private PaaS Stackato

ActiveState recently released a short video highlighting some of the challenges organizations encounter while migrating applications to the cloud, with a corresponding emphasis on the “efficiency, control and security” of private PaaS Stackato. The clip is highly recommended for its astute use of animation to elaborate some of the stakes of deploying a cloud.

Puppet Labs Releases Configuration Modules For Enterprise OpenStack Installations

IT automation leader Puppet Labs today announced the release of configuration modules for OpenStack built specifically for enterprise-grade OpenStack implementations. Through partnerships with Cisco, Red Hat, Morphlabs and eNovance, Puppet Labs developed modules that streamline IT automation for enterprise OpenStack deployments. The configuration modules are designed to facilitate OpenStack management for enterprise CIOs and IT personnel by providing tools that typically result in a “10x boost in productivity, a 75 percent reduction in applications’ time-to-production, and a significant reduction in service outages,” according to the press release. The modules promise to simplify enterprise-level OpenStack installations by automating the deployment and ongoing management of complex, heterogeneous cloud IT infrastructures.

The decision by Puppet Labs to develop configuration modules for OpenStack signals its confidence in the appeal of the open-source cloud operating system for the enterprise. Moreover, Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies told Cloud Computing Today that the configuration modules are likely to drive OpenStack development in certain ways as opposed to others, leading to greater standardization in OpenStack deployments across the industry. Given the leadership that Puppet Labs has demonstrated in the IT automation space, the modules should predispose IT executives to experiment with OpenStack and decide whether to build an OpenStack deployment with the aid of automation from Puppet Labs and its partners, or buy an off the shelf commercialized OpenStack variant from the likes of Rackspace, HP, Dell, Nebula and Piston Cloud. Right now, however, the OpenStack market is too young to determine whether enterprises will tend to opt for deployments done by their own staff or by a commercial vendor that provides soup to nuts installation, training, maintenance and support.