Piston Cloud Releases Piston OpenStack 3.0 As Commercial OpenStack Battle Heats Up

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.