OpenStack-Based HP Cloud Compute Ready For Prime Time As It Advances To GA

This week, HP made a number of significant announcements related to its HP Cloud Services platform. The company revealed an aggressive pricing strategy for its OpenStack-based, Infrastructure as a Service, public cloud platform known as HP Cloud Compute including a 50% promotion that lasts until January 1, 2013. The aggressive positioning of HP Cloud Compute underscores the technological viability of OpenStack as a key player in the commercial, public cloud IaaS space given that, separate from Rackspace and Red Hat, yet another technology giant has elected to build a public cloud infrastructure on the OpenStack platform.

HP Cloud Compute has now transitioned from Beta to general availability. Pricing starts at $0.04 cents/hour for the “extra small” Linux-based HP instance marked by 1 HP Cloud Compute Unit featuring 1 virtual core w/1 HP Cloud Compute Unit, 1 GB RAM and 30 GB disk space. In comparison, the smallest Amazon Web Services Linux instance features a comparable 1.7 GB memory and a significantly larger storage allocation of 160GB at the rate of $.065/hour. HP Cloud Compute’s price of $.04/hour to $.065/hour for Amazon Web Services amounts to a significant cost savings, particularly if instance disk space beyond 30 GB is not required.

When comparing the two medium-sized offerings, however, Amazon Web Services comes out on top not only in price but with respect to specifications as well. The medium HP Cloud Compute instance features 4 HP Cloud Compute Units containing a total of 2 virtual cores with 2 HP Cloud Compute Units each, 4 GB RAM and 120 GB of disk space. The medium-sized Amazon Web Services Linux instance, in comparison, contains an analogous 4 EC2 compute units via 2 virtual cores containing 2 EC2 compute units each, 7.5 GB memory and 850 GB of instance disk space. Pricing compares at $.16/hour for HP Cloud Compute versus $.13/hour for Amazon Web Services, with the AWS medium-sized offering surpassing HP on memory and storage metrics as well.

Separate from HP Cloud Compute, HP announced the Beta launch of HP Cloud Block Storage. In addition, HP revealed details of its HP Cloud Application PaaS, which provides developers with access to pre-configured technology stacks that support Ruby, PHP, Java, Node.js, Python, and other languages. The platform is based on Vancouver-based ActiveState’s Stackato technology that boasts one of the industry’s leading polyglot PaaS platforms. HP Cloud Application PaaS is currently accepting applications from interested organizations as part of a private Beta launch.

These announcements reveal how HP is making an aggressive push into the IaaS space by luring customers into trying their HP Cloud Compute platform with their 50% discount promotion. Regardless of the promotion, pricing remains highly competitive, and is backed by a 99.95% SLA. The SLA is guaranteed monthly, meaning HP is committing to 100% uptime with the exception of a maximum of 22 minutes of per month, as reported in The Register. Customers that are frustrated with Amazon Web Services’s repeated outages and famed lack of customer support may well consider trying HP Cloud Compute as an option, particularly given the added allure of its interoperability in an increasingly rich commercial OpenStack ecosystem.

Stackato 2.0 Features .NET Integration With Iron Foundry

As the PaaS market heats up, ActiveState continues to innovate with its “any language, any stack, any cloud” PaaS platform, Stackato. Vancouver-based ActiveState recently announced the release of Stackato 2.0, building upon its version 1.2 release in May. Highlights of Stackato 2.0 include the following:

• Streamlined ability to deploy .NET applications to Stackato as a result of integration with the Iron Foundry platform. Developers can now use Stackato’s automatic configuration tool to link Stackato to Iron Foundry, the implementation of VMware’s Cloud Foundry that supports .NET.

• “Containerization technology” that creates more secure applications and improves application performance by allowing applications to operate with less resources, in a production environment featuring multiple containers for each virtual machine.

• An upgraded web-based management interface that provides increased visibility into the deployment of PaaS applications in Stackato.

• Announcements that Aeroflex is using Stackato to configure its cloud application stacks and that ExactTarget leverages Stackato for “mission-critical production cloud applications.”

ActiveState’s CEO Bart Copeland summarized the new release by noting:

“Today’s enterprise must be more agile, better engineered to innovate, and able to govern its cloud without impeding progress. Stackato 2.0 redefines private PaaS for the enterprise, enabling more agile development, greater DevOps transparency, more efficient cloud management, and faster time to market.”

Stackato now supports Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Node.JS, Clojure, Scala, Erlang, and .NET and is emerging as a key player in the rapidly exploding PaaS space as evidenced by its aggressive roll-out cycle and clear commitments to multiple languages as well as performance.

ActiveState Launches Stackato 1.2 PaaS With Enhanced Resource Sharing And User Access Control

On Tuesday, ActiveState launched yet another mini-release of its PaaS Stackato platform in the form of Stackato 1.2. Stackato 1.2 gives customers greater control and flexibility over their deployments. For example, Stackato 1.2 provides customers the ability to leverage “file-system-dependent applications like Drupal CMS to share storage between multiple instances.” Moreover, Stackato 1.2 features enhanced app store functionality such as one click deployment of selected applications from the management console. Jeff Hobbs, ActiveState’s VP of Engineering and CTO remarked that “Stackato 1.2 is all about control”:

It’s the only Cloud Foundry-based PaaS solution to offer group and user-specific controls, a powerful tool for enterprises looking to maintain transparent oversight of cloud application development and deployment processes. With Stackato 1.2, IT administrators can set memory, service and application quotas for individual users, or even groups.

Yesterday’s release highlights an aggressive development roadmap in 2012 for Stackato marked by support for OpenStack, Linux KVM and Citrix XenServer and the general availability of a Stackato PaaS platform that can deploy applications on “any language, any stack” and “any cloud.” Enterprises that are wary of public clouds can take advantage of Stackato’s ease of deployment to create a private cloud with performance monitoring technology from New Relic and, as a result of the 1.2 release, the capability to more finely monitor access controls amongst their constituent users at either an individual or group level. The release of Stackato 1.2 marks an exciting moment for PaaS given that the space is suddenly beginning to come of age as revealed by the open-sourcing of Red Hat’s OpenShift code on Monday.

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.

PaaS AppFog Announces Compatibility With Citrix’s CloudStack

Just days after Citrix’s stunning decision to open-source its IaaS product CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation, and turn away from OpenStack as the core technology for its platform, PaaS vendor AppFog declared compatibility with CloudStack. According to AppFog’s press release, “AppFog completed a rigorous verification process to ensure compatibility with Citrix CloudStack™, providing confidence in joint solution compatibility.” The announcement enables CloudStack customers to additionally deploy PaaS AppFog on top of CloudStack’s IaaS platform and thereby increase the diversity of cloud deployments in relation to varying business needs. AppFog’s declaration of compatibility with CloudStack illustrates an increasing trend in the PaaS space marked by the utilization of IaaS platforms for PaaS offerings. The availability of Red Hat’s OpenShift on Amazon Web Services constitutes another case of the co-implication of PaaS and IaaS as does ActiveState’s recent deal to resell its “any language, any cloud, any stack” Stackato product on CloudSigma’s IaaS platform.

ActiveState Partners With CloudSigma To Resell Stackato PaaS Platform In IaaS Environment

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.