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:

Piston Enterprise OpenStack Version 2.0

•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.

Piston Cloud Computing Secures $8 Million In Series B Funding

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 Appoints Jim Morrisroe, Open Source and Enterprise Software Veteran, As CEO

jim-morrisroePiston 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.

Piston Cloud Announces Airframe, Free OpenStack Download With Streamlined Upgrade To Production

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.

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.

Radio Free Asia Deploys OpenStack-based Cloud Offering From Piston Cloud

Piston Cloud Computing, one of the first companies to offer an enterprise-grade deployment of OpenStack, revealed that Radio Free Asia (RFA) will deploy Piston’s pentOS™ cloud platform to create private clouds that support RFA’s practice of broadcasting “news and information in nine native Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media.” RFA broadcasts news in Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Burmese, Vietnamese, Lao, Khmer, and Korean to China, Tibet, Uyghur, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and North Korea. Because of its mission to provide news to countries that do not enjoy freedom of the press, RFA has historically encountered a myriad of political challenges specific to the practice of operating data centers in remote locations under government scrutiny.

Piston’s OpenStack-based pentOS™ solution provided Radio Free Asia with a scalable cloud solution to their data storage and dissemination needs while at the same time giving the vendor the comfort of knowing they were not locked in to a proprietary solution. Libby Liu, President of Radio Free Asia, commented on RFA’s selection of Piston Cloud’s solution by highlighting the synergies between the organization’s mission of promoting freedom and Piston’s freedom from vendor lock-in:

“Piston Cloud and OpenStack have filled a huge gap and truly revolutionized the way we manage remote sites and data centers, providing a new level of connectivity that allows us to share and analyze data quickly and easily on a global scale, regardless of hardware vendor or location. Radio Free Asia faces tough challenges in technology implementation and ongoing maintenance. We needed a flexible, scalable solution to support information sharing on a global scale, and support our own commitment to freedom – freedom of information, as well as technology freedom from vendor lock-in and we found that in Piston Cloud.”

Here, Liu points out Piston’s freedom from a commitment to a specific hardware vendor as well as the way in which pentOS™ promises to revolutionize data delivery given the reality of Radio Free Asia’s operation in multiple political geographies. Piston CEO Joshua McKenty echoed the theme of freedom specific to RFA’s choice of pentOS™ by reiterating OpenStack’s freedom from hardware lock-in and Piston’s commitment to technological freedom that, in this case, promotes freedom of the press:

“We add the installation ease of use, speed and security on top of OpenStack, and the freedom to choose hardware, helping RFA to implement technology on a global scale, without restriction. While Radio Free Asia breaks down the political barriers that block the freedom of information, OpenStack will help to break down the technological barriers.”

McKenty’s remarks illustrate the enduring attractiveness of cloud-based solutions that give customers choices when it comes to hardware selection and the possibility of transferring their deployment to another vendor down the road. Meanwhile, the agreement with Radio Free Asia constitutes yet another commercial OpenStack deployment that the cloud computing community will watch closely as the battle amongst enterprise-grade, inter-operable cloud solutions unfolds.

Piston Cloud Computing Partners With Opscode, Puppet Labs and Rightscale

Piston Cloud Computing, the first vendor to deliver an enterprise grade, commercial deployment of OpenStack, announced partnerships with Opscode, Puppet Labs and RightScale on Thursday. The partnerships empower Piston Cloud customers to streamline and automate management of their private clouds. The partnerships enhance Piston Cloud’s enterprise offering of pentOS™, the cloud operating system based on OpenStack, as follows:

Opscode Chef enables the automation of cloud infrastructure management tasks for virtual machines. Chef is the leading automation product for cloud management.

Puppet Labs facilitates the management of virtual machines marked by the orchestration of complex tasks across heterogeneous IT infrastructures.

RightScale enables the automation of cloud management with enterprise offerings in the areas of “user access, server security, resource usage and budgeting.”

Speaking of the partnerships with Opscode, Puppet Labs and RightScale, Joshua McKenty, CEO and co-founder of Piston Cloud Computing, noted: “Automation and orchestration are key to realizing the operational efficiencies of private cloud. By supporting solutions like Opscode Chef, Puppet Enterprise and RightScale myCloud, Piston Cloud’s customers have the ability to rapidly deploy and automate their applications within an OpenStack-powered environment.” Piston Cloud’s announcement of its partnerships with cloud management vendors comes roughly two weeks after its declaration of the general availability of Piston Enterprise OS™ on January 18. Piston Enterprise OS promises to disrupt the enterprise cloud computing landscape by providing the industry’s first OpenStack-based operating system dedicated to cloud security and streamlined management of the private cloud.