Three Quick Thoughts On The Puppet Labs Partnership With VMware

This week, Puppet Labs announced VMware’s investment of $30 million. This is a huge investment by VMware, and one that bears significant implications for cloud automation and IT automation more generally. Puppet’s total capital raise now stands at $46 million. The company boasts more than 700 paying customers and 3.5 million product downloads in the last year.

Some quick thoughts about the investment’s significance and implications:

•VMware’s investment in Puppet Labs represents much more than an infusion of cash. The investment points toward a “strategic partnership for delivering IT management solutions that will enable customers to fully realize the agility and productivity benefits of virtualization and cloud in heterogeneous, multi-vendor IT environments.” Given VMware’s positioning with respect to the enterprise as a result of its server virtualization technology, the investment stands to offer Puppet a clear road deep into the enterprise IT market in ways that could well propel it into the undisputed market leader in IT automation. The partnership represents a huge coup for Puppet because it maintains the independence of its product roadmap while concurrently earning the opportunity to let its technology complement the most powerful, respected and profitable company in the virtualization space.

•VMware’s investment reveals that DevOps holds one of the keys to cloud adoption and success. By DevOps we mean the ability of development resources to optimize the operational issues specific to deploying and managing enterprise software. Puppet Labs stands at the heart of the DevOps revolution by virtue of its products that streamline IT automation by simplifying software deployments and hardware provisioning. Because the confluence of development and operations is increasingly critical to cloud deployments of any stripe or flavor, Puppet’s partnership with VMware will add fuel to the DevOps movement and its associated array of IT automation vendors such as Chef and RightScale.

•Software Defined Networking (SDN) represents another other clear winner indicated by VMware’s investment in Puppet. As Puppet CEO Luke Kanies reminds us in his recent blog post, VMware bought Nicira to streamline the management of virtualized data centers. Puppet’s technology is likely to interface with technology from the Nicira acquisition as part of its strategic partnership with VMware and subsequently accelerate the deployment of software defined networking solutions throughout the enterprise.

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Dell’s Project Fast PaaS Illustrates Currency Of Cloud Foundry

Dell is incubating a new platform as a service offering built upon the Cloud Foundry PaaS infrastructure. The product, Project Fast PaaS, claims enhancements to the Cloud Foundry PaaS project. Project Fast PaaS boasts compatibility with Ruby, Node.js, Java, PHP and Python in addition to support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Redis databases as well as the RabbitMQ messaging system. An open-source solution, the product additionally features compatibility with application development frameworks such as Django, Grails, JavaWeb, Lift, Node, Play, Rack, Rails, Sinatra and Spring. Participants must already subscribe to Dell’s IaaS enterprise public cloud, Dell vCloud, in order to preview Dell’s Project Fast PaaS offering.

Dell’s investment in Project Fast PaaS illustrates the emerging currency of the VMware-EMC Cloud Foundry PaaS platform as the de facto standard infrastructure for Platform as a Service offerings. ActiveState’s Stackato, for example, which is similarly based upon the Cloud Foundry platform has recently been licensed by HP for HP’s Cloud Application PaaS offering. The other trend represented by Dell’s PaaS offering consists of the willingness of heavyweight tech behemoths such as Dell and HP to supplement their IaaS public cloud offering with a PaaS solution of some kind. IaaS customers are likely to want a PaaS offering as well, and correspondingly, PaaS may well end us serving as an originator for IaaS customers. The industry should expect to see more IaaS-PaaS combination offerings as public cloud vendors, in particular, strive to accommodate demands for preconfigured development frameworks from their customers alongside their IaaS platforms.

VMware, Intel and NEC Become Gold Members Of OpenStack Foundation

On Friday, VMware, Intel and NEC were approved by the OpenStack Board of Directors as gold members of the OpenStack Foundation. Gold members of the Foundation provide the foundation with .025% of their company revenue, with a minimum contribution of $50,000 and a maximum contribution of $200,000. Based on their applications, VMware, Intel and NEC will contribute $66,666.67, $200,000 and $200,000 respectively to the OpenStack Foundation.

OpenStack’s governance structure permits of two levels of participation in the form of Gold and Platinum members. Platinum members contribute $500,000 annually and additionally commit to providing operational resources as well. Companies from both tiers are expected to contribute code to and support OpenStack’s development in an “open development process that is driven by technical meritocracy.”

The updated list of Gold and Platinum members now features a total of 22 organizations as follows:

Platinum Members: AT&T, Canonical, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE
Gold members: Cloudscaling, ClearPath Networks, Cisco, Cloud Computing Association In Taiwan, Dell, DreamHost, Intel, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, NEC, Piston Cloud Computing, VMware, Yahoo

In a letter announcing the acceptance of VMware, Intel and NEC to the OpenStack board, Board Chairman Jonathon Bryce commented on factors considered by the board in approving their applications as follows:

Today, the OpenStack Board of Directors approved the applications of three companies wishing to become Gold Members: Intel, NEC and VMware.

The factors considered by the Board included a commitment to helping achieve the OpenStack Foundation Mission through demonstrated and potential contribution to the OpenStack community in terms of code, adoption into product roadmaps, adoption as an end user, geographic and industry diversity and community development efforts.

New Gold Members will be represented by the eight elected Gold Member directors currently serving on the Board.

We would like to welcome them to the Foundation, and look forward to their continued contributions to our community.

VMware’s application for a Gold member spot in the OpenStack Foundation was put on hold from late August, leading many commentators in the cloud blogosphere to speculate that VMware’s acceptance into the Foundation was delayed because its vCloud suite poses a competitive threat to OpenStack as a proprietary cloud platform. The reality is that the more support OpenStack receives from private vendors, even proprietary cloud vendors such as VMware, the better given that their support lends more credibility to the OpenStack brand and embodies the potential for collaboration between proprietary cloud platforms and the emerging incarnations of the OpenStack product. Moreover, VMware recently acquired virtual networking leader and OpenStack contributor Nicira. VMware also supports the open source Cloud Foundry PaaS project, which is likely to feature alongside OpenStack in hybrid cloud environments marked by a combination of IaaS and PaaS environments.

VMware Acquires Virtual Networking Leader Nicira For $1.26 Billion

VMware announced plans to acquire Nicira Inc., the leader in software-based networking and open source network virtualization. VMware will acquire Nicira for $1.26 billion composed of a cash payout of $1.05 billion and $210 million in “assumed unvested equity awards”. Founded in 2007, Nicira changes the paradigm for enterprise networking by creating software that virtualizes networks. Customers can use Nicira’s software to create virtual data centers derived from software that aggregates abstracted hardware resources. Nicira’s virtual networking software uses automation to allocate the pooled, abstracted hardware resources to an ecosystem of computing, storage and networking components. Virtual networking provides IT managers with greater networking topology options and also reduces complexity and expense.

Nicira’s customers include DreamHost, eBay, NTT and Rackspace. The acquisition opens up market opportunities for VMware, which is owned by EMC, in the networking virtualization space alongside its core business virtualizing devices and servers. Investors in Nicira include Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Nicira’s virtual networking software is the brainchild of Martin Casado, the company’s co-founder and CTO, who worked on the concept of virtualized networking for his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

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.

Piston Cloud Computing Reveals General Availability Of OpenStack Based Private Cloud

Piston Cloud Computing disclosed the general availability of Piston Enterprise OS, an enterprise grade deployment of OpenStack for private clouds, on Wednesday. With the announcement, Piston Cloud Computing becomes the first vendor to offer a commercialized version of the OpenStack operating system dedicated to security and private cloud management. The product also features an implementation of CloudAudit that helps administrators understand performance and user activity within their respective cloud environments. Speaking of the importance of private clouds in today’s enterprise environment, CEO Joshua McKenty remarked: “As we continue to see security lag in the public cloud environment, it is clear that private cloud is really the only option for organizations dealing with large volumes of regulated data. To date, VMware was the only widely accepted option for private cloud, which brought with it associated cost, complexity and vendor lock-in. Piston Enterprise OS disrupts the market with the easiest, most secure and open approach to private cloud.” Here, McKenty claims the importance of private clouds for enterprises that have specific regulatory or compliance needs and evince particularly high concerns about security. McKenty notes Piston Enterprise OS promises to disrupt the enterprise cloud computing landscape by providing the industry’s “first OpenStack-based cloud operating system” dedicated to cloud security and streamlined management of the virtual cloud environment. The general availability of Piston Enterprise OS accelerates the commercialization of OpenStack, the largest open source collaboration on cloud computing in the world.

Uhuru Enables .NET Support For VMware’s Cloud Foundry

Developers seeking to deploy applications through VMware’s Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service environment now have an option through Uhuru Software Inc’s Uhuru .NET Services for Cloud Foundry. Uhuru .NET Services for Cloud Foundry empowers Windows .Net developers and IT managers to deploy .NET applications on Cloud Foundry by using tools with which they are already familiar such as Visual Studio and Microsoft Management Console (MMC). VMware’s Cloud Foundry currently supports “Spring for Java developers, Rails and Sinatra for Ruby developers, Node.js and other JVM languages/frameworks including Groovy, Grails and Scala.” Uhuru .NET Services for Cloud Foundry extends the list of languages supported by Cloud Foundry to .NET and developers seeking to leverage the ease of deployment and customizability of the Cloud Foundry platform. Uhuru, a Seattle-based startup founded by Jawad Khaki (CEO) and Jawaid Ekram (COO), offers Uhuru .NET Services for Cloud Foundry as an open source product under an Apache 2 license. Uhuru Software’s broader suite of tools enables developers to deploy .NET applications on the cloud offering of their choice without being limited to VMware’s Cloud Foundry. The word Uhuru means freedom in Swahili, and in this context refers to the freedom of developers to build the products they would like on the platform of their choosing.