NephoScale Announces Release of Cloud Foundry-based, CloudPaaS Platform As A Service

NephoScale became the latest IaaS vendor to use Cloud Foundry as the basis for a Platform as a Service offering by announcing the Beta release of CloudPaaS, today. CloudPaaS supports Ruby, Python, PHP and Java/Spring in addition to database services that include MySQL. CloudPaaS allows NephoScale customers to take advantage of preconfigured application stacks for development without the challenges of provisioning and configuring infrastructure prior to deploying a platform for application development. Like many IaaS-PaaS bundles, CloudPaaS intends to entice customers to take advantage of the company’s NephOS IaaS platform as customers become familiar with its platform and customer service.

James Watters, Head of Cloud Foundry Product, Marketing and Ecosystem at Pivotal, remarked on the significance of NephoScale’s selection of Cloud Foundry version 2 as the basis for CloudPaaS as follows:

Hosting providers are increasingly adopting Platform as a Service in response to developer demand. Cloud Foundry dramatically lowers the barrier for ecosystem participation in the PaaS market to meet the growing demand from developers. NephoScale’s decision to leverage Cloud Foundry supports our vision to deliver a platform that significantly reduces development cycles and accelerates time to market for developers and cloud operators alike. Enterprises seeking to leverage Cloud Foundry can now consider NephoScale for both public and private deployments.

Here, Watters elaborates on how Cloud Foundry “lowers the barrier for ecosystem participation in the PaaS market” in a way that renders it increasingly difficult for specialized PaaS vendors to compete against a commercialized PaaS offering based on Cloud Foundry. Bolstered by partnerships with IBM, Piston Cloud and VMware, Cloud Foundry’s rise in the PaaS space has been remarkable in recent months, particularly given news of its integration with OpenStack and the associated announcement that Piston’s Joshua McKenty would join its advisory board. The key question for the PaaS space now is whether private, proprietary PaaS vendors will be able to gain traction or whether Cloud Foundry-based PaaS platforms will become the de facto standard given the promise of their interoperability with other Cloud Foundry-based products and integration with OpenStack.

Pivotal And Piston Cloud Partnership Intends To Refine Integration Between OpenStack And Cloud Foundry

Last Thursday, Piston Cloud (Piston) and Pivotal announced a partnership whereby Piston will deliver the community OpenStack infrastructure for Cloud Foundry. The partnership enables Pivotal to continue refining the integration of Cloud Foundry with OpenStack that Piston achieved last year. Thursday’s announcement means that Cloud Foundry’s developer ecosystem will be tightly integrated with Piston’s OpenStack distribution in order to ensure the resulting IaaS-PaaS, OpenStack-Cloud Foundry infrastructure successfully negotiates challenges related to continuous integration, rapid release cycles and scalability considerations. Piston’s co-founder and CTO, Joshua McKenty, will serve on the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board and Piston will continue to function as a partner for rapid deployments of Cloud Foundry.

James Watters, the head of product, marketing, and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry, remarked on the work specific to the integration in an interview with The Register by noting, “there’s a fair amount of work to make sure an IaaS and a PaaS like Cloud Foundry that automates itself through APIs all flows together very well” and that “every hour of every day Cloud Foundry gets tested on Piston.” Meanwhile, Joshua McKenty identified some of the integration issues that the partnership proposes to examine as follows:

We actually did most of the work to make sure Cloud Foundry could run on OpenStack last year. It’s not a tremendously complicated API, but it is important that it’s consistent and reliable. One of the things we’ve really focused on with Piston OpenStack is making sure the services are highly available, so as you scale up the scope of the Cloud Foundry environment on top, the IaaS environment can handle it.

Here, McKenty singles out the consistency and reliability of the Cloud Foundry API and the scalability of the OpenStack infrastructure in relation to the Cloud Foundry platform as topics for investigation. In a guest blog post for Cloud Foundry, McKenty further noted that Piston’s aim is to “to keep up with and continue to support the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem” given that the fundamental goal of cloud computing is “really just about providing the computing resources to keep up with the fast-paced DevOps and Agile lifecycle.” In other words, Piston intends to “keep up with” Cloud Foundry not only from a scalability perspective, but also in the context of its rapidly evolving, agile-driven code base and enhancements.

Overall, the partnership represents a huge coup for Piston given that it was hand-picked from the cottage industry of OpenStack vendors and distributions. More importantly, however, the announcement underscores the weight of the market momentum in favor of open-source based cloud computing platforms. Moreover, Thursday’s partnership increases the commercial viability of Cloud Foundry insofar as it was motivated in part by customer requests and interest. The industry should expect McKenty to bring his expertise in OpenStack governance to Cloud Foundry’s emerging governance structure and help drive a rapid expansion in Pivotal’s partnering companies and organizations with respect to Cloud Foundry. As the integration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry matures courtesy of the Pivotal-Piston partnership, we may even see the evolution of a formal collaboration beween OpenStack’s governance structure and Cloud Foundry’s emerging model of governance and open source software leadership.

CenturyLink’s AppFog Acquisition And The Increasing Coupling of IaaS and PaaS

CenturyLink’s recent acquisition of AppFog, a public PaaS vendor, speaks volumes about the contemporary state of the IaaS and PaaS space today. The acquisition is intended to enhance the portfolio of Savvis, the IaaS, colocation and managed hosting vendor that CenturyLink acquired in 2011. AppFog’s public cloud PaaS offering will be offered as part of the savvisdirect online channel. In addition, its platform will be used to deliver dedicated PaaS deployments for enterprise customers. AppFog CEO Lucas Carlson will join the CenturyLink team as Vice President, Cloud Evangelist at Savvis. The acquisition enables CenturyLink to differentiate itself from competitors such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless by offering an enterprise-grade public cloud Platform as a Service to complement its existing Infrastructure as a Service offering.

Key features of the AppFog platform include the following:

•AppFog’s PaaS platform boasts polyglot compatibility with Java, Python, Node, .Net, Ruby, PHP, MySQL, Mongo, Django, PostgreSQL and more
•AppFog’s platform enables customers to deploy application instances and infrastructures on public cloud platforms such as OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, HP Cloud Services and Rackspace
•AppFog manages data integrity and cleanliness issues specific to the migration of virtual machines from one cloud infrastructure to another. In an interview, CEO Lucas Carlson noted that the platform features the ability to transform a VMware virtual machine into a KVM instance preferred by OpenStack or an Amazon Web Services Machine Image.
•AppFog automates the scaling of applications by allowing developers to use a “sliding scale” that automatically resets the corresponding number of virtual servers and load balancers.

The larger significance of CenturyLink’s acquisition of AppFog, however, is the way in which it illustrates the increasing convergence of IaaS and PaaS offerings, and specifically, how IaaS vendors are actively seeking to diversify their portfolio by buying PaaS platforms in the event that—unlike Red Hat, for example—they lack the resources to build them. Public PaaS constitutes a notable feather in the cap of a large IaaS vendor whose customers desire the flexibility of deploying applications from a pre-fabricated technology stack as opposed to building one from scratch, particularly for the purpose of pilot projects. Separate from the dedicated PaaS revenue stream, IaaS vendors can expect spillage from customers that began as consumers of its PaaS platform, and subsequently decide to utilize its IaaS offering after becoming comfortable with the company’s customer support and activation infrastructure. Expect the industry’s largest IaaS vendors to continue to gobble up promising PaaS upstarts, as long as the PaaS in question can claim polyglot compatibility to some appreciable degree.

Joyent Expands Instance Offerings To Match Amazon Web Services And Offers Reserved Pricing

Price wars in the IaaS space continue to heat up as Joyent joins the list of IaaS vendors that commit to matching Amazon Web Services in both price and functionality. Joyent recently announced that it was offering reserved pricing whereby customers can pay an upfront fee to reserve an instance for a period of one or three years and subsequently enjoy significant savings for having elected to “reserve” the commodity hardware for an extended period of time. Joyent’s reserved pricing option competes directly with the reserved pricing feature from Amazon Web Services, which allows customers to save up to 65% in fees in comparison to hourly, on demand charges. Joyent’s decision to offer reserved pricing comes soon after Microsoft’s recent announcement to match Amazon Web Services in terms of price.

In addition to revealing its reserved pricing option, Joyent revealed an expansion of its product line whereby its IaaS platform now offers a total of 58 instances, 13 of which mimic the most popular instances offered by Amazon Web Services. The 58 instances fall into the following five categories: Standard, High Memory, High CPU, High Storage, and High I/O. Joyent CEO Henrik Wasik remarked on the significance of the company’s recent expansion in product offerings by noting:

Our goal is to make our value fully visible to the market while continuing to make the Joyent public cloud easier to use. In dramatically expanding our compute products to meet and anticipate the breadth of customers’ needs, we’re reaffirming our commitment to make the Joyent public cloud truly accessible and affordable to any business.

Joyent’s goal is to underscore the value, accessibility and affordability of its public cloud platform. Importantly, it strives to accomplish this goal by mimicking the functionality and pricing of Amazon Web Services, the undisputed IaaS leader. Given the gargantuan challenge of competing with Amazon Web Services with respect to innovation, recent announcements by Joyent and Microsoft illustrate that matching AWS in terms of price and select functionality represents the strategy of choice for vendors seeking to expand their footprint in the IaaS space. Google Compute Engine (GCE) marks the likeliest candidate to deviate from the path of AWS mimicry, but the jury is still out on GCE’s ability to surpass AWS in innovation because of its recent release in general availability.

VMware Launches vCloud Hybrid Service IaaS Platform By Leaning On Industry Familiarity With VMware Virtualization Tools

This week, VMware revealed details of its Infrastructure as a Service platform, vCloud Hybrid Service. Based on the premise that enterprise customers are interested in a cloud offering marked by an extension of the technology within their datacenters, VMware announced a cloud solution built around the VMware virtualization technologies with which the enterprise is deeply familiar. VMware’s offering is branded as a hybrid cloud because it enables customers to transport workloads back and forth between their public cloud platform and private customer data centers in ways that allow enterprises to leverage private and public cloud solutions in tandem as dictated by their business needs.

Key features of the VMware IaaS vCloud Hybrid Service include the following:

•IaaS platforms delivered through VMware service providers that provides vCloud Datacenter Services to enable customers to provision virtual environments with ease. vCloud Datacenter Services feature SLAs guaranteeing uptime of 99.5%, role based access control and the ability to configure stacks for compliance with SAS 70 Type II or ISO27001 standards.
•A choice of dedicated or virtual private cloud solutions. A dedicated solution offers customers “physically isolated infrastructure” in contrast to the “logically isolated infrastructure” specific to a virtual private cloud solution.
•An IaaS infrastructure delivered by certified VMware service providers such as AT&T Inc., Bluelock, Colt, CSC, Dell Services, Optus, SingTel, Softbank, T-Systems
vCloud Connector 2.0 enables customers to transfer workloads between private datacenters and VMware public clouds. Customers can effect the transfer of workloads betweeen infrastructures by using one network configuration instead of reconfiguring network settings in the destination infrastructure. Additionally, customers can manage the transfer of data between different infrastructures with “One Catalog” that synchronizes the list of available content across all relevant infrastructures, thereby avoiding the scenario whereby customers are forced to manage multiple content catalogs concurrently.

Because VMware’s IaaS vCloud Hybrid Service is delivered through a cluster of service partners, the offering is fundamentally different from the IaaS product offerings of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. VMware plans to make its vCloud Hybrid Service technology and IP available to all service partners, and promises to build one of the most extensive IaaS partnerships for public cloud computing available in the world today. The product effectively gives new meaning to the term cloud interoperability given that customers can transfer workloads not only between private enterprise datacenters and public clouds enabled by VMware’s service partners, but also between VMware’s public cloud, partner datacenters as well. vCloud Hybrid Service will be available through an early access program in June and anticipates becoming generally available in Q3 of this year.

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.