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.

Top 3 Cloud Computing Market Trends for 2011

2011 has been an extraordinary year for cloud computing so far. Amazon Web Services (AWS) set the pace with an aggressive roll-out of products such as Elastic Beanstalk, CloudFormation, Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Cloud Drive. Just when AWS seemed poised to consolidate its first mover advantage with respect to cloud computing market share, the landscape exploded with a veritable feast of product offerings, business partnerships and acquisitions. Every month another Fortune 500 IT or telecommunications company throws its hat into the cloud computing ring: Dell’s vStart, Dell’s recent partnership with SAP, IBM’s SmartCloud, Apple’s iCloud and HP’s BladeSystem Matrix mark just some of the big names and brands that have entered the cloud computing dohyo, or sumo circle. The cast of new actors has rendered the cloud computing space painfully difficult for analysts to quantify for the purpose of understanding relative market share and growth within the industry. But within this bewildering sea of change, three industry trends have emerged that deserve attention:

1. Outages across the industry signal demand outweighs supply
Demand for cloud computing services has begun to outstrip supply to the point where vendor processes for guaranteeing system uptime have become increasingly challenged. The Amazon Web Services outage of 2011 was the most glaring example of a lack of effective, scalable processes for one of the world’s premier IaaS vendors, but 2011 has witnessed notable outages specific to Sony PlayStation, Twitter, Gmail and Google’s Blogger as well. Expect more outages and service disruptions until the industry fathoms the time to develop processes for delivering on 99.99% SLAs as opposed to merely promising them.

2. Early Consolidation vs. the Proliferation of New Entrants to the Market
The past five months have witnessed Verizon’s acquisition of Terremark, Time Warner Cable’s acquisition of NaviSite, CenturyLink’s acquisition of Savvis and rife speculation that Rackspace lies next on the totem pole of potential buyouts. In tandem with the finalization of these acquistions, a slew of other companies such as Appistry, CA Technologies, Engine Yard, Flexiant, GigaSpaces, RightScale and ThinkGrid have emerged on the landscape and promise to collectively cobble together a non-trivial slice of the market while potentially transforming into significant niche players themselves. Expect new entrants on the scene, particularly in the open source space that will increasingly complicate the IaaS market share dominance of AWS, Eucalyptus, Rackspace, GoGrid and Joyent. Consolidations will continue but the market is unlikely to congeal into a few dominant players for quite some time.

3. The Rise of Open Source Cloud Computing Solutions
Rackspace, Dell and Equinux’s launch of a demonstration environment of OpenStack promises to change the industry by enticing customers to consider toying with its open source platform for free while paying for consultative support services associated with cloud design and management. Meanwhile, Canonical’s decision to change the cloud computing provider for its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) offering from Eucalyptus to OpenStack testifies to the strength of OpenStack and conversely, underscores Eucalyptus’s challenge in defining its value proposition as an Amazon EC2 compatible open source IaaS platform. RedHat’s open source PaaS product called OpenShift marks another leading contender in the open source ring by virtue of its deployment flexibility across the Java, Python, PHP and Ruby environments. Expect that open source IaaS and PaaS offerings will become increasingly robust and scalable. If open source solutions can demonstrate reliable, high quality portability across platforms, the market for less portable, private sector IaaS and PaaS solutions is likely to shrink dramatically. The fortunes of OpenStack, OpenShift and the recently formed Open Virtualization Alliance merit a close watch, in particular.