On Tuesday, network virtualization vendor Akanda announced Akanda 1.0, an open source network orchestration platform designed for OpenStack-based cloud environments. Akanda 1.0 simplifies and streamlines the delivery of network-related functionality for OpenStack clouds by operating as a management layer for OpenStack-based networking operations. Akanda virtualizes L3+ network functions such as routing and load balancing while integrating with OpenStack Neutron and other L2 overlay solutions. Whereas several network virtualization solutions exist for the L2 infrastructure, Akanda fills a gap within the industry for L3+ network virtualization that focus on routing protocols while remaining agnostic to L2 overlay solutions. The company’s Akanda Rug product delivers orchestration services for networking services that automate the operation of networks within OpenStack environments. In an effort to improve virtual routing within its cloud infrastructures, web hosting leader DreamHost has decided to replace its proprietary networking solution with Akanda. Importantly, Akanda delivers the network virtualization technology for DreamHost’s DreamCompute OpenStack-based public cloud and correspondingly aspires to simplify the management of virtualization of L3 networking protocols related to routing, load balancing and firewalls for other cloud service providers and enterprises. That DreamHost chose to leverage Akanda for an OpenStack-based public cloud, in contrast to the private cloud deployments for which OpenStack is typically used, speaks volumes about its confidence in Akanda’s ability to manage and orchestrate network virtualization for infrastructures that match the scale and complexity of a large-scale public cloud deployment.
On Tuesday, Virtustream announced the release of xStream 3.0, the cloud management platform that allows cloud service providers to create public clouds and enterprises to create private clouds. Based on Virtustream’s proprietary µVM™ technology, the xStream platform empowers customers to create secure, IaaS environments for mission-critical applications that can tolerate little or no system downtime. Virtustream’s xStream technology is engineered to minimize costs associated with migrating applications to the cloud and streamline the day to day management of the subsequent cloud deployment. Available as both software and an appliance, the xStream platform has evolved in its latest release to target government, cloud service provider and enterprise customers with stringent demands for availability and compliance. xStream 3.0 features enhanced enterprise risk management (ERM) functionality that allows customers to implement ERM solutions not only for an organization’s IT infrastructure, but also for the organization as a whole. In addition, xStream 3.0 delivers support for OpenStack, enhanced data protection functionality, application performance management monitoring tools and predictive analytics that optimize infrastructure management. With this release, Virtustream announces itself as a major player in the market for production-grade cloud deployments that require rich and nuanced ERM and data security functionality. As ERM implementation proliferates in verticals outside of financial services and the government sector, expect cloud technologies such as xStream to enjoy increasing adoption as a result of its suite of tools for compliance, data protection, application monitoring and infrastructure optimization. xStream’s support of both OpenStack and VMware represents yet another feather in its cap whose importance will reveal itself as OpenStack technology continues to assert its imprint on the IaaS space in conjunction with OpenStack’s maturation.
The screenshot below of the xStream management console illustrates the platform’s ability to track resource consumption, storage and costs:
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.
This was the week where Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service. More than a simple declaration of production-grade availability, Microsoft’s announcement about its IaaS platform delivered the strongest possible elaboration of its intent to compete head to head with Amazon Web Services in the IaaS space to date. In a blog post, Microsoft’s Bill Hilf accurately assessed enterprise readiness with respect to cloud adoption by noting that customers are not interested in replacing traditional data centers with cloud based environments. Customers typically want to supplement existing data infrastructures with IaaS and PaaS installations alongside private cloud environments and traditional data center ecosystems. In other words, hybridity is the name of the game with respect to enterprise cloud adoption at present, and Hilf’s argument is that no one is better suited to recognize and respond to that hybridity than Microsoft. In conjunction with the general availability of its Azure IaaS platform, Microsoft pledges a commitment to “match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth” alongside “monthly SLAs that are among the industry’s highest.”
Microsoft also announced new, larger Virtual Machine sizes on the order of 28GB/4 core and 56 GB/8 core in addition to new Virtual Machine image templates featuring a gallery of image templates including Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server, BizTalk Server and SharePoint Server as well as VM templates for applications that run on Ubuntu, CentOS, and SUSE Linux distributions. Overall, the announcement represents an incisive and undisguised assault on the market dominance of Amazon Web Services within the IaaS space that is all the more threatening given Microsoft’s ability to match AWS in price, functionality and service. The key question now is the degree to which OpenStack and Google’s Google Compute Engine (GCE) will emerge as major players within the IaaS space. OpenStack has already emerged as a major IaaS player, but it remains to be seen which distribution will take the cake at the enterprise level. Nevertheless, analysts should expect a tangible reconfiguration of IaaS market share by the end of 2013, with a more significant transformation in place roughly a year from the release in general availability of Google’s Compute Engine, which was released in Beta in June 2012.
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:
•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.
ActiveState revealed details of the latest version of its Platform as a Service solution, ActiveState Stackato, today. An “infrastructure-agnostic, multilingual private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution,” ActiveState Stackato now supports OpenStack, Linux KVM and the Citrix XenServer. With today’s announcement, customers can use Stackato to deploy applications to either (1) a private, internal cloud that leverages VMware vSphere, OpenStack, Linux KVM or Citrix XenServer, or (2) a public cloud hosted by Amazon Web Services or HP Cloud Services. ActiveState Stackato’s support of OpenStack, Linux KVM and Citrix XenServer further adds to the flexibility it provides developers. The new version of ActivateState Stackato also boasts an enhanced management console featuring superior application lifecyle management and accelerated speeds of Perl deployment. Stackato is a multilingual PaaS that supports development in Java, Python, Ruby, PHP, Perl, Node.js, Scala, and Clojure. ActiveState Stackato is used by 97% of Fortune 1000 companies “to develop, distribute, and manage their software applications.” Enterprise customers include Bank of America, HP, Lockheed Martin and Siemens.