Puppet Enterprise 3.8 Brings Puppet’s IT Automation Technology To AWS, Hybrid Clouds, Bare Metal And Docker

IT automation vendor Puppet Labs today announces Enterprise 3.8 which features key updates to Puppet Node Manager and a new application called Puppet Code Manager. The recently enhanced Puppet Node Manager now features the ability to automate the initial provisioning of infrastructures in conjunction with rule-based logic and parameters that dictate when infrastructure should be rendered ready for production. Puppet Node Manager also supports the launch and configuration of Docker containers as well as a new Amazon Web Services module that takes responsibility for the deployment and ongoing management of AWS resources. As told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Tim Zonca, Puppet’s Director of Product Marketing, the AWS module allows organizations to leverage a unified IT automation interface for managing on-premise and cloud-based DevOps processes instead of Amazon’s indigenous orchestration tools and a separate Puppet interface for automating, streamlining and simplifying infrastructure management. The graphic below illustrates Puppet Node Manager’s user interface and the corresponding simplicity of its method for defining rules for infrastructure components:

Node-Manager-Shot-Updated

In addition to an enhanced Puppet Node Manager, Puppet also announces an application called Puppet Code Manager that allows customers to define their infrastructure using code and subsequently manage the code—as opposed to the infrastructure itself—as it traverses different components of the product and software development lifecycle. Puppet Code Manager allows IT teams to more expeditiously apply a consistent methodology for changing, upgrading and testing their fleet of infrastructure components. Meanwhile, Puppet’s Bare Metal provisioning tool Razor is now generally available for the discovery of bare-metal hardware and the provisioning of OS on that hardware. Taken together, today’s set of announcements represent yet another important step on the part of Puppet to consolidate its leadership position in the IT automation and orchestration space. Puppet’s ability to render its technology applicable to a variety of infrastructures and platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Docker containers punctuates its relevance for IT management more generally. That said, the obvious question for Puppet Labs is the degree to which its automation technology can keep pace with the bewildering rate of change specific to the cloud, Big Data and computing landscape, particularly as Big Data technologies continue their aggressive maturation and application development, as exemplified by Pivotal’s support for a hosted distribution of Cloud Foundry on AWS, moves in the direction of increasingly agile methodologies that value precisely the automated management functionality that Puppet delivers.

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Piston Cloud Releases Piston OpenStack 3.0 As Commercial OpenStack Battle Heats Up

Today, Piston Cloud announces the release of version 3.0 of its enterprise-grade OpenStack-based platform for building Infrastructure as a Service cloud environments. Piston OpenStack version 3.0 features improvements in storage, networking, orchestration, diagnostics and monitoring. Piston prides itself on the ability of its platform to integrate with a wide array of hardware, PaaS, storage, networking and orchestration vendors and as such, boasts one of the most flexible turnkey commercial OpenStack solutions in the market today. The announcement of the release of version 3.0 comes in conjunction with news of Piston OpenStack’s production-grade usage by Intelemage, a medical image sharing solutions vendor.

Highlights of Piston OpenStack 3.0 include:

•Multi-tier storage pools with fine-grained configuration parameters that deliver enhanced performance.
•An expanded range of compatibility with software defined networking vendors such as Juniper Contrail, PLUMgrid, and VMware NSX.
•The ability to use Piston’s orchestration platform, Moxie RTE™, for third party services and applications
•Enhanced tools for cluster management and dashboard monitoring of the IaaS infrastructure.

Taken together, version 3.0’s announcements underscore Piston’s commitment to delivering a truly turnkey solution that supports integrations with third party vendors in an effort to simplify the platform’s installation on the part of customers that have pre-existing SDN networking or storage vendors of choice. Meanwhile, Piston OpenStack 3.0 continues to impress by way of its hyper-converged architecture that integrates “virtualized compute, storage, and network capabilities” into each and every server by means of the collaboration between the micro-OS and the Moxie RTE as illustrated below:

The graphic of Piston’s architecture illustrates how the Piston OpenStack solution differs from a configuration where each host has one, full fledged operating system. Instead, the solution boasts a transient, minimalist, Linux-based, “Iocane micro-OS” that operates at the server level. The micro-OS provides “containers, network namespaces, resource limiting and network traffic shaping to Moxie RTE™” such that the Moxie RTE, multi-server run-time environment can manage all of the processes specific to the server-level micro-OS. As a result, IT administrators who confront defective servers or hardware can remove them from the run time environment without losing data or compromising application uptime because of the infrastructure’s distributed architecture. Piston co-founder and CTO Joshua McKenty famously surmised the status of physical servers within the landscape of Piston OpenStack using the metaphor of puppies and cows as follows:

The servers in today’s data center are like puppies – they’ve got names and when they get sick, everything grinds to a halt while you nurse them back to health. Piston Enterprise OpenStack is a system for 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. It takes a family of three to care for a single puppy, but a few cowboys can drive tens of thousands of cows over great distances, all while drinking whiskey.

Here, puppies represent the traditional data center environment that attempts to remediate problems specific to a server or hardware more generally, whereas the cattle are illustrative of an environment that allows for hardware to be disposed of as necessary, with no harm to the larger infrastructure. In a subsequent blog post, McKenty notes that cattle need to roam, and that they can do so only in the context of “a common host orchestration environment” represented by the MoxieRTE. Piston’s unique distributed operating system architecture in conjunction with a minimalist, micro-OS that avoids the hassles of OS installation, configuration and management means that its customers can focus on monitoring the health of the infrastructure without applying patches, updates and fixes to an OS.

Intelemage, a leader in medical image sharing solutions, today announces its use of Piston for its private IaaS platform. Whereas Intelemage had previously dedicated significant time to deploying and managing servers and their attendant infrastructures, with Piston it has reduced deployment time “down to seconds.” Meanwhile, both the news of the release of Piston OpenStack 3.0 as well as the Intelemage announcement come in the wake of remarkable exchange between Piston and Red Hat whereby Red Hat rescinded Piston’s sponsorship of its upcoming Red Hat Summit. As reported in a Register exclusive, Red Hat cancelled Piston’s sponsorship, refunded the $13,000 sponsorship fee and subsequently overturned its cancellation and waived Piston’s sponsorship fee by way of apology. The reasons for Red Hat’s cancellation of Piston’s sponsorship are not immediately clear, although one possibility is because Piston reportedly beat Red Hat in the contest for a large OpenStack contract, details of which have yet to be disclosed.

The only certainty, here, is that Piston’s reputation in the market for commercial OpenStack solutions is skyrocketing alongside the emergence of a brand name known for high performing, scalable, easy to use platform that can more than more than bear its weight against larger IaaS and virtualization players such as Red Hat, Ubuntu and VMware. After years of preparation, the commercial OpenStack space finally appears ripe enough for intense competition as key players step up and differentiate themselves from the pack. With version 3.0, Piston appears poised to go toe to toe with the likes of Red Hat, HP, Dell, IBM and Cloudscaling if not surpass them altogether with superior technology. The next six months will be critical for the commercial OpenStack space given that the market finally appears ready to explore solutions on a wider scale than previously. Expect Piston to be at the forefront of the commercial OpenStack land grab, particularly in light of its relationship with Pivotal and the Cloud Foundry-OpenStack integration project.

Serena Software Releases Advanced Deployment And Change Management Functionality For Its IT Orchestration Platform

Today, Serena Software announces the release of additional DevOps functionality for its acclaimed Orchestrated IT platform. New features include a portal that empowers developers to provision application development and testing environments in addition to deployment functionality that automates code release to Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and virtualization platforms constituted using the VMware ESX/ESXi hypervisor. Serena’s Orchestrated IT solution now notably includes load balancing and advanced failover capability as well. Moreover, today’s release features an interface for centralizing the capture of costs related to change management requests in order to facilitate more accurate project cost estimates and reporting on resource utilization.

Greg Hughes, CEO of Serena Software, remarked on the Serena platform’s change and release functionality enhancements as follows:

DevOps allows IT to become truly agile. Serena’s enhanced change and release management capabilities allow Dev to exploit more self-service functions and Ops to release at the rapid cadence required of today’s enterprise cash cows, Revenue Applications.

Here, Hughes identifies revenue applications as one of the principal beneficiaries of the advanced DevOps functionality of Serena’s applications. Applications used for revenue analysis and operations represent the most popular use case amongst Serena’s customer base to date because of their sensitivities to real-time transactional data and algorithms that often need to be tweaked in conjunction with the rapidly changing day to day payment landscape. Serena’s latest change management and release functionality dramatically enhances its positioning as a major player in the contemporary DevOps space by foregrounding its orchestration platform in the context of cloud-based application development on two of the most popular cloud platforms in the industry. Today’s release also continues to empower developers to work in tandem with operations by giving them the tools to spin up on premise application development environments in much the same way that they independently provision virtual machines and platforms for cloud-based application work in collaboration with third party cloud IaaS and PaaS providers.