Understanding The Significance Of Dell’s Acquisition Of EMC And The Emergence Of Dell Technologies

Dell and EMC intend to finalize the transaction whereby Dell acquires EMC on September 7, 2016. Under the terms of the acquisition, Dell and its owners Michael Dell, MSD Partners and Silver Lake, will acquire EMC Corporation. Meanwhile, EMC spin-off VMware will continue as a publicly traded company. The announcement to finalize Dell’s acquisition of EMC comes head on the heels of the receipt of regulatory approval for the transaction by China’s Ministry of Commerce after 98% of EMC shareholders approved the transaction on July 19. As a result of the merger of the two companies, EMC shareholders stand to receive $24.05 per share in addition to a tracking stock that represents their equity in VMware.  The newly created company, Dell Technologies, will operate immediately after the transaction is finalized. Dell’s acquisition of EMC signals the emergence of the “largest privately-controlled, integrated technology company” as noted in a press release. The confluence of Dell’s expertise in hardware and technology solutions for small businesses to mid-size organizations with EMC’s experience with enterprise customers, cloud computing solutions and security solutions means that Dell Technologies stands poised to benefit from the complementary synergies specific to the union of the two companies. The union of Dell and EMC promises to offer customers of Dell Technologies a rich portfolio of private cloud and big data solutions that draws upon an EMC corporate umbrella that includes Pivotal, Virtustream and VMware.

Expect the convergence of Dell’s experience with hardware and its relationship to small to mid-market companies, in conjunction with EMC’s storage, networking, cloud computing, big data and security solutions to enable Dell Technologies to offer enterprise-grade private cloud solutions geared toward the needs of small to mid-tier organizations as well as enterprises. Given EMC’s ownership of Pivotal and its concomitant specialties in big data analytics and the internet of things, the Dell-EMC merger has the potential to reshape the cloud computing landscape by giving Dell Technologies leadership in the hybrid cloud space while claiming Pivotal’s specialties in big data analytics and RSA’s suite of security solutions as further, notable feathers in its cap. Overall, the landscape for hybrid cloud computing stands to gain another significant player that has the means to tap into Dell’s relationships with small to mid-size companies that are increasingly ramping up their transition to the hybrid cloud. Moreover, with Pivotal under its wing, Dell Technologies promises to democratize big data and internet of things analytics by spearheading big adoption and developing progressively turnkey approaches to big data analysis. The implications of the Dell-EMC merger for the cloud computing landscape are huge, particularly in light of Rackspace’s recent acquisition by Apollo Global Management and the subsequent opportunity created in the private cloud market while Apollo Global Management and Rackspace recalibrate their long-term strategy.

Rackspace Announces Ability To Deploy OpenStack-based Private Clouds Everywhere Via Integrated Hardware And Software Solution

On April 7, Rackspace announced details of OpenStack everywhere, a fully managed OpenStack cloud offering that allows customers to run an OpenStack-based private cloud in any data center in the world. OpenStack everywhere features an integrated hardware, software and professional services solution that absolves customers of the complexity of provisioning a private cloud or tapping into the scarce market of OpenStack technical resources in order to configure and manage an OpenStack deployment. In addition to taking responsibility for deployment of a modular, integrated hardware and software solution, Rackspace will manage the OpenStack-based private cloud in conjunction with delivery of its renowned fanatical support. The new offering from Rackspace accelerates the ability of customers to deploy OpenStack-based private clouds in data centers of their choosing while enjoying all of the benefits specific to Rackspace’s monitoring capabilities, professional support services and its 99.99% uptime SLA as elaborated in the video clip below featuring Rackspace’s CTO John Engates and Ryan Yard, Director of Solution Engineering:

HP Acquires Eucalyptus And Names Marten Mickos Leader Of Its Cloud Business

HP announced plans to acquire Eucalyptus, the company whose open source private cloud software interoperates with Amazon Web Services, on Thursday, September 11. Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos will lead HP’s cloud business as Senior Vice President and General Manager and report directly to Meg Whitman, HP’s President and CEO. Mickos, a longtime critic of the OpenStack project, has recently adopted a more conciliatory approach with respect to OpenStack in what was, in hindsight, rhetorical positioning for his role at HP as leader of the OpenStack-based HP Helion cloud product portfolio. Despite his historical criticism of OpenStack, Mickos has an enviable pedigree for commercializing open source software as the prior CEO of MySQL, now one of the most widely used open source software products in the world. HP CEO Meg Whitman elaborated on Mickos’s pedigree for the position as follows:

The addition of Marten to HP’s world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we’ve had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds. Marten will enhance HP’s outstanding bench of Cloud executives and expand HP Helion capabilities, giving customers more choice and greater control of private and hybrid cloud solutions.

As Whitman notes, HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus strengthens its position with respect to hybrid cloud solutions for the enterprise, particularly given the success had by Eucalyptus in interoperating its private clouds with the Amazon Web Services public cloud. Moreover, the experience of Mickos in successfully commercializing open source software suddenly vaults HP’s chances of succeeding in the commercial OpenStack space to the level of Red Hat, IBM and Piston Cloud Computing, whereas previously its Helion cloud portfolio evinced little in the way of a promising commercialization strategy or roadmap. Even though details of the integration of Eucalyptus with HP remain scant, the one certainty that results from HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus is that the market dynamics within the commercial OpenStack space have now shifted dramatically, almost as if overnight. The rest remains to be seen as Mickos has his work cut out for him if he is indeed going to rescue HP from the abyss of empty OpenStack rhetoric to a promising, full fledged product that can compete with the likes of Piston, who have already demonstrated success in mitigating the complexities specific to OpenStack deployment and operations by way of their Piston OpenStack platform. As a result of the acquisition, Martin Fink, the current leader of HP’s cloud business will continue as CTO. Terms of the purchase of Eucalyptus were not disclosed although sources close to the deal speculate that the acquisition price was less than $100M for its technology and 70 or so employees. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of HP’s 2014 fiscal year.

Piston OpenStack 3.5 Brings Simplicity Of Apple Alongside AWS-like Functionality To OpenStack And IaaS

Piston Cloud Computing today announces the availability of Piston OpenStack 3.5 for enterprise-grade IaaS platforms for private clouds. Piston OpenStack 3.5 features support for OpenStack Icehouse, the latest release of the open source IaaS collaboration from the OpenStack Foundation. Version 3.5 of Piston’s commercial variant of OpenStack features support for Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) for enhanced hardware-based security that mitigates against threats posed by “hypervisor attacks, BIOS or other firmware attacks, malicious root kit installations, or other software attacks.” This release also features enhanced support for rolling upgrades including live migration that enables customers to seamlessly migrate their deployments from one version of OpenStack to another with zero downtime. In conjunction with the news of today’s release, Piston revealed a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator that allows customers to compare the cost of Piston deployments with Amazon Web Services. When asked whether the TCO reflected prices of other well known IaaS platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine, Piston CTO and co-founder Joshua McKenty noted that AWS represents the sole vendor used for comparison because it has become the standard for IaaS price comparisons. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, McKenty also noted that Piston typically weighs in at roughly 1/3 the price of a comparable AWS deployment and thereby competes with IaaS vendors not only in price, but also with respect to operational simplicity and of course, interoperability as well.

In all, today’s release delivers a significant, no-frills upgrade to February’s Piston OpenStack 3.0 release that underscores Piston’s commitment to bringing Apple-like simplicity to OpenStack deployments. Piston OpenStack just works in much the same vein as Apple products in bringing consumers premium level functionality without miring users in the intricacies of OpenStack that have traditionally been reserved for its power users. Piston customer Solidify Security expanded on Piston’s commitment to doing the “boring” work of delivering IT infrastructures for application development as follows:

We believe your ability to install, configure, integrate, maintain and life cycle applications shouldn’t stop you from having access to tools that will help you create an active security footprint. Piston is very much built from the same cloth. They believe in doing the hard boring things very well, leaving our team time to focus on building PaaS and SaaS offerings, and not on running our cluster. Piston has been able to do that and more with Piston OpenStack. With just a few considerations for compatibility we were able to select our hardware from a wide variety of vendors. And in one short afternoon we had our code migrated and own internal cluster up and running at a price previously thought out of reach.

Here, the Solidify Security team testifies to Piston’s unique focus on facilitating rapid, low cost deployments of infrastructure that enables them to “focus on building PaaS and SaaS offerings” instead of provisioning and configuring hardware. Piston’s ability to simplify OpenStack deployment and operations as indicated here may well be a game changer in the OpenStack space given OpenStack’s reputation for complexity and intensely manual deployments. That Piston appears to have cracked the nut regarding the commoditization of OpenStack bodes well not only for Piston, but for the OpenStack community at large, which stands to benefit immensely from the lead taken by McKenty’s visionary focus on delivering a product that blends the AWS-like functionality with the simplicity of Apple for private cloud IaaS deployments. Expect Piston’s reputation for user friendly products that excel at doing a few things well to propel increased market traction as its reputation for simplicity and value continues to proliferate in the OpenStack and IaaS communities.

Platform9 Emerges From Stealth With SaaS Interface For Creating Private Clouds And $4.5M In Series A Funding

Platform9, a Sunnyvale, CA-based company that helps organizations develop private clouds in minutes, emerged from stealth today. The company also announced the finalization of $4.5M in Series A funding from Redpoint Ventures. Platform9 delivers a SaaS platform that empowers users to spin up OpenStack-based infrastructures for purposes such as development, testing and production-grade application deployment. Customers can use Platform9’s SaaS interface to install an agent onto the servers selected for inclusion in the requisite private cloud environment. Platform9’s proprietary technology subsequently discovers and aggregates the designated infrastructure components to create a private cloud that can be accessed by users that have been granted requisite access privileges. Once the private cloud has been created, users can leverage dashboards such as the following to monitor their infrastructure:

Platform9 aims to enhance customer agility by providing select teams with the opportunity to provision and create infrastructures at will. Importantly, the platform features a set of constraints on the ability of users to create private clouds that correspond to user roles and responsibilities within the organization. In all, Platform9 attempts to bring the radical simplicity of the Amazon Web Services deployment model to the private cloud space within the enterprise by way of a platform that supports Docker, KVM and VMware vSphere technologies and additionally boasts all of the benefits specific to OpenStack’s interoperability and rich set of APIs. Founded by a team of veterans from VMware, the company plans to release its technology from Beta into general availability by the end of the year. Platform9’s focus on streamlining the deployment and management of private clouds amongst enterprise customers aims at a sweet spot within the cloud space that is likely to grow as organizations continue to choose to begin with private clouds before graduating to public cloud deployments.

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.

Nimbula Announces Cloud Migration Service For Transitioning Public Clouds to Private

On Monday, Nimbula announced a set of professional services that facilitate the transition from a public to a private cloud. Branded the “Nimbula Cloud Migration Service,” the professional services utilize Nimbula Director, Nimbula’s flagship product that determines the operating parameters of an operational cloud with a view toward streamlining deployment of a private or hybrid cloud. Nimbula’s services are geared toward transitioning a customer’s deployment of a pubic cloud such as Amazon EC2 cloud to a private cloud environment that gives them greater control while allowing for a reduction in costs. Zynga represents the paradigmatic example of a company that started on the Amazon EC2 platform but subsequently created a private, “Z” cloud that coexists alongside its EC2 deployment. Zynga uses the Amazon’s EC2 platform as a testing stage for its applications before migrating them to its own cloud based infrastructure. Nimbula’s professional services team provides enterprises and startups alike with a migration plan and technical overview of the planned private cloud environment. Founded by industry veterans that developed the Amazon EC2 platform, Nimbula’s Cloud Migration Service complements its core cloud operating system offering.