Cloud-seeking enterprises have a new option for running their software-defined data centers. On Tuesday, Piston Cloud updated its enterprise OpenStack distribution to version 2.0. The new version includes the latest OpenStack improvements, coupled with better compatibility with Amazon Web Services.
Enterprise OpenStack 2.0 addresses many customer feature requests, said Josh McKenty, CTO of Piston Cloud. And chief among those customers are those working in DevOps, he said.
“As much as folks say ‘Amazon this’ or Rackspace that’ or ‘VMware this,’ the driving force pushing enterprises into the cloud is the DevOps movement; developers need to be able to ship value faster,” he said.
That means giving developers and IT administrators an easy path to standing up new servers and deploying new code, said McKenty. Unfortunately, he added, “As much as you want these two people to work together and in parallel, they’re totally different types of people. Any product that’s going to cross this chasm has to have interfaces the developers understand. This is the new metaphor of developer-centric infrastructure, but we still need traditional interfaces: your authentication frameworks, your log analyses… All those systems need to work the way they always have worked before, because IT admins are incredibly resistant to clouds.”
Thus, he said, in Enterprise OpenStack 2.0, the team “did a bunch of work in 2.0 to support more than the traditional interfaces. So there is more logging and access to more data around the underlying hardware. We automated things so it’s really hands off and lights out, but IT admins are still curious as to what’s going on.” Thus, the company added more visibility into the lower layers of operation.
McKenty said another major area of focus was in emulating the transient nature of Amazon Web Services within OpenStack. He brought up the popular “pets versus cattle” metaphor, which describes virtual machines as either beloved pets requiring care and feeding, or hordes of cattle to be shipped around and quickly slaughtered if things go wrong.
“People getting off Amazon are already used to digital cows,” said McKenty. “They’re used to the transient nature of Amazon VMs: They disappear, they don’t always appear when you boot them up, they’re really cheap. We came out with support for a more AWS-style interface in the sense of ephemeral local disk, ephemeral VMs, and richer AWS support through a broader set of those APIs.”
This philosophy of emulating the Amazon experience extends to the storage layer, where Piston Cloud has been a proponent of up-and-coming multi-interface storage system, Ceph. Ceph was included in Enterprise OpenStack 1.0.
“The thing that Amazon never did very well is reliable shared storage,” said McKenty. “Elastic Block Storage was always a second class storage. In our version 1.0, we focused on having Ceph, and in version 2.0, we’ve gone back and added in the transient storage, like Amazon storage. That’s using the Cinder API.” He explained that his company back-ported Cinder from the Grizzly release of OpenStack, whereas the rest of the product is based on the earlier Folsom release.