Cloud startup gets cues from Amazon, Google and OpenStack

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OpenStack startup Cloudscaling says that for true interoperability in a hybrid cloud, it's not enough to just have API compatibility between your private and public cloud. It really helps for the fundamental architecture of the two to be analogous.

Cloudscaling has been on a journey in the past few years, evolving from a cloud consultancy that built cloud platforms for companies like KT (Korea Telecom), then used that experience to launch a cloud platform based on OpenStack code. The company released the second version of its product, Open Cloud System (OCS) 2.0, this week at the OpenStack Summit.

The move represents the growing community of companies releasing cloud products and services based on the OpenStack code. Linux distribution companies Canonical, SUSE and Red Hat have been some of the earliest, while a startup like Piston Cloud Computing Co. has been born out of the OpenStack movement. Cisco even threw its hat in the ring, releasing a recommended configuration of OpenStack projects it is calling the Cisco OpenStack edition.

But Cloudscaling says it is different. Other distribution companies have what Cloudscaling CEO Michael Grant calls "raw OpenStack"; they're distributing OpenStack code with some additional features. Cloudscaling claims to use OpenStack code as a basis for its cloud platform and added on top of it services that make it "enterprise grade." While not the first company to claim this, Cloudscaling says it's taking into account performance and quality of service guarantees, building in redundancy, resiliency, fault tolerance, graceful degradation and scale-out features, while allowing for interoperability with public clouds from Amazon Web Services and Google. "Once your cloud is in production, it can't be a science project anymore," Grant says.

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Grant says new enterprise needs are driving cloud adoption. Applications that are being developed and used today in the enterprise are fundamentally different than those of yesteryear, he says. These Web 2.0, big data, mobile, social and gaming applications are dynamic apps, meant to be run in the cloud. Yet these developers may still not being comfortable throwing them up into a public cloud environment, which is why Cloudscaling has focused on private cloud implementations.

Even though those apps are being developed and will live on a company's premise, Grant says there's an inherent advantage to the architecture they run on looking and feeling like that of the most successful public clouds. For Cloudscaling, it's taking its cues from Amazon Web Services, hoping to provide customers an AWS-like cloud in their own data centers.

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This idea of having a common architecture between the private and public clouds is not new either. Oracle, in announcing its cloud platform, embraced this idea of having common architecture between public and private clouds as one of the chief benefits of its service. VMware argues that when customers stay within the VMware ecosystem, using vSphere, along with vCloud Director, it provides enhanced features and functions for users.

In addition to embracing AWS-like architecture, Cloudscaling also deliberately chose to become an OpenStack company and now seems to pull some weight in the OpenStack community. Its co-founder and CTO, Randy Bias, is on the OpenStack Foundation's board of directors and has been one of the project's earliest evangelists through his blog on the Cloudscaling website.

In the second release of the company's software, Cloudscaling has added new features, mostly notably integration with Google Compute Engine, becoming the first company to offer OpenStack compatibility with Google's enterprise-aimed cloud offering. Admitting that GCE hasn't quite seen the adoption of some other cloud services, Grant says he expects it come. "We think this will be big," he says. And for cloud users that may be using AWS or GCE, having a similar architecture in their own data centers, he says, provides an inherent advantage for customers.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

This story, "Cloud startup gets cues from Amazon, Google and OpenStack" was originally published by Network World.

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