Category Archives: DevOps

One Open Source To Orchestrate Them All

First the change happened in Information Technology (IT): moving from hardware to software; virtualization inspired by cloud computing; data centers becoming configurable and programmable as software using DevOps approach; traditional vendor-locked solutions superseded by new world open source initiatives such as OpenStack, Open Compute Project and Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Then Communications Technology (CT) followed the lead, making its move into the new world with notions such as software defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and central office re-architected as a data center (CORD). Inevitably open source took a lead role here as well, with a multitude of projects popping up, led by different industry forces.

LinuxFoundationNetworkingAndOrchestrationIn fact, too many project, which left the Telecom industry perplexed and unable to converge under one de-facto standard. Have you tried to orchestrate with each player requiring a different sign language from the maestro?

But then came the twist in the plot when the Chinese and Americans decided to join forces: ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) that was open sourced by AT&T, and Open-O (Open Orchestrator) project led primarily by China Mobile, China Telecom and Huawei, have decided to join forces under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella, to create Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).

What shape will the merged project take? That is yet to be decided by the community. This topic was much discussed February at the announcement on Mobile World Congress and even more so during Open Networking Summit this month, but still more questions than answers for ONAP, around modeling, protocols, descriptors, architecture…

The most important question, however, is whether the new merged mega-project will bear the critical mass required to gravitate the industry towards it, to become the converging force, the de-facto standard. Seeing the forces behind ECOMP, OPEN-O and now ONAP, including Intel, IBM, Cisco, Nokia and others, it looks promising. And the Linux Foundation is a proven vehicle for widely adopted open source projects. If succeed, this may very well be the turning point, taking the NFV & SDN wagon out of the mud and unto the fast track to production.

*Disclaimer: The writer has been working on the orchestration initiatives of ONAP members Amdocs and GigaSpaces.

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Prometheus Joins Google’s Kubernetes In Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Last August the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) was founded by important names such as Google, CoreOS, Docker, Weaveworks, Mesosphere and others, and was hosted under the Linux Foundation. The first contribution to CNCF was Kubernetes, which Google open-sourced for that end, and served as the cornerstone of CNCF’s open source stack.

Last week CNCF accepted its second project: Prometheus. Prometheus is a monitoring and alerting toolkit backed by a powerful time series database. Such monitoring and alerting is an important part of any large-scale system, which a cloud-native reference architecture needs to address. Kubernetes and Prometheus already play well together, as Kubernetes exposes Prometheus metrics natively. Nonetheless, Prometheus supports many other monitoring targets and service discovery integrations, from Graphite and Consul to simple SNMP and JMX that enable open-ended and custom integrations.

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Unlike Kubernetes at the time, Prometheus is already open source and backed by an active community. Among the impressive users of Prometheus you’d find several members of CNCF such as Google, CoreOS, Docker and Weaveworks, which probably made its acceptance easier. In its announcement Prometheus team said:

By joining the CNCF, we hope to establish a clear and sustainable project governance model, as well as benefit from the resources, infrastructure, and advice that the independent foundation provides to its members.

Another candidate to join CNCF is Data Center Operating System (DC/OS), which was open-sourced by Mesosphere last month. Seeing that Mesosphere is a founding member of CNCF, it’s reasonable to estimate they’d host DC/OS there. With an active community of more than 60 partner companies, this could be a serious tail wind for the foundation.

So who’s next in line for Cloud Native Computing Foundation?

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Mesosphere Open-Sources Its Containers Management System

The containers movement received major news yesterday when Mesosphere announced it has open-sourced  its Data Center Operating System (DC/OS). The core will be released under Apache 2.0 open source license, with enterprise-grade tools and features such as security, performance, compliance, and monitoring, kept for the paid enterprise version. The new DC/OS community already has more than 60 partner companies, including major names such as Microsoft, HPE, Cisco, Accenture and Verizon. There are also important names from the DevOps automation including Chef and Puppet.

Mesosphere’s open source strategy is primarily rooted in the fact it is the commercial backer of Apache Mesos open source project. But Mesosphere took additional steps and joined the founding team of the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) which were founded in the past year by big names such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and HPE to standardize on containers. In fact, on its announcement yesterday Mesosphere said it was considering hosting DC/OS externally under CNCF (among other alternatives).

Mesosphere’s open source move yesterday comes a month after Mesosphere joined the prestigious unicorn club when it finished its round C funding with $73.5 million funding at reportedly over $1 billion valuation. Not surprisingly, Mesosphere’s investors Microsoft and HPE, which also collaborate with Mesosphere at the Open Container Initiative, joined as founding members to the DC/OS project. In fact, Microsoft announced yesterday adding support for DC/OS in its Azure cloud, after it added support for Docker on Azure a year ago. This is part of the fierce cloud competition on containers (so fierce that it drove HP out of the race last year).

Google, a competitor of Microsoft in the public cloud, used a similar open source strategy last year when it decided to open-source its Kubernetes container management system and contribute it to CNCF on its foundation. Kubernetes powers Google’s Container Engine, Google’s own response in the cloud wars. While some consider Kubernetes a competitor for Mesosphere, Mesosphere took a collaborative strategy, providing support (namely package) for Kubernetes alongside its own Marathon product, as well as contributing code to the Kubernetes open source project.

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New ‘Cloud Native Computing Foundation’ Trying to Standardize on Cloud and Containers

Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is a new open standardization initiative recently formed under the Linux Foundation with the mission of providing standard reference architecture for cloud native applications and services, based on open-source software (OSS). The first OSS is Google’s Kubernetes, which was released in v1.0 the same day, and was donated by Google to the foundation.

Google is one of the 22 founding members, together with big names such as IBM, Intel, Redhat, VMware, AT&T, Cisco and Twitter, as well as important names in the containers realm such as Docker, Mesosphere, CoreOS and Joynet.

The announcement of the new foundation came only a few weeks after the announcement of the Open Container Initiative (OCI), also formed under the Linux Foundation. Even more interesting to note that almost half of the founding companies of CNCF are among the founders of OCI. According to the founders, these two initiatives are complementary: while OCI is focused on standardizing the image and runtime format for containers, CNCF will target the bigger picture of how to assemble components to address a comprehensive set of container application infrastructure needs, starting with the orchestration level, based on Kubernetes. This is the same bottom-up dynamics as we see in most other initiatives and projects, starting from standardizing on the infrastructure and then continuing upwards: cloud computing evolved same way from IaaS to PaaS and to SaaS, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) evolved from the NFV Infrastructure to Management and Orchestration (MANO), etc.

Open strategy has become the name of the game and all the big companies realize that in order to take the technology out of infancy and enabling its adoption in large-scale production deployments in enterprises they need to take the lead on the open field. Google’s Kubernetes and its recent contribution to CNCF is one example. Now we’ll wait to see which other open-source ingredients will be incorporated and which blueprint will emerge and how it succeeds in meeting the industry’s varying use cases.

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HP Acquires Stackato Aiming to Bring Hybrid Cloud to Enterprises

Enterprises are looking to transform their IT to a more lean operation, in the spirit of recent trends of cloud computing and hybrid clouds, DevOps and containers, which have emerged from the open-source communities. Major IT vendors have identified this potential and are putting a lot of effort in developing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to enable the transition of enterprises.

Last October HP launched (as part of HP Helion cloud platform) its own PaaS offering code-named HP Helion Development Platform, based on CloudFoundry open-source PaaS. Now HP took a step further and acquired Stackato, a platform based on CloudFoundry and Docker containers, to enhance its PaaS offering with support for hybrid cloud model, and to speed up delivery times and ease of IT configuration. According to the statement:

HP’s acquisition of Stackato further demonstrates our commitment to Cloud Foundry technology and broadens our hybrid cloud capabilities.

While HP is betting heavily on CloudFoundry, it is also betting seriously on containers. A month and a half ago HP joined the Open Containers Initiative (OCI). The open approach of OCI is also aligned with HP’s strategic choice to make HP Helion based on open-source community-backed projects such as CloudFoundry, Eucalyptus (which HP acquired last year) and OpenStack. Interesting to note that OpenStack community also addressed hybrid cloud and containers on its recent releases.

HP is not the only one to realize the trend. Cloud and containers have been growing closer to bring hybrid IT to enterprises, with all major players offering combined offerings, including IBM, Google, Amazon, Micrsofot and VMware.

Last month HP filed to split into two companies – HP Enterprise and HP Inc. – to enable each one to be more focused and flexible “to adapt quickly to market and customer dynamics”. The newly-formed HP Enterprise will focus on the enterprise business including servers, storage, networking, converged systems and Helion cloud platform, without the burden of HP’s traditional printers and PC businesses (left for HP Inc.). In this fast-paced, dynamic and highly competitive realm of agile IT and cloud computing, HP Enterprise would need that flexibility and agility to gain the lead.


* Update: a couple of months after the above acquisition HP announced shutting down its public cloud, and focusing on hybrid cloud offering, in line with the above post. You can read more on this post.

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Industry Standardizing on Containers with Open Container Project

* Update: the foundation has decided to rename from Open Container Project (OCP) to Open Container Initiative (OCI)

 

“Open” is not just providing open source software. It’s also, and perhaps more importantly, about open standards, enabling the community to converge on one single path and work together on improving it. The absence of such agreement drives the community to wars for domination, especially in emerging fields. We see that with the Internet of Things, with cloud computing and network virtualization.

The containers community, headed by Docker, was no different. Docker’s success drew the attention of every major player, including every major player in the cloud and DevOps world, and created competing standards which threatened to draw everyone into battles for domination. But there’s good news. This week at DockerCon 2015 these players joined forces to form the Open Container Project (OCP).  The new governance body, formed under The Linux Foundation, aims to create standards around container format and runtime. And though under Linux Foundation governance, it certainly targets other operating systems, with Microsoft pushing Windows.

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The Open Container Project has all major cloud players, including Amazon, Google (which promotes Kubernetes), Microsoft, HP, IBM. It also has players in the DevOps scene such as Docker itself and CoreOS (which offers a prominent competing container called appc), Mesosphere, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and VMware/EMC.

Seems Docker will be leading the path, writing the first draft of the format specification and using Docker’s implementation as baseline. Docker’s first contribution is runC, which is already available on the project’s GitHub page. But that’s only the beginning. The true test will be the adoption within enterprises, which have been struggling in adopting the technology.

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Docker Raises $95M Series D Round

The buzz around Docker doesn’t cease. And Docker is riding the tide with a fourth round of funding, raising another $95 million, with massive $400 million valuation. Not that they need the money. Some say still have funding from the 2nd round. But they have a momentum, and they want to capitalize on it.

The $400M valuation is very high, but not surprising in the venture capital sphere, given that every major player out there is chasing to integrate with Docker, including giants such as Google and Microsoft. Docker is also storming into the cloud, establishing itself as the new model for application packaging, deployment and management in private and public cloud environments.

Docker has plans on addressing enterprise concerns such as storage, networking and security. It makes sense the current round would be used to push these topics. Now awaiting details from the source.

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