Cloud-Hosted Cloud Management via Platform9

A new startup emerged from stealth today, a company called Platform9. Platform9 was launched by former VMware veterans with the goal of making it easy for companies to consume their existing infrastructure in an agile, cloud-like fashion. Platform9 seeks to accomplish this by offering a cloud management platform that is itself provided as a cloud-based service—hence the name of this post, “cloud-hosted cloud management.”

It’s an interesting approach, and it certainly helps eliminate some of the complexity that organizations face when implementing their own cloud management platform. For now, at least, that is especially true for OpenStack, which can be notoriously difficult for newcomers to the popular open source cloud management environment. By Platform9 offering an OpenStack API-compatible service, organizations that want a more “public cloud-like” experience can get it without all the added hassle.

The announcements for Platform9 talk about support for KVM, vSphere, and Docker, though the product will only GA with KVM support (support for vSphere and Docker are on the roadmap). Networking support is also limited; in the initial release, Platform9 will look for Linux bridges with matching names in order to stitch together networks. However, customers will get an easy, non-disruptive setup with a nice set of dashboards to help show how their capacity is being utilized and allocated.

It will be interesting to see how things progress for Platform9. The idea of providing cloud management via an SaaS model (makes me think of “cloud inception”) is an interesting one that does sidestep many adoption hurdles, though questions of security, privacy, confidentiality, etc., may still hinder adoption in some environments.

Thoughts on Platform9? Feel free to speak up in the comments below. All courteous comments are welcome!

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  1. Lennie’s avatar

    That reminds me of the TripleO (OpenStack on OpenStack) model.

    Which is to use a small cloud to deploy the big cloud, so you can easily deploy a production cloud or multiple test clouds. This is what HP calls Helion. It is also kind of similar to Mirantis Fuel.

    I’ve seen a number of people/companies wanting to do this as a SaaS model. Non of which are public with a ready made product yet.

  2. Anas’s avatar

    Thanks Scott for sharing. I think the idea is very interesting and could speed up private cloud adoption . Some customers prefer private cloud over public cloud because of data privacy or because they think private cloud is cheaper in the long run. if Platform9 can address the security/privacy concerns and their service is affordable I think their model will gain traction. As you said deploying OpenStack is not a walk in the park.

    Btw, on a different subject, I will be at VMword in SF this month and look forward to attending your breakout session.

    Anas

  3. Lennie’s avatar

    Private cloud is cheaper. IF you have a workload that always exists ( 24/7/365 ), it’s usually cheaper if you run that yourself. At your own datacenter, if you already had one. Or have your own dedicated servers at a hosting provider.

  4. Priya’s avatar

    Scott, isnt this a little like Piston Cloud? http://pistoncloud.com/

  5. slowe’s avatar

    Priya, Platform9 is only similar to PistonCloud in that they both leverage OpenStack and are able to consume on-premises compute capacity. The key difference between the two is that PistonCloud will consume hardware capacity on-premises to provide the cloud controller functionality, whereas the cloud controller functionality from Platform9 is provided as a service. There is no on-premises hardware requirements for the cloud controller functionality from Platform9.

    I hope this helps!

  6. Jincheng’s avatar

    Does Rightscale support on-premise Openstack deployment? if yes, it seems Rightscale support this model already.

  7. Priya’s avatar

    Scott, sorry to get back to this, and thank you for your response. When you say cloud controller I assume you mean the software which installs the openstack or other things to manage the cloud(?). Typically, if you are doing it on-site, it may be installed on every server, but in the case of platform9 it is running remote. So, every time I need to spin up a VM and call into their GUI, that code to spawn VMs, create network connections etc, runs on a remote platform9 server/system? Won’t this create a delay dependent on the network traffic, and if for some reason their system goes down, affect the customer’s network? Unless I did not understand what you are saying… Sorry for so many qs.

  8. slowe’s avatar

    Priya, you are correct—the cloud controller is the piece that schedules workloads to run on a hypervisor, schedules persistent storage volumes, coordinates network connectivity, etc. This is the piece that is running off-premises in a SaaS arrangement with Platform9.

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