Piston Unveils “The Last OpenStack You’ll Ever Try”

Calling it the last OpenStack you’ll ever try, the new release of Piston 3.0 has been generating a lot of controversy, if not interest. Unveiled last week, it had to compete with sub-Arctic weather, RSA security conference, Mobile World Congress, the Winter Olympics and Russian brinkmanship in the Ukraine.

Then there was the little misunderstanding that saw Piston Cloud Computing, Inc. uninvited from next month’s Red Hat Summit, and a couple of hours later re-invited again, with an apology. Apparently somebody at Red Hat was unhappy with Piston because a Fortune 100 customer decided to change vendors. It seems that enterprise customers, never mind REALLY BIG enterprise customers, are hard to come by.

“It’s a clear show of fear,” said Piston CTO and co-founder Joshua McKenty in an emailed statement to The Reg moments before Red Hat did a 180. “They aren’t winning any customer deals against us now, and I don’t think that makes them very happy.”

He added it’s “ironic because we’ve sponsored VMworld in the past, and we’ve won awards there and we compete with them. And VMware isn’t even an open company and Red Hat is suppose to be.”

Available free for 90 days, and thereafter costs $3,500 per server per year (irrespective of core count), Piston 3.0 software automates an entire private cloud environment using commodity hardware, at less than a third of the cost of public cloud, stated the company. In addition to the new release, Piston also announced that Intelemage, medical image sharing solutions, has chosen its private cloud software to run its IaaS. Intelemage’s flagship platform, inteleGRID, is currently in use in over 65 countries spanning more than 4,000 locations.

In a briefing with IT Trends & Analysis, McKenty said this is the OpenStack we built for our customers and they’re really happy. “Customers have decided on OpenStack, now they just need an OpenStack that works.”

There is tremendous interest in cloud, with cloud spending expected to surge by 25% this year to over $100B, according to IDC. Gartner is predicting that cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016, as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, OpenStack is getting mixed reviews. Enterprise Management Associates analyst Torsten Volk said OpenStack is becoming more enterprise ready with each new release.

Gartner research director for Data Center Strategies Alessandro Perilli painted a more pessimistic picture, who noted that trying to penetrate the enterprise market seems to be the hardest challenge for vendors gravitating around the OpenStack ecosystem. “In fact, for the largest part, vendors don’t know how to articulate the OpenStack story to win enterprises. They simply don’t know how to sell it.”

He said there are at least four reasons why vendors can’t tell a resonating story about OpenStack to enterprise prospects:

-lack of clarity about what OpenStack does and does not;

-lack of transparency about the business model around OpenStack;

-lack of vision and long term differentiation; and

-lack of pragmatism.

McKenty said they have real customers who are in real production. Piston is also leveraging its partner ecosystem to attract new customers. It’s biggest partner is Pivotal (), mainly in the market, but orchestration is also taking off, with partners like , , , SericeMesh and .

He said these tend to snowball once there are a couple of successful engagements, which then activates their sales force. The storage segment has been a little disappointing, but is starting to see some movement, said McKenty, and there is also growing interest on the networking side, i.e. Nicira NSX, and /.

“The folks that have been the hardest to get on board have been the traditional hardware vendors, Dell, HP and IBM. They’re in a conflicted position.”

Their field sales teams want Piston/OpenStack, but when it comes back to things like support, it’s really hard .to pull relationships together, he said. “That’s why have great relationship with Qanta and SuperMicro.”

Looking forward, McKenty said this will be the year for Piston to scale. They’re hiring more people and working on case studies to support their claims. “We just really need to get out there and do this.”

Under The Hood

Piston OpenStack 3.0 features a simple, hyperconverged hardware architecture, hardened, from the operating system up, curated choices for storage, networking and compute, and unmodified OpenStack. The new release includes: multi-tier storage pool configurations; more SDN options with best-of-breed Neutron plug-ins: PLUMgrid, VMware NSX and Juniper Contrail; service orchestration; richer tools for node health monitoring and cluster management; new dashboard to improve usability and provide a single panel view for multiple regions; and one-click secure access to customer care.


Author: Steve Wexler

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