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4/3/2012
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Piston Cloud Founder Demos Enterprise OpenStack Distribution

Piston Cloud takes the OpenStack framework and turns it into a private cloud delivery product. Cofounder and CEO Joshua McKenty shows us how it works.

We've written about Piston Cloud before. It's one of the companies that has arisen from the well-publicized NASA Nebula project which begat OpenStack, the framework for defining an open set of APIs for deploying a cloud environment. But OpenStack is, as CEO Joshua McKenty puts it "just a framework, not a product." Hence, Piston Cloud.

In our most recent episode of Valley View, a monthly live Web TV program, we invited McKenty to come talk about what OpenStack is, and what Piston Cloud adds to it, complete with a bit of product demonstration. He joined InformationWeek's Art Wittmann at the whiteboard to give an overview of OpenStack, and where his company's technology adds value.

In essence, OpenStack attempts to replace the people who deploy storage, network, and server resources with APIs, McKenty said. Piston Cloud takes all of the OpenStack components--which include about 18 different configuration files (for defining things like distributed storage, specific hypervisors, underlying operating systems, and so on)--and wraps them in Moxie, which simplifies all of those tasks into a single configuration file, with only a handful of options to set. Piston Cloud then deploys that file across your hardware (the product attempts to be hardware agnostic); indeed, it does so from a simple USB stick ... set it up on a laptop, plug it into your switch, and away you go.

In the video embedded below, McKenty shows how easy this can be, discusses the security benefits, and then demonstrates the high availability Piston Cloud delivers by having a colleague pull hard drives from a running server rack in a data center.

Find out how to move beyond server virtualization to build a more flexible, efficient data center in the new Private Cloud Blueprint issue of Network Computing. (Free registration required.)

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