Nebula, GigaSpaces Team To Ease OpenStack App Migrations

Nebula configures the hardware, while GigaSpaces' Cloudify helps prepare complex legacy apps to migrate into an OpenStack private cloud.
Nebula, which produces hardware loaded with a preconfigured version of OpenStack, and GigaSpaces, which supplies an application deployment system, have teamed up to ease the strain of migrating enterprise applications onto a private cloud.

Nebula is the OpenStack company that was co-founded by Chris Kemp, former CIO of NASA Ames Research Center and former CTO of NASA. He was instrumental, along with a team from Rackspace, in founding the OpenStack project. Nebula announced Thursday that it is offering its Nebula One hardware/software systems with both OpenStack and GigaSpaces' Cloudify system.

Cloudify is open source code that helps orchestrate the movement of an application into a cloud computing environment. The version that comes with Nebula One is geared to work specifically with OpenStack, said Devin Carlen, CTO and co-founder of Nebula, in an interview.

"Cloudify steps in where we step off," said Carlen. In effect, Nebula uses its expertise to assemble and configure hardware to run OpenStack in the manner that the customer wants to. Then Cloudify is available to help orchestrate the migration of legacy applications onto the OpenStack private cloud.

[ Learn more about the latest release of OpenStack. See OpenStack Havana Has Amazon-Like Aura. ]

The cloud environment is different from most enterprise environments in several ways. In the enterprise data center, an IP address is typically "hard coded" or assigned in a fixed way to a switching port that in turn is tied to a particular device or system. In the cloud, virtual machines may get moved around; assignment of the IP address is one of the last things done so that it may later be reassigned without too much disruption.

Cloudify is particularly helpful in moving more complex applications, where the app depends on a Web server and database system and all three tiers of the application need to be moved with a messaging system into the OpenStack environment. After deployment, Cloudify can restart a virtual machine in one component if the system fails, alerting the application that a replacement was needed, or informing a load balancer that a second virtual machine has joined the VM cluster, Carlen said.

GigaSpaces started Cloudify as an open source project in February 2012. It makes use of open source Chef for deployment configuration and application lifecycle management. Cloudify works from "recipes" or templates for common application/Web server/database combinations, including Postgres and MySQL. It also comes with templates for configuring NoSQL systems, such as Cassandra, MongoDB or Elastisearch and Hadoop analytics.

Cloudify users, if they don't find a ready-made recipe among those created by open source programmers, may build their own and use it to migrate their applications. With the recipe, several steps of the migration path to the cloud are automated by Cloudify's ability to assemble the final configuration of a system. Filling out the recipe can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, said Carlen. Application migrations are often described in terms of weeks of time consumed.

Cloudify is freely available under the open source Apache 2.0 license. A elementary Nebula One cloud system is available for "less than $100,000," noted Carlen.

Technical consulting and support for Cloudify is available from GigaSpaces at the rate of $5,000 per month for 50 virtual machines generated, said Uri Cohen, VP of products at GigaSpaces, in an interview.

Nebula will demonstrate the Nebula One/Cloudify combination on the expo floor of the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, Nov. 5-8.

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