Is OpenStack Ready for Enterprises?

June 26th, 2022 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Currently there is a lot of talk justifiably about OpenStack because Enterprises, Telco Providers and SaaS vendors are all looking for an open source based Cloud OS stack alternative for their clouds. The early adopters in the hype cycle have already started deploying it, but the real question is whether OpenStack is ready for Enterprises to run their business critical applications on it. Before I answer this question, I will briefly describe what OpenStack is and will then give my opinion about OpenStack readiness.

OpenStack is a conglomeration of a number of distributed services like Compute (Nova), Network (Neutron), Storage (Cinder, Manila, Swift), GUI (Horizon), Monitoring (Ceilometer), Database (Trove) etc that together represent a Cloud OS. Companies such as HP, RedHat, Cisco, EMC, Mirantis are packaging these various services into distributions (similar to what RedHat does for Linux) and are providing support services.  In some cases these companies are also providing their own public clouds that are based on OpenStack.  For many of the current OpenStack services, the publically available code is not enterprise ready, and in these cases, vendors are augmenting the open source code with their own proprietary plugins. In essence, these companies are trying to become the private data center infra-structure provider of choice and are projecting themselves as the single neck to choke.

OpenStack definitely has momentum because of the amount of money big companies like Cisco, HP, EMC, Huawei and the Telco providers are ploughing into it. The attendance at the OpenStack conferences is steadily increasing every 6 months and a lot of new functionality is being delivered in each new OpenStack release (every 6 months).  It is safe to say that currently OpenStack seems to be having more momentum than other open source based cloud stacks like CloudStack.

However, here are my thoughts on what needs to be done in order for OpenStack to really become main-stream:

  • Too many Networking Initiatives: Currently, there are way too many networking initiatives like Neutron, OpenDaylight, ETSI-NFV, OP-NFV, ONF, and ONOS that at the end of the day are trying to provide a framework for SDN, NFV and Cloud OS networking. Some of these initiatives are being driven by networking vendors and others are being driven by Telco providers. Dust still has to settle with respect to which ones will gain traction. OpenStack networking community cannot do everything on its own, and they need to strategically adopt code bases/designs from these other standards groups.
  • Too many disparate services: Linux was successful because Linus Torvalds ensured that there was a single cohesive vision for the Linux Kernel. Currently, in OpenStack, there are many developer cliques that are driving the different OpenStack components. Hence, currently there is a lack of a cohesive vision with respect to the development of the features for these various OpenStack services. At Google, Microsoft and Amazon, there is a single individual whose neck is on the line for providing a set of cohesive cloud services. Thus, there is a need for a benevolent dictator in the OpenStack community.
  • AWS APIs Rule:  Many graduating students are getting their training in building applications using the Amazon AWS APIs because many universities have started letting their undergraduate students do their projects on AWS due to agility and cost reasons. Since OpenStack is playing catchup with AWS, it is critical for OpenStack to mimic AWS APIs in order to make it easier for new graduating students to code to OpenStack APIs.  So far Amazon has not started any litigation against OpenStack, and thus, copying AWS APIs is a positive strategy to pursue.
  • Difficult to Deploy and maintain:  Most of the enterprises that have successfully deployed OpenStack have either employed an army of consultants or are large government agencies with an army of internal hackers/developers. Furthermore, since the APIs/content is changing with every release of OpenStack, it requires expensive full-time technically savvy people to constantly maintain OpenStack deployments.

In conclusion, I want people to have an open source alternative in the Cloud OS space in order for people to have choice and also a vehicle to innovate. I want to see the OpenStack initiative succeed, and that is why I am highlighting the issues that I want to see get addressed.


Equinix Programmable Network (EPN): A Dynamic Foundation for Multi-cloud

June 25th, 2022 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Cloud computing is here to stay. Most enterprise CIOs I speak with are turning to the cloud to increase business agility and enable elasticity for both their application portfolios and business processes. And, in almost all cases, they are adopting more than one cloud platform to support their business applications – applications that require multiple services that run on multiple clouds. This practice of multi-cloud, multi-platform deployments addresses the unique requirements of these business applications, while also providing better value via higher availability and scale than single cloud deployments.

Yet, the move to this multi-cloud architecture can be hindered by the time and effort it takes to provision individual ports and connections to each cloud platform – often measured in weeks, not the seconds that are required to be truly agile. We designed the Equinix Cloud Exchange specifically to meet these provisioning needs and enable customers to connect to multiple cloud service providers (CSPs) either via colocating in an Equinix data center, or through their choice of network services providers (NSPs) through a single port connection.

At the heart of Equinix Cloud Exchange is the Equinix Programmable Network (EPN), the foundational layer that enables this.  EPN takes a software-defined networking (SDN) approach and allows customers to self-provision these connections instantaneously. It’s highly scalable, provides ease of management via automation and ensures customers can maintain a vendor-neutral strategy.

As we continue to develop the EPN platform, we are ensuring that the core of the EPN software adheres to the following principles:

  • Agility and Management at Scale: Manually provisioning, monitoring and trouble-shooting network connections isn’t practical in an agile, multi-cloud era, in which CSPs, NSPs and cloud integrators deal with thousands of enterprises. EPN allows users to control network service management via a proven set of APIs that allow customers to self-provision multiple new connections instantaneously. Equinix Cloud Exchange is able to manage at scale because EPN has been architected to leverage an SDN-based approach, where users specify their requirements in high-level service-based terms and EPN automates the underlying low-level network management operations.
  • Modular Architecture: EPN employs a modular, service-based architecture through which new services are described via high-level YANG language models. Today, EPN provides Layer 2 connection management, virtual local area network (VLAN) management and link aggregation services. However, its modular architecture makes it easy for EPN to roll out new services in future releases at higher Open System Interconnection (OSI) networking layers and also to orchestrate third-party network management services.
  • Multi-Cloud Awareness: From the very beginning, EPN has been designed to operate in a multi-cloud environment. Thus, it uses the notion of “transactions” to configure distributed resources (e.g. switches) across multiple clouds as a single atomic operation.
  • Vendor Neutrality: EPN is a logically centralized SDN subsystem that is hardware vendor-agnostic. The SDN subsystem abstracts the underlying network topology. This allows both cloud providers and enterprises using EPN to seamlessly deploy switches from multiple vendors and maintain a vendor-neutral strategy.

In sum, just as Equinix has grown to become a leader in providing interconnectivity solutions to Enterprises and NSPs, we are also leading the cloud interconnectivity industry through the capabilities of Equinix Cloud Exchange.  Equinix Cloud Exchange is a multi-cloud interconnectivity solution that satisfies the high performance, availability and security requirements of today’s CIOs.  With Equinix Programmable Network (EPN) at its core, it provides us with a software-defined, next-generation network management platform. EPN and Cloud Exchange put Equinix, its customers and its partners squarely at the forefront of the cloud industry.


Everyone is Talking about Docker Containers

June 24th, 2022 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Recently at the Google Cloud Platform Live, Amazon re:Invent, VMWare VWorld and at the OpenStack conference, everyone was talking about Docker containers. Even Microsoft has recently announced that it will provide support in the Windows operating system for Docker containers.  In this blog I will briefly talk about what is Docker, why is there so much excitement about it, and my take on how this development offers more choices to the end customers.

Simply put, Docker is an application level container mechanism. The main difference between a Docker container and a Virtual Machine container is that a Docker container is a lighter weight container that does not package the guest OS inside it, whereas, a Virtual Machine container is a heavier container that packages a guest OS. Thus, multiple Docker containers share the same underlying OS, whereas, each VM container has its own guest OS.  The Docker container paradigm allows one to have stateless application level compute containers, and it also allows for the storing of the persistent state of an application in a separate Docker storage container that can be shared across multiple Docker application containers.

In addition to a Docker container, one also needs a container orchestrator to move a Docker container between the nodes in a cluster, and eventually, across clouds. Google and Amazon are both supporting competing Docker container orchestrator initiatives. Google is putting its weight behind the Kubernetes open source initiative, and Amazon has recently announced the EC2 Container Service.  Cisco and VMWare are also planning to provide support for Docker containers in their multi-cloud initiatives such as InterCloud and vCloud Air.

The reason why there is so much excitement about Docker containers is because of the light-weight nature of these containers one can pack more Docker containers on to a physical server than VM containers.  Thus, this leads to higher resource utilization. Docker containers also allow for the seamless movement of applications across physical machines regardless of the hypervisors running on those physical machines. Eventually, the goal of the Docker paradigm is to allow developers to specify the infra-structure level policies with respect to performance, disaster recovery, security etc. at the Docker container level, and for the orchestrator to interpret these policies and take the necessary actions. This key development gives more control to the application developer with respect to the underlying infra-structure.

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, I am particularly excited about the following additional benefit which I think has not been talked about much in the community. Currently, it is not easy for a customer to easily move the entire state of their application across the different IaaS vendors because each of the IaaS vendors uses a different hypervisor or container mechanism. Thus, in future, if applications are architected into a combination of stateless application compute Docker containers, and stateful Docker storage containers, then this gives an application the freedom to move the stateless compute containers across the different IaaS providers, while keeping the stateful storage containers in a common location such as an Equinix datacenter that can be efficiently accessed from all of the IaaS vendors’ infra-structure.

Furthermore, this also allows various storage and database vendors (both SQL and NoSQL) to host their storage/database as a service in the Equinix datacenter. The net winner out of this entire paradigm shift will be the customers because they will be able to build their distributed multi-cloud applications by leveraging the services across multiple IaaS vendors while maintaining the stateful components of their applications in a common location like the Equinix datacenter. I am a strong believer in giving more choices to the customers, and whenever, there is a paradigm like the Docker containers, that allows customers to separately shop for compute and storage services, I am all in favor of it.


The Best Twitter Plugins For WordPress

June 23rd, 2022 | Posted in Twitter, Uncategorized

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems or CMS that is widely used by various organizations, businesses as well as individuals. A range of online applications are made frequently using this CMS. A lot of users make use of Twitter plugins for WordPress in order to popularize their site and attract more potential customers towards the business or brand. Following are some of the most popular twitter Plugins for WordPress.

WPtouch

This plugin is undoubtedly one of the best Twitter plugins that you will use for WordPress. It offers some excellent features and usability to users. It works as a powerful mobile theme and helps to transform the blog into an iPhone application. Not only does it gives you a lot of style and theme for the articles, but works brilliantly with AJAX driven-loading of articles. You can transform your site in a stylish version for the mobile phone users with the help of WPtouch.

BuddyPress

This is another popular Twitter plugin for WordPress which is a hit among the social community. It allows the user to register for a site after which you can create the profiles and post messages etc. With this plugin, you will be easily able to create connections and interact with the other members of the group existing within the network. In simpler words, it will help you to achieve your personal and professional goals through these social networking sites.

AddThis

This popular Twitter plugin is widely known for its usability features. It is basically a Social Bookmarking Widget that is mainly used for sharing and bookmarking, thereby allowing the user to share and bookmark a site for the specific content that it has.

Wordbooker

With the help of Wordbooker Twitter plugin for WP, you can do cross posting to the Facebook Group, Fan Page or even Wall. You can use it as a Note, Status update or extract. A major reason behind the popularity of this twitter plugin is its ease of use and high visibility.

Network Publisher

It is one of the best Twitter Plugins for WordPress to keep your fans updated about the blog posts. With the help of this Twitter plugin you can publish the blog post automatically to various social networks including Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn etc. Also, it allows your follower to re-tweet blogs to the follower. Thus, if you are looking for a simple way to expand your follower base and display informative blog post, then Network Publisher is a must for you.

podPress

This WP plugin allows the ease of hosting a podcast. Not only will you get automatic feed generation in this Twitter plugin for WordPress but also various features like Podcast Download stats etc. This plugin supports a wide range of formats including that of Video podcasting.

IntenseDebate Comments

This twitter plugin offers you a wide range of uses. It is one of the best plugin when it comes to managing access to the files, pages and posts of a user. It helps to start a conversion on a blog. You can use it for building a self reader communality which will help to increase the comment on your blog and will surely increase your follower count.

All these Twitter plugins will definitely help you to get more Twitter followers, thereby helping you to popularize your brand and create more awareness.


Accenture Acquires Cloud Sherpas To Enhance Cloud Consulting Chops, Especially Around Salesforce.com

June 22nd, 2022 | Posted in Business, Uncategorized

Accenture, the worldwide consulting company, announced today it was buying Cloud Sherpas, a firm that specializes in helping companies incorporate cloud services like Salesforce.com, Google and ServiceNow into the enterprise.

Accenture did not disclose the purchase price.

It’s not a coincidence that this announcement came as Dreamforce, the enormous Salesforce.com customer conference, is taking place in San Francisco this week. The acquisition actually has a lot do with Salesforce consulting services.

Accenture already has a team of more than 2700 consultants devoted to helping with Salesforce integration. They will be adding 500 additional Salesforce experts with the Cloud Sherpas deal.

“The context is Accenture has been driving a cloud first agenda in response to clients focusing on the cloud increasingly as a platform to fuel transformation,” Saideep Raj, global managing director at Accenture told TechCrunch. The deal certainly helps expand the Salesforce consulting team, but it’s more than that, Raj said.

Cloud Sherpas also brings experience with Google as Google’s largest consulting partner and ServiceNow, a company that Accenture is seeing embedded in an increasing number of enterprise processes where service is a key component.

Cloud Sherpas, has been around since 2007 and has grown into a worldwide consultancy with over 1100 employees, who will now be part of Accenture. As soon as the deal closes. They will join the newly created Accenture Cloud First Applications team.

If cloud computing is supposed to simplify computing, you may wonder why it would require a consulting team to help implement cloud solutions, and that’s a legitimate question. Companies moving to the cloud have lots of issues around digitization and transformation, and working with existing legacy applications alongside cloud applications. There are also issues of more complex custom integrations with a product as sophisticated as Salesforce.

That’s where Cloud Sherpas comes into play. While Accenture has also been helping companies make this move to the cloud, even before the acquisition, this gives them a huge team of experienced consultants to expand that consulting unit with one stroke of a pen on a check.

Cloud Sherpas formed at a time when the idea of Software as a Service in the enterprise was just beginning to develop as a mainstream concept. While Salesforce.com launched in 1999, many of today’s biggest cloud companies weren’t even around at that point. It was a company well ahead of the market need in that regard.

“We saw several things including demand from users of technology, not just as it relates to corporate transactions, but enabling the user experiences around mobile technology. The cloud was uniquely suited  to this and we thought it was going to take off and resonate with users,” David Northington, Cloud Sherpas CEO said.

Over the years, the cloud services have gotten better, and the projects have grown increasingly sophisticated. Northington says that as part of Accenture, that should only accelerate.

Today, there is all kinds of complexity in spite of the cloud notion of simplicity. If you’re integrating  enterprise cloud service into an existing enterprise stack, it sometimes takes help. For instance, companies working with Salesforce Wave, the company’s analytics platform might need help connecting to the various data sources and create the kinds of custom reports a company might need.

But it’s more than helping implement a single service, it’s about stitching together a range of services from a single vendor like Salesforce or across services, and that’s where this combination could really shine, Raj explained.

Cloud Sherpas has raised over $63 million, according to Crunchbase.