Blue Box Cloud Brings OpenStack On-Premises
Blue Box's managed model is an attempt to relieve organizations of the burden of dealing with OpenStack management complexity, as Blue Box's management technology allows for operational efficiency, according to Proudman. "There is a whole operational platform that we call Box Panel that collects data objects that are needed to operate and manage an OpenStack cloud and provides all the information on a centralized portal," he said. "It's that portal that allows us to drive our margins up and our prices down." Currently, the Box Panel is delivered as a hosted component, though Proudman said his company is working on enabling the management piece to be available as an on-premises option in the future. Proudman emphasized that Blue Box has taken multiple precautions to provide security for the Box Panel hosted component. "All the actual data for an environment stays on the customer's site; we're simply querying the data remotely through a VPN connection," he said.Blue Box isn't the first company with the idea of providing a managed hardware platform for OpenStack; it is something that failed startup Nebula had tried as well. There are some lessons learned from Nebula, which ceased operations on April 1, that Proudman is taking to heart as he deploys Blue Box OpenStack on-premises. He said Nebula was trying to build, operate and manage OpenStack while also building its own custom hardware with the Cosmos controller. "We made the decision to use off-the-shelf hardware devices that meet our OpenStack management requirements," Proudman said. "We are able to use other vendors' components instead of having to architect everything on our own." Enterprise Along with the on-premises platform, Blue Box is pushing forward with a new hosted edition. The Blue Box Enterprise Edition is a step up from the company's current hosted offering—while the existing Blue Box offering makes use of AMD processors, the new offering uses more powerful Intel-based compute platforms. "We've doubled the capabilities of the compute platform," Proudman said. Included with the Blue Box Enterprise Edition are the Tesora enterprise database-as-a-service platform based on the OpenStack Trove project and technology from AlertLogic that provides security as a service. Blue Box Enterprise also integrates Trillio Data for data backup capabilities. "The goal is to pull together the capabilities that enterprises need into a unified package that can be easily consumed," Proudman said. Blue Box is privately held and raised $14 million in Series B funding in two segments, the first coming in October 2014 and the second in January of this year. In total, Blue Box has raised $26.6 million in funding. Proudman said Blue Box still has cash in the bank from the latest funding round, and he is still investing in product development. "We think the market is ripe for innovation, and we're putting our money where our mouth is in that regard," Proudman said. "We feel confident about our runway and our capability to grow the business." Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
From an OpenStack cloud software perspective, Blue Box has its own OpenStack technology called "Ursula" that is available as open source on GitHub.