Running an OpenStack hardware business is a tough proposition. Just ask OpenStack founder Chris Kemp, who also founded failed startup Nebula.
Despite the risks, Toronto-based technology vendor Breqwtr is hoping it's up to the challenge and announced its Cloud Appliance 2.0 on June 17.
John Kadianos, founder and CEO at Breqwatr, explained that his company focuses on making it easier for an organization to deploy and manage an OpenStack cloud.
"The idea behind Breqwater is to deliver a completely enclosed private cloud, including compute, storage, networking, automation and cloud management in a two-rack unit (2U) hardware appliance," Kadianos told eWEEK.
Breqwater had been incubating within consulting firm Hyper Technologies, which emerged as a company on May 1.
The new Cloud Appliance 2.0 provides a curated version of OpenStack, including a new graphical user interface (GUI). Many OpenStack distributions use the OpenStack Horizon dashboard as the default GUI, but that's not the approach being taken by Breqwater.
"We felt that Horizon is a very technical interface and is not sufficient for our goal of simplicity," Kadianos said. "So we have created from scratch a brand-new front end and we are 100 percent feature-compatible with Horizon."
Breqwater adds a number of things that Horizon typically does not include, such as hardware visibility. The Breqwater Cloud Appliance is a four-node cluster. If an administrator wants to go into a single node and put it in to a maintenance mode, that is possible.
"What the system does is it live-migrates the virtual instances from the node going into maintenance onto the other three nodes," Kadianos said.
Breqwater also has added visibility into its management interface for accessing and connecting to external storage. While Breqwater has some unique capabilities, the company is not building its own entire OpenStack distribution from scratch. Kadianos said that Breqwater is based on Ubuntu's distribution of OpenStack with many modifications.
From a hardware perspective, the Cloud Appliance 2.0 uses a Supermicro chassis and Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors. The idea of building hardware for OpenStack is not one that has been all that successful to date. Nebula, which was also involved in building hardware for OpenStack, ceased operations in April.
Kadianos said that he heard Nebula's founder, Kemp, speak at a conference in 2011, and he thought at the time that there would be a great market for a device that merged what Nebula was doing and what Nutanix does. Nutanix provides hyperconverged infrastructure for generic compute and storage, while Nebula, in Kadianos' view, provided a great controller for OpenStack.
"Nebula for us was the catalyst, and we just wanted to do it better, quite frankly," Kadianos said. "We're able to do everything that Nebula could accomplish in 6U in only a 2U appliance."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.