Nebula Expands Cosmos for Enterprise OpenStack Deployments

OpenStack cloud vendor Nebula, led by a former NASA CTO, provides new deployment, management and monitoring tools.

OpenStack cloud

Nebula today announced its latest Cosmos Enterprise Edition release with new features to enable enterprises to rapidly deploy and manage OpenStack clouds.

Nebula was founded by Chris Kemp, who helped get OpenStack started while he was NASA's CTO. Nebula's promise since its inception has been to enable enterprises with a turnkey cloud appliance, the Nebula One controller, powered by Cosmos OpenStack software.

Nebula has now been in the market for 18 months and has been steadily evolving the Cosmos software, according to CEO Gordon Stitt. The new Cosmos Enterprise Edition is technically the 1.3 version and is based on the open-source OpenStack Icehouse release, which debuted in April.

Nebula has added some features to make it easier for organization to integrate into an enterprise deployment. One such feature is full support for virtual LANs (VLANs), which are widely deployed across many enterprise networks.

"This is Nebula technology in terms of enhancing VLANs and putting a lot of capability into that," Stitt explained to eWEEK.

By making VLANs work in OpenStack in the same way they work inside enterprise networks today, it's easier for an organization to make the decision to deploy OpenStack with Nebula, Stitt said. While Nebula has developed the additional VLAN integration capabilities, the code is set to be contributed back to the upstream open-source OpenStack project, he said.

OpenStack as a cloud platform includes multiple projects to enable functionality. When it comes to networking, there is the Neutron networking project, which provides software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities. The OpenStack Nova compute project also provides networking features via the Nova network code.

"We submitted a blueprint during the OpenStack Atlanta Summit [last May] for an extension to Nova," Chris Kemp, Nebula CTO, explained to eWEEK. "We're the first vendor to implement this extended network functionality in Nova."

By leveraging Nebula's existing switch fabric, the company is able to leverage a hardware offload capability to push near-line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to a customer's network, Kemp said. OpenStack Nova has already been field-tested in large production environments, which makes it very reliable, he added.

"We won't have all of the richness and functionality that is in OpenStack Neutron and an SDN implementation, but it will be a lot more reliable, secure and faster," Kemp said. "At the end of the day, that's what matters."

Stitt said that, in general, enterprise reliability has a lot to do with an organization being familiar with a technology and its workflow. With the Nebula approach, there is no need for an enterprise to learn about SDN; rather, an organization can employ networking technology they already use and understand, he said.

From a management perspective, the Cosmos Enterprise Edition now has enhanced Microsoft Active Directory integration. Some organizations have some complex Active Directory structures, and the new Cosmos release is now able to integrate without limitations, Stitt said.

Monitoring also gets a boost in the Cosmos Enterprise Edition, beyond what the OpenStack Horizon monitoring project already offers.

"We're collecting all the logs from all the physical nodes, aggregating them and providing a feed that can be linked into an organization's existing monitoring system, whether that's Splunk, ArcSight, Nagios, or whatever the enterprise is using," Kemp said. "We've instrumented the entire system and engineered it to be easy to set up."

The continued ease of use emphasis that Nebula has had for OpenStack will pay dividends in the coming year, Stitt said. "We're looking forward to 2015 as a year where there will be a lot of announcements from large organizations that are implementing OpenStack and Nebula into production cloud environments," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.