Data Center OS Maker Mesosphere Releases Its First SDK

Mesosphere DCOS is a highly scalable engine that enables the running of services and applications across a cluster of machines in a data center or cloud.

San Francisco-based startup Mesosphere, whose open source-based distributed operating system runs data centers and clouds belonging to Twitter, Yelp, Groupon and others, released its first developer program and software development kit on July 15.

The software development kit (SDK) will serve as the tool set for creating data center services that will run on the Mesos-powered and plainly named Data Center Operating System (DCOS), which the company purports to be the first actual data center operating system able to run thousands of nodes as a single virtualized entity.

The first edition of the SDK will come in two versions: the free community edition and the commercial enterprise option. They support Java, Go and Python; containers are used extensively; services can be packaged to enable cluster-wide installation and execution either through the DCOS Web user interface or command-line interface.

Mesosphere—"mesos" means "middle," and the name is a play on the thin atmospheric layer that rides above the clouds—is rolling out the new tools alongside partner programs for individual developers, ISVs, hardware providers and cloud providers to make it as easy as possible to develop and deploy distributed applications "to run at Twitter and Google scales," Matt Trifiro, Mesosphere senior vice president of marketing, told eWEEK.

Mesos is a 6-year-old Apache open source project, conceived at the University of California, Berkeley, that was announced as a joint collaboration with Mesosphere at DockerCon EU in December 2014. The company has come a long way in the seven months since then, as more and more enterprises retool their data centers to run DCOS.

Go here to see a video demonstration of Mesosphere DCOS.

Mesosphere DCOS is a highly scalable engine that enables the running of services and applications across a cluster of machines in a data center or cloud. It is highly container driven. It combines the Apache Mesos cluster manager with a number of open-source and proprietary components and allows services to be deployed and managed through both a custom Web UI and command-line interface.

No other operating system available at this time can run to the scale that Mesos can, Trifiro said.

"From a technical operating system perspective, running 40,000 cores in a data center is not that different from running the four cores in your laptop," Trifiro said. "It's just on a much larger scale. Both run multiple applications simultaneously, both have installed applications, both share utilities and resources, and so on. All of these things can potentially be scaled to the size of the data center."

Details of Developer Programs

Through the Mesosphere Developers Program, cloud providers can build adaptors and extensions that help the DCOS and DCOS services run uniquely well on their cloud, Trifiro said. System integrators can use the program and SDK to build custom DCOS services for customers.

VIP Partners also get access to Mesosphere's comprehensive certification program. This is a rigorous set of best-practices criteria, technical requirements and support guarantees that ensure an enterprise can run a partner's service in production and at scale. The certification process provides a trusted imprimatur to partner services, making it easier for buyers to purchase and implement in production.

Mesosphere is a company a lot of people are betting on to become a real IT leader in the mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) age. Andreessen Horowitz partner Peter Levine described Mesosphere as enabling the "new class of data center developer in the same manner that iOS created the mobile developer."

"What's so exciting about working with the Mesosphere DCOS is that it is the first actual operating system that exposes common services across thousands of machines for algorithmically allocating and de-allocating resources," said Ken Owens, CTO Cloud Infrastructure Services at Cisco. "By offering an SDK, Mesosphere is making it possible for vendors at all layers of the enterprise stack to write to common services that will accelerate the pace of enterprise adoption of large-scale distributed services."

"Since Mesosphere announced the Data Center Operating System in December, we've been talking about all the services we support to make developing applications for a data center as easy as developing applications for a laptop," blogger Derrick Harris wrote on the Mesosphere site. "Need a file system? Install HDFS. Need a messaging system? Try Kafka. Need a database? Give Cassandra a go.”

'Simple and Distributed'

Harris continued on the blog: "The operative words here are simple and distributed. Because it's built with Apache Mesos at its core, the DCOS natively takes care of common distributed computing headaches such as job scheduling, high availability, resource isolation and networking—meaning developers don't have to."

Developers inside companies that use the DCOS can tackle company-specific pain points by writing new distributed software for the platform that already powers many of the company's other services, Harris said.

"We already have large customers in the financial services, media and telecommunications industries, among others, but users of our free cloud-based Community Edition will also have ideas about how they could improve their operations with new distributed services," Harris wrote.

Developers anywhere can write the next big database, file system, monitoring tool or pretty much anything they want, Harris said. "They can rest easy knowing they don't have to be distributed-systems experts in order to do it, and that their creations will run the same anywhere that Mesosphere's DCOS is installed," he said.

"As the community of DCOS users grows large—and it will—there will be a natural market of potential adopters and buyers of custom-built DCOS services."

This all remains to be seen, certainly, but at this time, Mesosphere appears to be off to a strong start.

eWEEK will continue to monitor the progress of the DCOS.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...