This post is live-blogged from the Platform9 presentation at #VFD4. The structure and organization will undoubtedly be poor, since this is all captured on the fly from our chat.
Platform9 was started in 2013 and was founded by (surprise, surprise) ex-VMware, Cisco, etc. employees. They came out of stealth around VMworld 2014 time. Their goal is to make private cloud easy for organizations of any scale. Running a AWS-like system internally via OpenStack is possible, but requires lots of knowledge, skill, and frankly time invested. Platform9’s goal is to bring this service to companies who don’t have the skills or budget to create an OpenStack (or other) based private cloud with ease. According to CEO Sirish, public cloud gets too expensive at scale, and private cloud can provide the same services at less expense once you get to a certain scale. He says that TCO of OpenStack will be good if you have in-house OpenStack “ninjas,” but TCO will be too high if you don’t. This is where Platform9 will come in. You could use a hosted OpenStack offering, but at that point, why not just use public cloud?
Platform9 is essentially a cloud-managed OpenStack as a Service model, which will manage on-premises resources. I noted in my prep post, and again during the presentation, that I have no problem with this model myself, but many customers are still uncomfortable with the cloud-management model. We’re still working on that paradigm shift. We walked through a demo of initial setup, where we saw the Platform9 agent downloaded and installed on a server to discover an existing workload and add it to your private cloud. Communication between the agent and the controller is all PKI based. We also saw how the system uses the concept of “host aggregates” to logically pool resources and show usage using key-value pairs for grouping. We dove into configuration of multi-tenancy and authentication (RBAC, 2-factor auth). It turns out that at this time there’s no approval process for workload provisioning, only quotas. That will work, but it’s little clunky. We discussed reporting and it seems that at this time, the insight/reporting may be a bit lacking.
Upgrades are handled by Platform9 from an OpenStack perspective. Of course, their agents will need updated, for which they install a few yum packages on managed machines. vCenter integration is by way of a downloaded OVA which is deployed and performs the discovery and mediation with the vSphere environment. Naturally, with a cloud-based management model, we spent a long time talking about security. It came down to the same thing it usually comes down to – what is required is really a paradigm shift; a cultural change in the organization will be required to make this a viable option. From a purely technical security standpoint, it’s not that scary.
That’s it for this one! Join us again in about an hour for VMTurbo!