Mesosphere lifts lid on SDK to simplify distributed app dev

Along with certification, Mesosphere is rolling out a free developer program and an open-source software development kit.

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CTO and co-founder Tobias Knaup: One of the goals here is to create a rich community of app developers. Image: Mesosphere

Barely a month after announcing general availability and a free edition of its management platform for cloud and datacenter resources, Mesosphere today launched a developer program and SDK designed to help those creating large-scale distributed systems.

The San Francisco firm is also unveiling a certification scheme, which provides specifications and testing for services created for Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System, or DCOS, which it describes as providing a way to pool resources across a datacenter as if it were a single machine.

DCOS is based on the Apache Mesos open-source distributed systems kernel. Its purpose is to simplify admin and speed up software development through tools and APIs for writing distributed systems. Major web firms already using Mesos or the Mesosphere software include Airbnb, HubSpot, Netflix, Twitter and Yelp.

Access to the open-source software development kit comes with membership of the free developer program, together with documentation, a template reference project and a lightweight development environment for desktops and laptops.

"Think of distributed applications, like the next NoSQL database, the next machine-learning application, deep-learning trading applications - really anything that's too big to run on a single machine. We now enable these developers to build these systems very easily," Mesosphere CTO and co-founder Tobias Knaup said.

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"DCOS takes care of all the plumbing, so you don't have to figure out how to get your code onto a machine, you don't have to figure out how to make your code work in different environments like on prem and cloud. You don't have to worry about how to package your application and ship it to customers. That's all taken care of by the SDK."

The SDK's packaging system reduces the installation of distributed software such as Kafka real-time stream-processing, in-memory store MemSQL or permanent memory store Cassandra to a simple command-line instruction, according to Mesosphere.

Other advantages of using the kit in combination with DCOS include container and Docker scheduling, elasticity, scalability and high availability features, portability, and multi-tenancy of services, with DCOS pooling and isolating multiple frameworks in a single cluster .

"One of the goals here is to create a rich community of application developers, the same as you're seeing in mobile development. We really want to make it as easy as possible for these folks to develop," Knaup said.

"Back at Airbnb, before we started Mesosphere, we were in that situation. We needed to build a distributed system to run our data pipeline. That thing is now known as [distributed and fault-tolerant scheduler Apache] Chronos. We built it there and open-sourced it. We built it on Mesos.

"Building distributed systems is extremely hard. In the past you kind of needed a PhD. But because Mesos was available we were able to build and deploy that in just three months, with just a few thousand lines of code, which would otherwise have been many tens of thousands of lines of code. That's really the power of it."

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Members of the developer program also gain access to support, which includes a custom Google Group and a live Slack Channel for real-time chat with Mesosphere engineers and other developers.

Members can also apply to join the VIP Partners program, consisting of services such as more tailored support and help with certification.

Mesosphere engineering product manager Keith Chambers said the certification process provides specifications that describe the appearance, qualities, and properties of services, and how they need to operate on the command line.

"If you look in the open-source Mesos community, you see a lot of different frameworks out there of varying degrees of quality. Our end customers [need] to know that if I'm going to run a framework, if I'm going to trust my business on this, that it's a trusted framework," Chambers said.

"They know it's been inspected by Mesosphere and that we and our partners stand behind it and they also know that they can get 24/7 production support for it. It allows us bring partners into our ecosystem quicker and make sure that our customers always have a high-quality experience."

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