Piston Cloud adds Iocane Micro-OS to OpenStack

There are many competitors in the OpenStack segment of the cloud computing market. Although each is starting with the same ingredients, they are all trying to add something special to differentiate their own offering.

The OpenStack community is dynamic to say the least. OpenStack offerings are now available through many of the major hardware suppliers, the operating system suppliers, cloud service operators and through software integrators. Piston Cloud, one of these competitors, believes that OpenStack will taste much better with a little Iocane added.

Iocane is Piston Cloud's micro virtual machine software kernel.

Who is OpenStack?

OpenStack offers the following introduction:

The OpenStack Foundation promotes the development, distribution and adoption of the OpenStack cloud operating system. As the independent home for OpenStack, the Foundation has already attracted more than 9,500 individual members from 100 countries and 850 different organizations, secured more than $10 million in funding and is ready to fulfill the OpenStack mission of becoming the ubiquitous cloud computing platform.

What is OpenStack?

The OpenStack Foundation describes OpenStack as follows:

OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface

Who is Piston Cloud?

Several of the creators of OpenStack got together to put their own stamp on the OpenStack project and build a highly managable, highly secure, commercial grade software product.

Piston Cloud 3.0 is designed to deliver, in Piston Cloud's view, "the easiest, fastest, and best way to run OpenStack, at less than a third of the cost of public cloud."

The company would point out that its OpenStack product delivers a great deal of flexibility so that customers can run their own "hands-free software-defined datacenter, making OpenStack deployment and management even easier than before.

Piston Cloud 3.0 focused on enhancing storage; networking; a new cluster management API and toools; better remote technical support; and multi-region management offering a new management dashboard.

What is Iocane?

One of the features of Piston Cloud that I found rather interesting was the inclusion of a small, tightly controlled, highly secure virtual machine manager called Iocane. The name Iocane is an inside joke. The company is playing on an element, Iocane Powder, that was found in the wonderful film The Princess Bride. Iocane Powder is a fictional odorless, tasteless poison coming from Australia.

Piston Cloud's Iocane is a micro virtual machine manager that is derived from a very small Linux kernel. Piston's experts have carefully selected a collection of packages that would allow workloads executing on Piston Cloud's OpenStack cloud to be highly manageable and also highly secure. Since the workloads wouldn't be allowed to know much about the overall computing environment, the Piston Cloud engineers thought odorless and tasteless was a good description of their environment. I enjoyed their sense of humor.

Snapshot Analysis

I don't hear as much about Piston Cloud as I do from other folks in the OpenStack community, such as Red Hat, Mirantis, Dell, IBM and SUSE. That's unfortunate because Piston Cloud appears to have added some interesting and very useful enhancements that companies interested in OpenStack and Cloud Computing should know about.