Piston's Airframe is free OpenStack pilot version for enterprises

Piston has debuted Airframe, a free version of its enterprise OpenStack cloud platform distribution that includes all of the core components of the platform including compute, storage and networking but not the high availability, zero downtime, professional support offered with the enterprise subscription.

As the OpenStack field expands, its founders are taking steps to stay ahead of the pack.

Yesterday, Piston Computing, whose chief executive is the OpenStack co-creator from NASA, announced availability of a free OpenStack enterprise cloud distribution which gives potential customers a robust pilot version with all of the core capabilities sans the fancy bells and whistles.

Piston's Airframe, which was made available to VMWorld attendees this week, is a robust evaluation version with the core components of OpenStack including compute, storage, management and networking component without professional support and the other high availability and automated features provided in the enterprise subscription version.

It comes with a bundled version of VMware's Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service but it does not offer live migration, live scale-out, or gridcentric virtual memory streaming, executives said. 

Evaluators can rely on community support and test out all of the core cloud building features, said Josh McKenty, an OpenStack founder and CEO of Piston. The OpenStack pioneer claims enterprises can get the platform installed in 10 minutes or less. 

"We have 2000 [leads]in our CRM system who said they'd like to look at it but they're not ready to deploy," McKenty said of OpenStack. "There was an obvious gap. We need to give the user community a tool they can use to move themselves forward."

The other OpenStack founder, Rackspace, recently launched a private cloud platform and other OpenStack beckers including the two top Linux distributors are preparing OpenStack distributions.

NASA and Rackspace co-founded OpenStack in 2010. The open source cloud platform now has more than 175 supporters. 

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