What is the NephOS Cloud Platform?
Why do Data Center Services, Platform Services, and Orchestration Services matter? With the recent acquisitions of Nicira and Dynamic Ops by VMWare and Xsigo Systems by Oracle it is clear that some of the biggest players are scrambling to reinvent their cloud strategy. Their goal seems to be adding flexibility and elasticity. At the same time Amazon continues to position on price with their latest effort to retain enterprise accounts by offering steep discounts for customers that commit to long-term-use rather than the on-demand instance options. At first glance, it may seem like the leading cloud services are either attempting to bolt on core functionality as an after-thought or offer commodities to the point where they have to compete on price.
At NephoScale, we believe that the platform for cloud services are definitely NOT the same between cloud vendors and price is not the most important factor in selecting a cloud service. In fact, the architecture, security and ease-of-use of the cloud service make all the difference in the ability for a customer to achieve success with the cloud whether that means test environments, deployments to production, ongoing production operation or auto-scaling. There are significant differences in quality and richness among cloud services not the least of which includes the level of customer support and service levels provided.
NephOS is the backbone of our next-generation cloud which has been developed by our team who built and used the first generation of cloud services. We have taken that practical experience and used it to develop NephoScale’s cloud service offerings. NephOS has been built from the ground up to create the most secure, scalable and manageable cloud infrastructure available. It allows you to “treat your infrastructure as code” and it is transforming the way applications are developed and delivered. NephOS provides the ability for granular control and management of cloud infrastructure while at the same time delivering a highly optimized and secure interface with the underlying infrastructure. Let’s take a look at how NephOS is designed and how the components fit together to provide this state of the art cloud environment.
The NephOS architecture is comprised of three distinct layers: Data Center Services, Platform Services and Orchestration Services.
The Data Center Services layer is where NephOS interfaces with the physical infrastructure and is comprised of Network Services, Compute Services and Storage Services. The Compute Services provide the interface between NephOS and the server datacenter resources that make up Cloudlet Virtual Servers and BareMetal Dedicated Servers. NephOS has optimized the best of datacenter components for cloud computing applications. The Storage Services provide the interface between NephOS and storage resources that make up the ObjectStor Cloud Storage. The Network Services layer includes the Elastic Networking technology that provides customers the ability to maintain a single network broadcast domain which allows Cloudlet Virtual Servers, BareMetal Dedicated Servers, ObjectStor Cloud Storage, and other NephoScale resources to efficiently and securely communicate with each other. This seamless hosting model allows customers to extend a single broadcast domain across both physical and geographic boundaries.
The Platform Services layer provides the connection between the Data Center Services and the Orchestration Services. This layer is comprised of Custom Server Images, Configuration Management, VNC Console Access, Cloud Storage Explorer, System and Application Monitoring and Change Management Auditing. These services provide a set of interfaces, automation and tools to manage datacenter infrastructure. Without this layer, you would have to try and cobble together a way to manage your infrastructure. We provide an interface for you to get the pulse of your datacenter environment. Platform Services also fully enable reseller partners to provide everything needed to offer a full featured cloud service. This includes Custom Server Images, CloudScript Templates, Configuration Management and billing and support for integration with ERP, CRM, and PSA systems.
Orchestration Services are the next layer on top of the Platform Services layer and provide the mechanism to provision and manage all aspects of the cloud infrastructure. This is the layer that allows you to treat infrastructure as code. CloudScript provides the environment to test, deploy and manage your application. For example, CloudScript can leverage monitoring of an environment that will feed data back into the system which can be used to trigger an event such as auto-scaling. This is how NephOS provides the ability for applications to control and manage the infrastructure. The system leverages CloudScript as the documentation repository for everything that happens in the environment. For example, even if you use the RESTful API to initiate activity, the NephOS platform will publish the CloudScript associated with that action.
One of the most important aspects of NephOS is that it provides idempotency. This means that the platform is aware of existing cloud infrastructure and it reacts to commands with the knowledge of what has been done before and behaves accordingly. For example when you launch a Cloudlet Virtual Server through our portal, API or CloudScript, if an error occurs you can repeat the request and be sure you haven't launched more instances than you intended. If you repeat the request, the same response is returned for each repeated request. The only information that might vary in the response is the state of the instance.
Now that we understand how NephOS is designed, let’s take a look at how it provides true value to customers.
First, the Data Center Services layer of NephOS was built to run mission critical applications with high performance, scalability and reliability requirements in order to maximize uptime and minimize latency. This results in increased profitability and customer satisfaction. Next, the Platform Services seamlessly manage complex automation processes and provide convenient access to underlying datacenter services. This helps to reduce errors and lowers operating costs. Further, the Unified Security Architecture helps to enforce security and IT governance policies across infrastructure, platform and datacenter services. Next, the Orchestration Services for testing, deploying, monitoring, and auto-scaling infrastructure services allow you to achieve true business agility and reduce time to market for applications. CloudScript provides an infrastructure programming language that boosts productivity of developers, quality and operations staff by providing a mechanism for collaboration and communication between management and contributors. Finally, NephOS provides access to a rich ecosystem of third-party partners that offer additional value-added products and services.
NephoScale’s Cloudlet Virtual Servers, Bare Metal Dedicated Servers and ObjectStor Cloud Storage are available today and are built upon the NephOS platform. Our next blog post will dive into details on Orchestration Services and CloudScript to explain in further detail how NephoScale provides intelligent management of the cloud. Follow our blog for more information about innovation in the cloud services space and how NephoScale is leading the industry in delivering secure, high performance and manageable cloud infrastructure solutions.
Director of Engineering, NephoScale