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Podcast: Can cloud-in-a-box deploy a cloud in an hour?

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Developers often find public clouds faster and better-equipped for building and deploying cloud-based applications. Accelerite strikes back with a private cloud alternative.

Is it possible to go from "zero to cloud in 60 minutes," as Accelerite CEO Nara Rajagopalin would have us believe? In this podcast, Rajagopalin explains how the company fused products it acquired into a cloud-in-a-box platform for fast provision, development and deployment.

Accelerite has an unusual business model. The company in Santa Clara, Calif., acquires software and hardware products it deems underloved from other vendors, then unites the pieces into broader platforms that offer capabilities the individual products could not.

Just two weeks into 2016, Accelerite snapped up the Citrix CloudPlatform for developing, managing and deploying cloud infrastructure services. Accelerite also acquired the Aepona IoT (internet of things) platform from Intel in 2015 and the Radia endpoint-management platform from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HP at the time) in 2014. These acquisitions are among the drivers behind Accelerite's push to the so-called 60-minute cloud with an appliance called CloudSense.

Rajagopalin says that cloud spending falls into two categories:

  • Public cloud, in which developers use platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Azure or IBM Bluemix as their foundation for application development.
  • Private virtualization environment, which is often the preferred choice of IT administrators and may use VMware or KVM (Linux kernel-based virtual machine) to run production workloads.
There is no private cloud infrastructure available today that is easy to use and straightforward to implement.
Nara RajagopalinCEO, Accelerite

"Enterprise application developers are not coming to this virtualization environment and creating their own clouds, because it is not geared for that," Rajagopalin says. Developers are forced to contact IT to provision virtual machines, and there are no APIs to do continuous integration of deployment.

The result, in his opinion, is a chasm between the public environment favored by developers and their inability to spin up similar development resources on IT's preferred private virtualization environment. "There is no private cloud infrastructure available today that is easy to use and straightforward to implement," he says. "That is the challenge we are out to solve."

Cloud-in-a-box is beneficial to developers

While it might seem like an appliance-based, private-cloud-computing device with near-instant deployment capabilities would usurp the role of developers, Rajagopalin says the opposite is reality. With a public cloud model, "developers get to focus on what they are really good at, which is developing applications," he says.

Today, developers are accustomed to using a service, such as Amazon, with prepackaged capabilities, including scale-out, database provisioning and development platform configuration. Conversely, if corporate governance requires a private environment instead, the time-consuming provisioning of resources that must be initiated by developers detracts from their mission, he says.

"If I'm an enterprise developer and I'm comparing what's available on Amazon, I have everything that I want," Rajagopalin says. Should the developer need to spin up a SQL database instance or a Hadoop cluster, it can be done in minutes via the company's CloudSense appliance. "It's a complete scale-out infrastructure that's available on tap."

Accelerite's idea was to bring similar capability and speed to enterprise, private-cloud virtualized infrastructures, including scalable API-based services for database, analytics and internet of things. "We wanted to have all of that available instantaneously," Rajagopalin says. The resulting Accelerite offering is CloudSense, an appliance-based, cloud-in-a-box product based on the CloudPlatform acquired from Citrix.

In the remainder of the podcast, Rajagopalin explains the underlying technology of the CloudSense appliance and comments on the concept of parameter-driven containerization.

Next Steps

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PaaS gets a new look thanks to containers

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What factors led you to choose public or private cloud for your development infrastructure?
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Well, it was good to learn from Mr. Rajagopalin that Accelerite is doing something with the former Citrix CloudPlatform, aka Apache CloudStack.  Easy provisioning of private cloud infrastructure has been a very pressing problem to solve in the private cloud market. In the past, enterprise IT might have been able to deliver a production grade private cloud if they had several years of funding and the in-house experience to do it.  Accelerite CloudSense looks like it can eliminate the complexity of deploying a private cloud by substantially reducing the time it takes to do it. The fact that CloudSense is based on using CloudPlatform works in their favor because Apache CloudStack has been deployed with success in the creation of both public and private clouds. OpenStack, which has overshadowed CloudStack, has been made consumable thanks to OpenStack distributions from Red Hat and Mirantis.  OpenStack service and management platform vendors, Platform9 and ZeroStack, have come up with their own twist on delivering OpenStack to private cloud builders. CloudStack is still in the game and Accelerite is doing what needs to be done with CloudSense to help make CloudPlatform an easy choice for private cloud builders.
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So some CIOs are still spending money getting their staff to deliver a less complete service at higher cost than AWS?
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Here's an easy way to get an OpenShift / Kubernetes cluster up and running for CaaS or PaaS environments - https://blog.switchbit.io/openshift-cluster-up-with-docker-for-mac/
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