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Has cloud helped cure open source’s scalability jinxes?
Open source software is providing the scalability clout to a new set of cloud products
As previously reported on Cloud Pro, commercial Ubuntu services company Canonical has launched a Metal-as-a-Service server orchestration product intended to give admin staff the power to provision and manage huge racks of cloud servers running Ubuntu.
So let’s take this at face value. This is enterprise scale technology built upon an essentially open source core in the shape of the Ubuntu distro. This is Canonical telling us that we are shifting from “scale” to “hyperscale” in the data centre. A comment that the firm underlines by saying that today Ubuntu is the number one operating system (open source or otherwise) on public, private and hybrid clouds.
What ever happened to open source scalability issues then?
Remember back when the open source MySQL relational database management system would come under fire for its scalability shortcomings and performance clumsiness when connected to big data sets? Those days are arguably behind us now if we look at Twitter’s decision over this past week to open source its MySQL code and help others deploy this technology at a "massively scaled" level.
“Due to our scale, we push MySQL a lot further than most companies. Of course, MySQL is open source software, so we have the ability to change it to suit our needs. Since we believe in sharing knowledge and that open source software facilitates innovation, we have decided to open source our MySQL work on GitHub under the BSD New license," write Jeremy Cole and Davi Arnaut on the Twitter developer blog.
It goes without saying that we need to mention OpenStack and the release of Essex, the fifth iteration of this open source cloud operating system project. With a whole raft of vendors now lining up as Platinum or Gold members of the OpenStack Foundation, the project is being described as both “complete” and “mature enough” to act as a foundation for real-world enterprise deployments.
Red Hat’s CTO Brian Stevens has allowed his name to be used on press quotes affirming his company’s backing of OpenStack. Stevens points to the new foundation governance model as a key enabler for an expansion of what he calls an “open and broad leadership community” around this technology. For Stevens, OpenStack is a gateway to open hybrid cloud at the enterprise level.
Back with Canonical we see that Metal-as-a-Service, or MaaS if you prefer, is aligned to support the deployment of infrastructures such as OpenStack, Hadoop, CloudStack, Load Balanced Web and Cloud Foundry. The open source enterprise massively scaled cloud has, arguably, come of age has it not?
The company followed up its release of MaaS this week with the additional announcement of a beta version of a cloud proxy product that provides APIs for OpenStack, which are also common to Amazon’s EC2 and related to AWS public cloud. Canonical is aiming to simplify the deployment of workloads across AWS and OpenStack based clouds when positioned in hybrid cloud configurations.
The cloud proxy, called “Any Web Service Over Me” (or AWSOME) translates IAAS requests from the AWS protocol to OpenStack’s native protocols, an approach that the firm says strengthens the commitment in the OpenStack community to robust OpenStack protocols while enabling users of AWS to access OpenStack clouds without significant porting efforts.
Just to be clear, it is not necessarily the case that open source has been criticised for poor scalability per se; rather it is a case of certain applications and use cases falling short from time to time. Either way, both open source and cloud appear to have moved on - thankfully in unison for the most part.