ZeroStackLogo-250x85Next up in our preview to Virtualization Field Day 6 (VFD6) is ZeroStack. VFD6 is my first introduction to ZeroStack. ZeroStack has a bunch of buzz words going on in their solution. ZeroStack provides a hyper-converged infrastructure to build a private cloud consumed via OpenStack API’s and managed via a SaaS portal. There’s a lot to unpack in that offering. First let’s take a look at the company itself.

Company Overview

ZeroStack, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is a startup led by VMware Alum and Co-Founder Ajay Gulati. Bromium veteran and Co-Founder, Kiran Bondalapati is CTO. The primary investors include formation 8 and Foundation Capitol.

VFD Product Preview

I have to say this is going to be an interesting presentation. The product seems to be a mix between OpenStack managed SaaS provider Platform9, the defunct OpenStack appliance provider Nebula and Nutanix.

The solution looks like a scale-out appliance that provides private cloud infrastructure. ZeroStack provides an OpenStack API but doesn’t say that OpenStack is the backend platform. It’ll be interesting to understand the reasoning behind offering OpenStack APIs vs. just building the appliance based on OpenStack. There’s much debate on if a solution live VMware should provide an OpenStack APIs vs. adding a VMware specific distribution to the market.

I’m also curious with all of the options available on the market for APIs why did ZeroStack choose OpenStack. In theory, they could have skinned their solution with an AWS or Azure compatible API. I don’t know how many customers are specifically asking for the OpenStack API for consuming infrastructure vs. the ability to customize their infrastructure with OpenStack. Personally, I think there’s some value in creating a foundation for a hybrid cloud based on one of the two most popular public cloud APIs.

My other curiosity is why an appliance? Nebula was a bit too early with the appliance model for OpenStack. The market wasn’t ready, and the financial burden of hardware validation is significant vs. a software only solution.

Another aspect I’m interested in is the SaaS-based management platform. Again, my assumption is that the appliance doesn’t run OpenStack code but rather some ZeroStack secret sauce. One of the complexities of running OpenStack is the management layers. Platform9 solves the problem by running OpenStack’s management layer within their infrastructure. I’m guessing that ZeroStack mixes the components between the Cloud and appliance.

Conclusion

I like companies that take chances on innovation – even with all of the buzz words. I have a ton of initial questions. I get that my workloads are local to my data center but what happens if my relationship with ZeroStack ends? What levels of customizations are available? One of the advantages of OpenStack is that it’s open source. With ZeroStack, I get the OpenStack API but lose the flexibility of open source. Is the OpenStack API that critical?

I’m looking forward to the presentation and seeing a different take on private cloud offerings.

ZeroStack – Virtualization Field Day 6 Preview
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