Almost two years after its first announcement, Nebula has finally launched its much-hyped Nebula One turnkey solution that can transform an ordinary bunch of servers into a cloud platform running OpenStack.
We first heard about Nebula back in 2011 at OSCON, where company founder and former NASA CTO Christopher Kemp stated that its goal was to build systems that would “last for generations to come”. Since then, Kemp has spent the last two years securing funding and honing his ideas, leaving us to wonder if an when they’ll ever become a reality. But finally they have, Nebula One is here at last, and by the sounds of it, it’s going to be well worth the wait.
Kemp says that Nebula One is built on the company’s “Cloud Controller”, which is essentially a piece of hardware that’s able to transform server racks into scalable systems combining networking, compute and storage capabilities in just one machine. Nebula One runs Cosmos, the firm’s distributed enterprise cloud operating system, in order to configure the servers plugged into it. Kemp says that the solution is designed to be self-serviced, and can support APIs for Amazon Web Services as well as OpenStack. In addition, it can plug into IBM, HP or Dell servers.
Basically, Nebula One operates as a kind of command-and-control system for servers, tethering them together so that their combined power can be consolidated into a single machine. By plugging multiple servers into Nebula One, it’s possible to for a single person to control them from a laptop rather than have several people running around trying to operate a software console. What’s more, it promises to be a cost-effective solution to – for around just $100,000, Nebula One promises to enterprises the same degree of computing power as Google, Microsoft or Amazon.com.
Despite its promise, Nebula One will have its work cut out in what is already a deeply competitive industry. Providers like Mirantis are already around helping companies to setup OpenStack, while companies like Cloudscaling and Piston Cloud have come up with alternative cloud systems. Then of course we have the biggies – EMC, IBM and Oracle – who are all pursuing their own agendas in this new era of integrated computing systems.
So what gives Nebula One the edge in such a crowded battlefield? According to Kemp, one key difference is Nebula One’s ability to strip down the complexity of launching an OpenStack cloud, and presuming that this really is the case, this will be its most crucial advantage. If Nebula One really can make OpenStack as easy to deploy as Kemp says it can, we’re likely to see a lot more enterprises that start showing an interest in setting up their own private cloud.