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Piston Cloud Airframe — A Free Starter Package For Building An OpenStack Cloud

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Piston Cloud has built a free OpenStack distribution that is promised to include what is needed to evaluate the open cloud environment.

To really create a cloud environment and to make it useful, you can’t have it dependent on someone else to do it for you But just to get a cloud environment up and running is a task. And that’s the challenge that OpenStack faces. How to get people from working on OpenStack to working with OpenStack as Piston Cloud CEO Josh McKenty said in an interview last week.

Piston Cloud is approaching the problem by combining all the necessary pieces that go into building an OpenStack cloud. That means it has the compute, storage, networking, management and platform as a service (PaaS).

Airframe is meant to serve as a starter kit of sorts to give OpenStack a try. It’s a software package that can run on any commodity server. It is primarily meant for development and test or evaluation. The full Piston Cloud service is available as an upgrade.

Here’s a comparison chart comparing Airframe with what you get in OpenStack and Piston Cloud enterprise edition:

Airframe comes packaged with Cloud Foundry, the open source PaaS from VMware. Interesting to see this integration. VMware is not part of OpenStack but Cloud Foundry is becoming the defacto PaaS in the market.

Piston Cloud competes in the private cloud market with the likes of Eucalyptus Systems, Cloudstack and providers such as Rackspace.

Airframe makes sense as a way to evaluate OpenStack. It gives the company a bit of a head start in abstracting OpenStack’s complexity. My bet, though, is that most providers will be offering this kind of evaluation environment soon.  Piston Cloud’s biggest challenge will be in continuing to break down the complexity of OpenStack. Until then, scaling any kind of offering will be slow as most customers will need lots of attention to get up and going.

Piston Cloud will give out Airframe on USB sticks at VMworld. A free download will be available August 30 on the Piston Cloud web site.