Canonical, the company behind the Linux-based OS Ubuntu, is promising a private cloud infrastructure deployment service that it says takes exactly five days to complete, costs $9,000 and comes ready for channel resale.
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Canonical delivers the Jumpstart program using OpenStack as the cloud computing architecture in combination with DevOps program Juju, which enables end users to manage expansion more easily over time.
“We need to explain to people how Juju works which is a little complex. But once you understand how to use it, you can do large deployments very easily. We’ve completely standardized the private cloud deployment process through Juju,” said Nick Barcet, Ubuntu Cloud product manager.
“Using a cloud Infrastructure as a Service, people can create their own environment, test it, go to production and deploy it at high speeds whether it is on the public or private cloud,” he said.
Private cloud deployment involves technical and knowledge transfer
As for implementation, Canonical service engineers go on-site and first define with the customer the objective of the deployment. Then engineers explain implementation to the customer at each step of the build-out.
“We limit ourselves to deployment on up to 20 servers that customers provide. If customers want to deploy an infrastructure as a solution on 200 servers, we start with 20 and then expand,” Barcet said. “Once the deployment is completed, as part of the Jumpstart program, we offer the 30 day Ubuntu Advantage program, which provides long-term support for customers for an additional cost.”
Customers have different needs based upon what they want to achieve with their clouds. “Some people will focus a lot on the compute part, while others focus more on the storage part. Based on the focus of the customer, we will slightly modify the standard program to better fit each need,” Barcet said.
Another consideration during implementation is security. “The OpenStack environment is security-aware in the sense that it has been built to allow for multi tenancy requirements. Each virtual machine (VM) and the network traffic between each customer on the infrastructure are very closely isolated,” he said.
Who is seeking a private cloud infrastructure as a service?
Canonical is seeing interest coming from telecom companies and ISPs which plan to offer public cloud services using this private cloud infrastructure, as well as the Fortune 500.
Jumpstart also enables a hybrid cloud option since the architecture is compatible with public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services and the AT&T infrastructure. “This compatibility allows you to run some of your workload locally and on a public cloud infrastructure. Having that same language and Juju deployment tool that can deploy both to the public and private cloud makes it much more feasible,” Barcet said.
Canonical gets selective with private cloud deployment partners
While Canonical doesn’t have any partners signed up for the Jumpstart program yet, it has created a partner program that will prepare partners to resell Jumpstart.
“We have a very restricted number of partners that are fully qualified and whom we can work with for delivery of the program. This number is not going to grow very fast, because we want to ensure that the partners we are working with know the program as well as we do,” Barcet said.
To sell this program, partners must have at least two engineers who are fully involved in the OpenStack movement. “If you are not fully aware of what’s going on with the OpenStack project, you will have a lot of difficulties in delivering the leadership we expect from a partner,” Barcet said.
As for the partner business model, Canonical will “buy resources from the partner as a subcontractor.”
“Jumpstart will always be a Canonical led program with or without the help of partners for the delivery. We still need to maintain the direction of the project to ensure its quality. A partner will do the sale, then we will get a share of the revenue,” Barcet adds.
Partners eager to offer Jumpstart private cloud deployment program
Maya Hadati, head of Marketing & Business Development at eNovance, a France-based Ubuntu and OpenCloud environment reseller, believes reselling Jumpstart will grow her practice.
“We joined the OpenStack initiative and worked on ways to accommodate our clients to help them deploy their own cloud. Jumpstart perfectly fills that objective and is an excellent way for companies to test the benefits of open source cloud computing. For us, it is an additional way to evangelize open source technologies. We share the same values as Canonical, so it was natural and logical to work together on developing the Jumpstart offer in France,” Hadati says.
Specifically the Jumpstart program stands out from others because Canonical is confident and knowledgeable when it comes to OpenStack and the questions that customers may have.
“Most companies are anxious when they think about cloud computing: how difficult is it to 'cloudify' my applications, how much is it going to cost, how much expertise does my technical team have to acquire, etc.,” Hadati says. “In only 5 days, Jumpstart can answer most of these questions and you go through all the possible challenges your company is going to face in the near future. After these five days, you will have your own private cloud based on OpenStack, and be backed by the leader of the Ubuntu project.”