Virtualization Featured Article

The Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System Generally Available

June 10, 2015

Back in 2013 an intrepid group of entrepreneurs and engineers decided that when it came to operating a modern data center, including working with public clouds, the entire data center environment should be treated as a single computer so that there could be assurance that all resources were optimized.  The company was San Francisco, California and Hamburg, Germany-based Mesophere, and after several years of gestation, that have announced the general availability (GA) of their container-centric  Datacenter Operating System (DCOS).

In a posting on the company blog, Derrick Harris, Senior Research Analyst, noted:

“When Mesosphere started, its founders had a vision of making the datacenter as easy to use as a laptop. They asked themselves questions that seemed crazy at the time. Why should 40,000 cores in a datacenter or cloud be any different than the 4 cores in a laptop? Why can’t we use a command line or even a graphical UI to navigate a datacenter like it was a desktop machine? Why can’t we install datacenter-scale services with the same ease that we install apps on our iPhones?

From that vision and those questions emerged the Datacenter Operating System (DCOS), an OS as simple to use as the one in your laptop, but that controls entire datacenters or clouds. The DCOS is a new kind of operating system that can scale across tens of thousands of servers. It is a complete OS built around the open-source distributed-systems kernel Apache Mesos. It runs on all of the machines in your datacenter and pools their resources into what looks like one big computer.”

In making DOCS generally available, Mesosphere announced that it will offer two editions— a free, public, cloud-only community edition and a paid enterprise license for any and all platforms enterprises may want to run the software on. In fact, DCOS is being promoted as the platform for deploying and managing all of the workloads in the datacenter, including cloud-native apps built with Kubernetes, big data apps built on YARN or Spark, and traditional workloads like Java apps and MySQL databases.

Image via Shutterstock

The DCOS Community Edition has gone GA for Amazon Web Services (AWS), while it is being made available in beta on Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. The Enterprise Edition,  which can be installed in a private datacenter, in a public cloud, or both, in a hybrid scenario, offers additional features such as 24/7/365 technical support, and increased security and policy management

The Harris blog is worth a read. It lays out all of the reasoning as to why there is a need for a data center OS and why now, emphasizing the impact of what it cites as “two big transformations” impacting the  future of data centers, application containers (such as Docker) and Apache Mesos.

Simplicity has become the watchword for data center operations. This is particularly true when it comes to resource management and optimization. In addition, open source solutions have quickly emerged as a dominant way for enterprises to get the visibility, control and ease-of-management that require dealing with the realities of a datacenter-centric world where a premium is placed on scalability, agility, security, and resource orchestration and optimization.  

Mesopshere has Yelp as a reference account and notes that the solution has been architected based on the same principles used for the world’s largest data centers.  Keeping it simple yet powerful and future-ready is the goal of everyone working on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solutions.  If nothing else, the implementation of something like DOCS is an approach that will get a serious evaluation. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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