Mirantis Blog | January 5, 2015

Piston joins with Apprenda to bring automated PaaS resource management to OpenStack

Piston and Platform-as-a-Service vendor Apprenda have announced a new partnership to provide a turnkey Java PaaS system using the PistonCloud OpenStack solution and Apprenda’s PaaS management system. The integration makes use of the OpenStack APIs to create a policy-based application environment. The deal raised eyebrows in light of Piston’s assumed fondness for the Cloud Foundry PaaS system (Piston co-founder Joshua McKenty recently left for a job at Pivotal, Cloud Foundry’s main shepherd), but it appears to be more about providing OpenStack access to Apprenda customers (and vice versa) than choosing a single PaaS “winner”.

“We have a lot of very large customers in the banking sector,” Michael Michael, Apprenda’s director of product management, told OpenStack:Now.  ”Quite a few of them have expressed an interest in OpenStack.”  The Apprenda integration works with OpenStack in general, but currently is available as a turn-key system through Piston.

The Apprenda software involves a “grid” of resources, on which it schedules developer application jobs based on policies defined by the developer and operators.  Apprenda is infrastructure agnostic; it hooks into the operating system of Windows or Linux servers, and doesn’t care whether resources are physical or virtual, so OpenStack provides a way to grow and shrink the Apprenda grid at will. For example, a developer can specify that if his or her app has reached 75% capacity, then OpenStack should spawn more VMs. These VMs are immediately turned over to Apprenda for management.

PistonCloud provides the ability to add Apprenda to its OpenStack implementation by purchasing the Apprenda app; although the integration is present, it’s not active out of the box. Once it is active, however, developers can write to the Apprenda API and the system will manage tasks such as authentication and scaling.

The policy engines within Apprenda are independent of policy initiatives within OpenStack, such as Congress.  ”Right now they’re homegrown, but as different initiatives gain traction we will of course evaluate to see whether adopting them is in our best interest and the best interest of our customers,” Michael said.

Similarly, the company will be evaluating tighter integration with OpenStack services such as the Nova scheduler, which performs some of the same functions as the Apprenda engine when determining where to run workloads.  ”At some point it will be good for us to get advice about resource allocation from the underlying infrastructure.”

Apprenda currently includes integration, in the form of addons, with the OpenStack Compute, Block Storage, Identity, and Database as a Service APIs, as well as partial integration with OpenStack’s Networking and Queueing APIs.

Pricing was not disclosed, but Apprenda offers a free download for customers wishing to evaluate the system.