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Mesosphere just released the so-called “data center OS” and it’s available complimentary if you’re looking for the Community Edition. However, as of June, it’s only available on Amazon’s cloud, but that may change. According to Mesosphere, which is backed by venture capitalists, the Data Center Operating System or DCOS is geared towards helping you run and manage workloads previously designed for clustered data centers. It’s a combination of open source components, proprietary components and Apache Mesos. What it boils down to is a cloud infrastructure in “one stop shopping” style. Technically, the resources that it uses could be located in a neighborhood data center, in a hybrid or on the public cloud. Still, it’s an innovative approach that’s giving a niche sector exactly what they want.

Already, major companies like Apple are using Mesos clusters for operations. Even though the company has picked up big contenders, like Twitter, it’s still dedicated to helping companies of all sizes (and budgets) take a similar route. It shouldn’t matter if a company has a major engineering or IT budget according to the founder. Derrick Harris, a senior research analyst at Mesosphere, says “Mesosphere wants to bring the benefits of Mesos, and then some, to companies of all shapes and sizes. We want to let users build and deploy applications whose components span entire data centers, but with the simplicity of programming for a single machine.” Does that mean the end of traditionally managed data centers and/or clouds and hybrids? Of course not, but there’s room in this industry for a little more competition.

A Perfect Match

In order to streamline processes and keep costs down, Mesosphere used the major Apache Mesos software and mixed it with a multitude of other options such as Marathon and Chronos. It’s brimming with custom command line and web UIs, which makes it simpler to install the services necessary to run on the platform. The result? You can manage the equivalent of a whole data center with a single click. The DCOS can handle Mesosphere’s Linux systems as well as their apps quickly and easily, and those benefits are ultimately reaped by users of the public cloud.

Mesosphere already made headlines when it made it possible to turn an entire data center’s system into basically a single system with no OS changes or hardware upgrades necessary. The DCOS was a natural next step. While many people are after the free edition, the paid enterprise edition is also picking up steam. Both can optimize the benefits of the public cloud. You only need a few short command-line operations to manage apps and Linux, with no need for any “rip and replace” tactics for Linux. Instead, you can enjoy a new layer of management with no big changes.

When asked about the big differences between the free and paid version, the senior VP of Mesosphere, Matt Trifiro, says that the enterprise option can run anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s in tandem with OpenStack, in the cloud or in containers. The free version is limited to Amazon Web Services, but promises that Azure and Google Cloud Platform will follow soon. Eventually, the goal is to offer it as a tool to use in anyone’s data center, however it’s unclear when that benchmark will be reached. For now, the company is focusing on public cloud deployment, which is the avenue where DCOS is slated for the biggest payoff.

Meet the Cash Cow

Plus, the paid edition of DCOS will offer features that are important for enterprises, but not necessarily other markets. This includes SLA support, hybrid cloud support and Kerberos-based authentication, just for starters. However, Trifiro is most excited about upcoming projects that are designed to fix key enterprise issues. One big boost is “oversubscription,” which is an add-on to the DCOS standard feature that ups data center utilization. Trifiro explains that “about 85 percent of your data center goes wasted. Just by installing DCOS, you can maybe double or triple that because of more efficient scheduling and running multiple workloads on the same machines.”

Oversubscription is based on tech developed at Stanford University. While 85 percent is ideal, Trifiro notes that the average utilization with DCOS will probably be around 70-75 percent. One of DCOS’ current users, which will remain anonymous, reported 95 percent utilization with DCOS, even when running “thousands of nodes,” according to Trifiro.

Another key characteristic is the DCOS provisioning system, which Trifiro says features different schedules for every service and application within a cluster. “They’re making decisions about what kinds of resources they need at any given time based on their own algorithms.” With DCOS, you can enjoy arbitration from requests from resources to the multitude of available apps. Enterprises are using the public cloud at an impressively large rate, mostly due to the flexibility available. DCOS helps to get the most utilization out of the least amount of machines without any major changes.



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