Open Thinking about Cloud Computing and Big Data

Uncategorized Posted Nov 14, 2012 by chenpr

On Monday eve, I attended the most recent session of Mondays in the Cloud, a six-times-a-year meetup hosted by Sonian, a CHEN PR client and a rapidly growing provider in the cloud-powered email and search sector.

The session – titled Open Source in the Cloud – featured cohost OpenStack Boston. Organized by Sonian Marketing Specialist Kayla Krause and with pizza and beer courtesy of our agency, a good-sized crowd convened to chat each other up about all things related to cloud, big data and open source. They also were treated to presentations from Pete Cheslock, Director of Technical and Cloud Operations at Sonian, and Kamesh Pemmaraju, Senior Product Manager of Cloud Solutions at Dell. Each shared thoughts about the role of open source in the cloud while describing their open source software applications, and providing an understanding of why they are necessary and where they are going.

Cheslock was the first speaker, presenting a PowerPoint titled, “Sonian, OpenSource and Sensu.”  Sensu is an open source cloud monitoring software that Sonian created as an alternative to open source computer system monitor Nagios, which most in the room concurred was “generally unpleasant.” Simply put, Sensu monitors servers, applications etc., and alerts users when problems occur. According to Cheslock, traditional monitoring solutions typically results in:

  • High rate of false alerts due to product inflexibility
  • High development cost to deploy and customize
  • Slowed rate to extend and enhance due to complexity

The group in attendance comprised frequent users of cloud monitoring solutions and agreed with Cheslock when he said there doesn’t seem to be another great solution available, and that most people in the industry have been using Nagios since it was created in 1999. According to Cheslock, Sensu is written with minimal lines of code, and is efficient in areas where Nagios struggles, as it was built with an understanding that Nagios can’t discover new services on its own and is difficult to extend. Being used by a cross-section of companies that include Pantheon, Instagram and Marketfish, Sensu is a testament to the growth of open source and cloud technologies. 

After a networking break to give folks plenty of time to snack, sip and swap war stories, Pemmaraju gave a PowerPoint on OpenStack Cloud Software. It’s experiencing a meteoric rise, climbing from 30,000 lines of code to 600,000 in just 18 months, while hosting north of 250 developers in the past year. Governed by the OpenStack Foundation and backed by the likes of Dell, Cisco and IBM – and with the crowd suggesting basically everyone expect Amazon at this point – OpenStack Cloud Software is being adopted by a wide range of industries and customers. These include enterprises, universities, hosting providers, government organizations and start-ups, to name a few.

According to Kamesh, “more than 50 percent of software acquired in the next 5 years will be open source software,” which itself leads to the continued growth of the OpenStack Cloud Software. That, in turn, bodes well for Sonian’s Sensu Cloud Monitoring Software. Notably, Kamesh called out that half the cumulative time and money being poured into cloud efforts now is focusing on the need for better and more robust systems management.

Attendance at meetups like Mondays in the Cloud continues to expand, as app developers, end user organizations, vendors and others in the cloud/big data ecosystem drive the next frontier in capitalizing on computing  horse power. The need for info, insights, education and peer-level networking is also reflected by the emergence of the new hack/reduce big data community center.  All this activity will continue to play an important role in advancing the companies, entrepreneurs and market in general.