Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Alliance Coalesces Around Mesosphere Platform 

The datacenter operating system movement continues to gather momentum with the announcement by Apache Mesos developer Mesosphere of a broad alliance backing the beta release of an all-encompassing platform for building and scaling enterprise applications.

The new platform, dubbed DC/OS, is based on Mesosphere's datacenter operation system tool. The initial release of DC/OS announced on Tuesday (4/19) expands earlier capabilities to include running application containers at scale along with "single-click" installation of more than 20 services.

DC/OS is further touted as allowing users to deploy automated infrastructure to run applications and services that include Apache Cassandra, Kafka and Spark. The platform combines the Mesos distributed systems kernel with Mesosphere's Marathon container management tool.

San Francisco-based Mesosphere, which has raised more than $122 million in venture capital, said its DC/OS alliance totals more than 60 partners, including Accenture (NYSE: CAN), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) and Microsoft. HPE and Microsoft led a $73.5 million funding round in March.

Separately, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced general availability of its Azure Container Service this week. The service supports both DC/OS and Docker Swarm orchestration engines. The software giant noted that its container service based on DC/OS orchestration could scale enterprise applications whether they are run as Docker images or other container formats.

Mesosphere's original datacenter operating platform runs on top of Linux distributions and spans all servers in a bare metal or cloud-based datacenter. The beta version of DC/OS will be supplemented with technology and open-source software contributions from alliance partners.

"One of the driving forces behind DC/OS is the new reality that, while important, containers and container orchestration are not sufficient," Mesosphere's Derrick Harris noted in a blog post announcing the DC/OS alliance. With more applications such as micro-services running on distributed systems made up of individual services, storage and computing resources, Mesosphere and its backers are pitching a new way to deploy them on a single platform.

Hence, Docker containers, Apache Spark, the Cassandra database, the Kafka messaging system, HDFS and other big data tools could run on the same set of shared datacenter resources, the partners assert.

Mesosphere said each partner for the beta release was given early access to DC/OS code. Some will integrate their technologies with the platform while others will build new products on top of it. In additions, some users will deploy DC/OS inside their datacenters and contribute code for running containers, micro-services and big data applications.

The alliance also reflects the growing industry consensus around the Apache Mesos distributed systems kernel that has been leveraged by Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung (KRX: 005930), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Yelp (NYSE: YELP) and other hyper-scale enterprise users. Among other things, its is being used to manage infrastructure and other resource management tasks while scheduling the delivery of distributed services and applications.

"DC/OS is the inevitable next step for a project like Mesos," noted Benjamin Hindman, Mesosphere's co-founder and Mesos co-creator. "Mesos is necessary but insufficient, and DC/OS is the best way to take advantage of Mesos while providing all of the other capabilities that organizations need to run their software."

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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