Dell and OnApp cooperate on pretested cloud packages

The goal is to make it easier for service providers to launch cloud services

OnApp and Dell have teamed up to create pretested cloud packages for service providers and make it easier for them to roll out services, which could result in more competition in the cloud space.

The packages provide all that's needed to roll out a virtual infrastructure for public and private cloud services, the companies said. They combine a fully managed installation of the OnApp Cloud platform with racks, servers, networking, power and cabling from Dell, adding up to what the vendors have dubbed a "cloud business in a box."

Making it easier to launch cloud services should help increase competition, and result in more choice and lower prices. The public cloud market has been getting more competitive recently. For example, Microsoft last month committed to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth, when it announced the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

OnApp and Dell are offering three hardware configurations. They are based on OnApp's Storage system; Dell's EqualLogic iSCSI storage; and Dell's Compellent Fibre Channel storage. Dell's PowerEdge R720XD server is used by all three packages as either a controller server, hypervisor server or backup server. OnApp's cloud platform uses the controller server to manage hypervisors and hosts. The networking comes courtesy of Dell's Force 10 unit, including its S60 switch with 44 Gigabit Ethernet and ports and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

OnApp's cloud platform can use Xen, KVM and VMware hypervisors to power cloud-based virtual servers. Others will be added in future releases. The platform also has an integrated storage platform and a content delivery network, along with features such as autoscaling and load balancing.

One of the most important features of any cloud platform is its ability to handle outages. OnApp initiates a failover in 15 seconds if it doesn't get a response from a hypervisor, and the virtual machines it hosts are automatically migrated to another one. The platform also allows service providers to configure availability zones to separate computing resources.

Even though OnApp Cloud has been developed with service providers in mind, it can also be used by enterprises. It is, for example, a good fit for IT departments that need centralized deployment and resource control for enterprise software, according to OnApp.

The minimum configuration for the full version is one controller server and up to 40 hypervisor CPU cores, for a total cost of US$500 per month. OnApp also offers a limited free version for service providers that want to get their feet wet.

The two companies didn't reveal pricing for the combined software and hardware packages.

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