Nebula launches Hardware Appliance to run the cloud, but will users want the HW or SW?

The cloud is about virtualized environments.  So, it is bit ironic that Nebula's first product is a physical hardware appliance when the solution could be downloaded bits.

Nebula Cloud Appliance

What they’re all working is fairly fascinating: A hardware appliance pre-loaded with customized OpenStack software and Arista networking tools, designed to manage racks of commodity servers as a private cloud.


Kemp wasn’t planning to do an appliance, he admits, but initial investor Bechtolsheim convinced him it was the right approach. It lets Nebula provide a turnkey product for deploying OpenStack, Kemp explained, by optimizing and locking down some of the variables that might make deploying a private cloud more difficult.

Nebula's team didn't like the Eucalyptus product and choose OpenStack.

However, even with all the specialization, Nebula is very committed to building the core OpenStack code base. “OpenStack exists because Eucalyptus didn’t work at NASA,” Kemp acknowledged, so he understands the importance of solid, customizable, open-source code.

Ultimately, he said, a better OpenStack means a better Nebula, because Nebula can focus on filling in the gaps and not on reinventing the wheel. Much like Bechtolsheim was successful at Sun Microsystems  by building atop Unix and at Arista by using standard hardware components.

Here is a question.  If Nebula is the cloud appliance.

Elastic Infrastructure

The Nebula appliance dynamically provisions and destroys virtual infrastructure and storage as workloads fluctuate.

Why wouldn't you run the Nebula SW on multiple Open Compute Servers in your cloud environment?  Seems like the Nebula appliances are single point of failures unless you have multiple instances running in your cloud environment.  Which should be easy if you buy a few more Open Compute Servers.

Nebula was announced at OSCON,  but who would let their cloud environment be down waiting for a Fedex and ship their cloud data outside the company in their Nebula Appliance?

Nebula will supply the appliance. "If it fails, FedEx it back to us, and we'll send you another one," Kemp said. "Our little box has a 10 gigabit ethernet switch built into it. You can plug cheap commodity servers into the rack. You don't have to turn them on. It will do that. The interface is like Amazon Services." These servers act as monitors by this appliance, including log files and flow data. "What we do is create interface points to all of the common CMDB tools, managing tools, security tools, like ArcSight or Splunk," said Kemp. "We will create integration points for those particular products."

I am sure there is a high availability architecture that Nebula has, but why buy multiple Nebula Appliances when the same hardware, the Open Compute Servers are in your environment?  Because, the investor convinced the Nebula Founders it was a better revenue model?

Kemp wasn’t planning to do an appliance, he admits, but initial investor Bechtolsheim convinced him it was the right approach.

Would you want an appliance or the software you can run on the Open Compute Server?

BTW, given the SW runs on the Open Compute Server the Nebula Software should run on any hardware, unless Nebula modified the software to be hardware specific.