GigaSpaces’ Cloudify 3.4 Provides a Solution to Combine VMs and Containers

Glen Hunt - Principal Analyst, Transport and Routing Infrastructure
Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst, Transport and Routing Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

Supports Both VM and Container Stacks: Cloudify 3.4 simultaneously supports VM stacks, container stacks and hybrid stacks; providing support for current VM deployments while migrating to more efficient container-based solutions.

Leverages Open Source Innovation: Cloudify 3.4 leverages open source innovations such as Kubernetes technology, which helps support distributed container-based applications and deliver the hybrid stack capabilities.

The new Cloudify 3.4 release from GigaSpaces removes significant deployment barriers for service providers (and enterprises) that are considering migrating their virtualization architectures from a virtual machine (VM)-based model to a more streamlined and efficient container-based architecture to support microservices. The merits of this transition are covered well in many industry blogs and reports and will not be the focus here. However, what’s new is that this new version of Cloudify supports both environments (VM and container) as well as a combination of the two (hybrid). This is an important capability, because as the industry moves beyond simply proving the basics of network virtualization, traditional service provider strengths such as performance, scalability and efficiency move front and center. Cloudify 3.4 promises to support current implementations while enabling new applications to be container-based, thereby providing users a flexible migration path to the future. In addition to the dual-stack support, the new release supports fully automated “in-place” infrastructure upgrades, which helps to minimize down-time and eases migration to new software versions without impacting on-going services.

The new release is also a prime example of how the open source community is making significant contributions to product innovation, which enables software vendors to accelerate the pace of new product introductions. Open source initiatives have been crucial to the rapid progress vendors and service providers have made in transitioning their network infrastructures.

The vendor also offers its “Cloudify for NFV MANO” solution, which includes new features such as NFV-specific plug-ins, and blueprints for modeling VNFs and service function chaining using the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA). The TOSCA ecosystem continues to broaden and grow in industry importance. According to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), who is driving TOSCA, its technical committee’s NFV ad hoc workgroup is working to verify how TOSCA NFV models can describe network services composed of virtual network functions. The group is also working closely with the ETSI NFV standards Working Group and related NFV communities to ensure alignment with on-going standards efforts. For example, the open source OpenStack Tacker (NFV Orchestration) project is working to use actual TOSCA service templates to help deploy virtual network routers, switches and multi-function devices.

Finding the right balance between new leading edge innovations and current solutions is a challenge. On one hand, new models to describe services (like TOSCA) and moving to containers can address rapid service rollout and improve resource utilization. On the other hand investments in existing service tools and solutions cannot be ignored. New software solutions that promise to incorporate both are well positioned to gain industry acceptance.

Moving forward with network virtualization requires that solutions leverage existing technology investments and provide a migration path in which operators can leverage new innovations which improve the speed at which new services can be delivered and which can optimally scale to meet service demands.

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