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Mesosphere’s Conundrum

Will Mesosphere lead the orchestra or be the stage?
By Tim Clark and Larry Gordon 

June 9, 2015

Mesosphere, which aspires to be the go-to software for running distributed Linux applications across multiple data centers, today released both a free community edition and paid enterprise edition of its Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) software. The free version runs multiple Amazon Web Services instances as a single resource, and the paid version also enables on-premise use with 24/7 support.

The release highlights Mesosphere’s ambition to be the dominant management software for containers, Hadoop and distributed data centers. Orchestration vendors and others would run on top of the Mesosphere DCOS.

Mesosphere targets its free community edition to enterprise developers for pilots and to startups, but it has no size limits so organizations can standardize on it and scale their clusters to thousands or even tens of thousands of instances, according to Mesosphere.

“Organizations can run their whole infrastructure on the DCOS, from PaaS-like (Platform as a Service) services with containers to modern Big Data workloads to continuous integration and deployment,” Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert said in a statement. Both versions build on Apache Mesos, which provides primitives for resource management, container-based isolation, and scheduling across entire data centers and cloud environments.

Mesosphere’s Enterprise Edition requires a paid license and adds advanced user-authentication and security, 24×7 support from Mesosphere, and is available for on-premise environments, in the cloud, or across a hybrid environment. Companies already using Apache Mesos or Mesosphere’s DCOS include Hubspot, Airbnb, Apple, Netflix, Twitter and Yelp.

DCOS is a datacenter-scale operating system that brings a dashboard, command line interface, and common services for launching and managing distributed frameworks. DCOS is designed for enterprise production environments, and optimized for security, fault tolerance, high availability and server utilization that allow companies to run distributed applications at scale.

Users can also register for early access to beta versions of DCOS for Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, which are due to be generally available later in summer 2015.

DCOS Enterprise Edition is now available for all modern versions of Linux (CentOS, CoreOS, Red Hat and Ubuntu), for every major cloud provider, private data centers (bare metal or virtualized), and hybrid cloud deployments. The Mesosphere DCOS also supports Docker containers as one of its primary application deployment models. More than 3,800 enterprise customers have signed up for the beta version of DCOS since December 2014.

Mesosphere sees the killer app for DCOS as its ability to run what the company calls “DCOS services” to provide a common platform for multiplexing very large-scale distributed applications e.g. Cassandra, HDFS, Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, and Storm across the entire data center and even multiple data centers and clouds. Mesosphere uses the term “DCOS services” to distinguish them from end-user applications. It claims three key value propositions for DCOS services:

  • Eliminates static partitions: DCOS allows large-scale distributed applications to run simultaneously across all the machines in a data center without creating static partitions that  require a separate hardware stack for each application. Mesosphere sees the need for static partitions for each service as a major source of wasted datacenter capacity because of over-provisioning to handle peak loads.
  • Improves efficiency : DCOS boosts utilization of data centers by 2-3X, from a typical 15% up to 30-45%.
  • Run multiple types of workloads on the same cluster, something  orchestration solutions such as Kubernetes or Docker SWARM cannot.

These powerful value propositions extend hyperscale capabilities to the enterprise.   With DCOS, Mesosphere squarely targets the operational efficiency and business agility that market-driven enterprises increasingly demand from IT. This leads us to this question: Who will care the most, and who will adopt first?