ZeroStack zero-touch private cloud hits general availability

ZeroStack technology significantly reduces both private cloud deployment time and costs as well as the cost of operations by putting the user work flows and operations in the cloud, while the infrastructure and software to manage it are on prem. They are also selling entirely through channel partners.

Ajay ZeroStack

Ajay Gulati, ZeroStack co-founder and CEO

Mountain View CA-based ZeroStack, which announced its ZeroStack Cloud Platform for the simple installation and operation of a scale-out private cloud last year, has now released it to General Availability.

The basic problem that ZeroStack and some other players in this space set out to solve is straightforward.

“A lot of people loved the ease of use of the public cloud as well as its lack of infrastructure,” said Ajay Gulati, ZeroStack co-founder and CEO, who came from VMware and worked on all layers of the VMware stack. “But over the long term, it isn’t cheap, and you lose some control where you can’t determine how VMs should be placed. The private cloud, on the other hand, is hard to build, and requires a certain level of expertise. That’s where our vision came from.”

ZeroStack’s zero-touch operation means that time to value is much faster.

“But it is still behind the firewall, and with better performance than the public cloud,” Gulati said.

Gulati said that the traditional model for the cloud contains four elements – the underlying infrastructure, management software, operations built around it, and user workflows to create VMs.

“In the public cloud, this is all outside the firewall and you have no control,” he said. “In the private cloud, it’s on prem, and you have to maintain it. At ZeroStack, we split these roles across two layers. The management and infrastructure are on-prem, but the operations and user workflows are in the cloud.

“Doing it like this gives you the control and visibility you need from a private cloud, as putting the user workflows in the SaaS layer provides feature agility and lets you get things quickly. You can also do real time insight and get more and more information.”

On the other hand, putting the hyper-converged appliance on-prem means that every node is like a building block with a control plane running across all of them. This on-prem infrastructure is consumed and managed by the ZeroStack Cloud Portal, which provides analytics based insights and optimizations for application deployment.

ZeroStack is based on an OpenStack distribution, but it’s running in the background and isn’t something the company is emphasizing in its marketing of the offering. What it IS emphasizing is that ZeroStack will save customers money in deployment and operation.

“It saves the time of complex integration, and so reduces the time needed for deployment from weeks to 30-40 minutes,” Gulati said. “We designed it so the customer doesn’t need a cloud admin, so that saves money as well. The cost of this is roughly half the cost of AWS.”

While ZeroStack, like almost all start-up solutions, was sold initially direct as a proof of concept, the go-to-market model is to be 100 per cent channel.

“Our initial focus will be on the U.S. and Canada, and we will move to other geos later,” Gulati said. A couple dozen partners would be the ideal channel for this initial stage, and they have signed some up already. In this stage they will also deal directly with their partners rather than use distribution.