Virtualization Technology News and Information
Aparna Systems Emerges from Stealth Mode to Announce the Industry's First Open Software "Cloud-in-a-Box" Solution

Aparna Systems today announced the Orca µCloud and Orca µServer-the industry's first open software Cloud-in-a-Box solution to converge compute, storage and networking resources in a compact, energy-efficient system. In addition to offering industry-leading high density and scalability, with support for up to 10,000 cores per rack, the µCloud systems deliver the high performance and high availability needed in distributed, edge, aggregation and core environments. The system-level architecture provides an optimal configuration without the need for "rack and stack" engineering, while the use of merchant silicon and open software enables the Cloud-in-a-Box to be used in bare metal, containerized and virtualized applications. Aparna Systems will unveil and demonstrate the Orca µCloud and Orca µServer this week in Booth 41 at NFV World Congress May 3 - 5 at the San Jose Double Tree Hilton.

"Aparna's Cloud-in-a-Box has the potential to be a real game-changer in a variety of applications," according to Michael Howard, senior research director and advisor for Carrier Networks at IHS Markit. "This is particularly true at the edge of the network, including in central offices, where carriers have struggled to find a practical and affordable way to deploy adequate compute and storage resources. The system's high density and design innovations combine to also drastically improve scalability and energy efficiency compared to blade servers."

The µCloud system addresses a persistent problem in the industry caused by the way the cloud has turned server clusters into amorphous "black boxes" that make it difficult, if not impossible, to match hardware and software to achieve peak performance. With its non-stop, high-performance architecture, the Cloud-in-a-Box provides an easier and more cost-effect way to scale compute and storage resources in mission-critical applications from the edge to the core.

Orca µCloud and µServer Products

Two models of the Orca µCloud system are currently available: the 4060 with slots for up to 60 µServers and the 4015 with slots for up to 15 µServers. Both µCloud systems are packaged in a 4U NEBS-compliant chassis with dual, hot-swappable AC/DC power supplies, and include a GPS clock to support applications that require precise timing, such as time series databases. Both systems are also equipped with dual, hot-swappable active/active switches that deliver 20 Gbps of bandwidth per µServer and an aggregate uplink capacity of 640 Gbps (2 switches x 8 ports at 40 Gbps each). This design is what gives the model 4015 its fully fault-tolerant, non-stop, non-blocking performance. These ultra-converged Cloud-in-a-Box systems offer unprecedented CPU core density (10,000 cores per rack with the 4060), energy efficiency (less than 75 Watts per µServer), and high intra-cluster bandwidth.

The Orca µServers are available in two models: the Oserv8 with 8 cores and the Oserv16 with 16 cores. Both µServers are packaged in a hot-swappable cartridge form factor that is about the size of a 3.5-inch hard disk drive. Both utilize Intel Broadwell Xeon processors, DDR RAM and dual SATA or NVMe solid state drives (SSDs). Storage I/O is non-blocking based on its support for both SATA at 12 Gbps (6 Gbps per SSD) and NVMe at 64 Gbps (32 Gbps per SSD), with latencies of 100 microseconds (µs) and 10 µs, respectively.

The ultra-convergence of compute, storage and network resources optimized for peak performance in a configurable, compact server cluster enables Aparna's Cloud-in-a-Box system to deliver a savings of up to 40 percent in capital and operational expenditures, and to reduce the need for rack space and power by up to 80 percent compared to clusters built with rack or blade servers.

Cloud-in-a-Box Applications

The Orca µCloud system is purpose-built for environments with limited availability of space, power and/or cooling. The high density and energy efficiency combine to make the Cloud-in-a-Box especially well-suited for edge and distributed computing needs found in both service provider and enterprise environments.

"Our network performance analytics platform requires us to detect problems and identify root causes in real-time, and Aparna's Cloud-in-a-Box enables us to do that in a self-contained system with a remarkably small footprint," claims Charles Barry, PhD, co-founder and chief technical officer at Jolata. "We also value the how the µCloud system scales cost-effectively, and the integrated GPS clock that provides the accurate timing and synchronization needed to analyze traffic being captured by our many sensors distributed throughout the network."

Its open software architecture and non-stop high performance make the Cloud-in-a-Box suitable for virtually any networking, computing or storage application, including Fog and Multi-access Edge Computing, databases, data analytics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

"Aparna's open software architecture and support for ONIE [Open Network Install Environment] make the Orca µCloud system an ideal for platform for our OcNOS software," said Atsushi Ogata, president and CEO at IP Infusion. "The OcNOS open network operating system is designed to help network operators reduce costs, increase agility and deploy new network services faster, and these objectives align perfectly with the ones Aparna Systems has established for its Cloud-in-a-Box."

The need for compact systems like Aparna's µCloud was identified in the Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020: "Network closets and micro data centers are growing in number and importance as internet-connected sensors and devices proliferate and remote users demand faster access to information. In response, organizations will turn to pre-configured micro data center solutions that support fast deployment, greater standardization and remote management across distributed IT locations."

"We chose to launch the company at NFV World Congress because the Cloud-in-a-Box is ideal for carrier-class applications from the edge to the core," said Sam Mathan, Aparna's CEO and co-founder. "We expect the system's industry-leading high density, coupled with its high performance and high reliability, will make the µCloud systems especially popular for edge computing and aggregation applications. Of course, these same capabilities are also important in the enterprise, where the ability to scale compute and storage resources is often constrained by available data center space and power."

Product Availability and Pricing

The Orca µCloud model 4015 and model 4060 systems, and the Oserv8 and Oserv16 µServers are all available for customer shipment. Pricing for entry-level configurations of the µCloud model 4015 system begins at $49,500.

Published Monday, May 01, 2017 11:32 AM by David Marshall
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