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Vapor IO Launches MistOS, First Open Source Top-Of-Rack Management OS

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

With a shift towards a software defined data center (SDDC) mindset, intelligent software driven by APIs and capable of automating and orchestrating workloads represents the future of the data center. Vapor IO hopes to make this future possible with the announcement of MistOS, an open source Linux distribution that offers top-of-rack (TOR) management, automation and orchestration capabilities for modern data centers.

Open MistOS lets you talk to your rack at a fundamentally higher level than the typical one-to-one relationships found in current data center management solutions, all through APIs.

The new MistOS is connected to the company's Open Data Center Runtime Environment (DCRE), which includes hardware, sensors and firmware, enabling out-of-band management capabilities at the data center level. In essence, MistOS is the presentation layer to Open DCRE. MistOS is also the first open source operating system dedicated to TOR management, offering additional capabilities that go beyond what current proprietary products have to offer, according to the company.

"You can think of Open MistOS as replacing the antiquated, legacy out-of-band management solutions," Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO told Tom's IT Pro in an interview.

In March 2015, Vapor IO emerged from stealth and announced a new approach to data center design. The company contributed the hardware component, Open DCRE, to the Open Compute Project. Vapor IO also introduced Vapor CORE, a proprietary product that works to extend the functionality in Open DCRE through an intelligence layer.

"This open source hardware and open source software actually creates a new touch point, or rather a new endpoint, that can manage a rack infrastructure at an abstracted layer of both IPMI (intelligent platform management interface) or DCMI (data center management interface) and move to an API-based model, where now you have the ability to talk to your rack and all of your discrete servers at a more ubiquitous level in the context of the workloads," Crawford explained.

In addition to Vapor CORE API access, the key features that Open MistOS brings to the data center include:

  • Bare metal provisioning and firmware updates.
  • Built-in automatic discovery service, which detects other MistOS instances for simplified integration.
  • Support for Docker containers and Open vSwitch on Raspberry Pi.

Ultimately, Crawford's goal is to create a "data driven data center," where the hardware is just as important as the software in making management decisions. Open MistOS along with Open DCRE provide the API that allows you to talk to your rack at a higher, and much more automated level, according to Crawford, thereby enabling "data center centrification."

Open MistOS is being released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which will ensure that the code base remains common; it also means that the open source OS remains reciprocal, so you can modify it (but you have to give the code back).

"Companies are tired of investing in proprietary technologies that ultimately lock them into a platform for years," said Crawford. "The industry has time and again shown its fervent appetite for open standards and interfaces that guarantee freedoms not offered by legacy vendors. With Open MistOS, we are guaranteeing that freedom."

Open MistOS, along with Vapor CORE and Vapor Chamber, will be demoed at the OpenStack Summit next week. Crawford told us that the demo will simulate a PSU failure, showing the Vapor IO analytics catching the rise in temperature and automatically transferring the OS instance to a healthy rack, shutting down the overheated hardware and sending a note to the data center operator stating what has been performed. The entire scenario will be completely automated, showing for the first time in history a workload being moved entirely by the system and without human intervention depending on the critical environment below it.

For more information on Open MistOS and Vapor IO, visit