Q. How does ZeroStack lower operational costs by 10x? That is too impressive!
A. ZeroStack reduces operational expenses using three key innovations:
- Management software is hyper-converged along with compute, storage and networking. It runs in a distributed manner across hosts. This means that your IT team does not have to install, manage, upgrade or patch any software
- Self-healing distributed software runs across all hosts and monitors everything
- Monitoring and operations are handled by ZeroStack’s intelligent software
As a result, customers don’t have to deal with any infrastructure or operations, which lowers their OpEx by 10x.
Q. How can developers deploy applications on ZeroStack so quickly?
A. Developers and IT can deploy applications within seconds because of two things:
- Developers get a self-service cloud and they don’t have to wait for IT to provision resources
- Our Z-AppStore contains application templates that can be deployed with a single click and minimal user input
These two features ensure that application deployment can be done in seconds. Admins still have full control over how many resources a user or team can consume.
Q. How does ZeroStack cloud performance compare to public clouds?
A. As compared to public clouds, users can get 4-6x better performance, mainly in terms of storage and network I/O throughput and latency. This is because a typical ZeroStack deployment is not running at the scale of a public cloud. The latency and number of hops between VMs is not as high and we have also done various optimizations for high performance. Furthermore, one can get even higher performance by controlling the placement of VMs within an application using various affinity, anti-affinity rules and placement policies.
Q. What kind of on-premises servers and storage devices can I use?
A. ZeroStack’s on premises cloud operating system (Z-COS) provides a hyper-converged building block that includes servers, storage, networking and all the management software. ZeroStack also supports specific SKUs from Dell and HPE on which we can install ZeroStack software and convert them from bare-metal to cloud. In addition, you can use existing storage devices from vendors like NetApp, EMC, HPE, Nimble Storage, Pure storage and others. The exact list is available as part of our hardware compatibility list. The storage devices must support NFS or iSCSI as the access protocol for data.
Q. What kind of network connection is required between the web management portal and on-premises devices?
A. ZeroStack powered devices only need an outgoing https port (i.e. port 443). Any monitoring, stats, events or cloud management traffic is sent over this secure channel in an encrypted manner. Any of the proprietary ingredients are related to auto-discovery of devices and making the datacenter easy to configure, monitor and use.
Q. How does the initial provisioning happen?
A. First, you have to rack the servers and storage devices and add IP address to them. Once that is done, you have to enter your specific code on the servers to associate them with your cloud account. After that, all the configuration is done through the web portal. All the necessary information is retrieved automatically from the ZeroStack intelligent cloud platform as per the input from the admin over the secure channel. You can get a cloud up and running at any site within 20 minutes from racking the servers.
Q. Can I migrate workloads from my existing VMware vSphere environment?
A. Yes, we have a built-in support for automatic workload migration from vSphere to ZeroStack powered devices. This includes image conversion, uninstalling any VMware tools, installing the needed drivers for KVM and providing similar network topology and connectivity to the application.
Q. What is the overall pricing model?
A. The pricing is based on some capital expense for acquiring servers and storage. You can buy that from us in a hyper-converged form factor or from other supported vendors. In addition, there is a monthly OpEx for a cloud subscription to manage and consume a cloud built using these devices. So the upfront cost is much lower than traditional systems that require high licensing fees with periodic maintenance and support costs.
Q. Who handles the upgrades to the datacenter?
A. The server management and upgrades are handled by ZeroStack in a seamless manner. The upgrade is done during a predetermined time window agreed upon by the customer. The IT staff does not have to do anything specific, as the upgrades are delivered from the SaaS portal over the secure channel established between the datacenter and the SaaS portal. We also optimize the delivery of updates, so that the software is only downloaded on one of the servers and the rest of data transfer happens over LAN. The platform is designed to be upgraded using different partitions and a layout that protects against any failures by rolling back to the previous version.
Q. Who handles the upgrades to the web portal?
A. The web portal is upgraded without any downtime once every one to two weeks. We have set up a process to test and roll out new features in a very agile fashion. These new features also include customer requests that are handled within weeks instead of making them wait for a year or even longer, like traditional software vendors without any cloud management.
Q. Do I need to install any monitoring and operations software for the datacenter?
A. Absolutely not. The web portal provides monitoring, operations and analytics for the datacenter hardware and workloads. This is the power of cloud management — customers don’t have to install any software in their datacenter, once they have connected the devices.
Q. What happens if the WAN connection to the web portal is broken?
A. All the workloads keep on running as it is. You can even point your API scripts and commands to a local endpoint and continue to work. When the connection comes back, the devices will automatically connect to the web portal and you will be able to use all of the rich features built into the web portal like UI workflows, analytics, monitoring and planning.
Q. Do you provide a hybrid cloud solution for my future needs?
A. Yes, definitely. ZeroStack provides an on-premises private cloud and full integration with public cloud. For instance, we support adding AWS as an external provider. Users can view their applications running on AWS and also do automated migration to/from ZeroStack. The migration takes care of complete application moves, including compute, network topology and EBS storage volumes. So the applications are moved in a holistic manner along with data. For more details, see: https://www.zerostack.com/solutions/hybrid-cloud/
Q. Do you provide container support?
A. Yes, of course. We have automated the provisioning of container clusters on top of the ZeroStack intelligent cloud platform. For more details, see: https://www.zerostack.com/solutions/containers/