OpenStack Private Cloud Solutions are Flexible, Simple and Affordable

OpenStack Private Cloud Solutions are Flexible, Simple and Affordable

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Case Study: OpenStack Private Cloud Solutions are Flexible, Simple and Affordable

Challenge: Making Private Clouds More Efficient, Cost-Effective

DevOps teams must address a persistent challenge: How do they meet the compute, networking, and storage resource requirements of today while ensuring an affordable, flexible solution that scales to meet the growing needs of their customers tomorrow?

While the traditional server-client architecture is reliable and secure, it is an inefficient means of handling escalating compute, network, and storage customer requirements resulting from explosive growth in data traffic. Cloud-based solutions, such as private clouds, potentially offer IT professionals far greater flexibility and scalability. However, as private cloud deployments grow, they become so complex and expensive to manage over time that they fail to deliver on the core value propositions of cloud solutions—low cost, flexibility and scalability.

Fortunately, there is an effective cloud-based solution available. Silicon Mechanics and Piston OpenStack combine to offer DevOps the flexibility and scale of an open-source solution-based cloud infrastructure, but without the complexity and cost that’s typically imposed when managing and scaling that infrastructure over time.

Solution: Silicon Mechanics and Piston OpenStack

Developed by Piston, Piston OpenStack is a software product that uses advanced systems intelligence to orchestrate an entire private cloud environment. Starting with an extremely lightweight custom Linux OS called Iocane Micro-OS™, and using an advanced high-availability system called Moxie Runtime Environment™, Piston keeps your cloud running no matter what – through hardware failure, operator error, upgrades, and power outages.

Piston OpenStack makes it possible for a single system administrator to manage an entire data center, and can be seamlessly scaled, globally, up or down. It can even orchestrate an upgrade of itself without any downtime. By providing virtualized compute, storage, networking, and management through elegant and intuitive self-service interfaces and APIs, Piston OpenStack frees developers to focus on building applications rather than managing cloud infrastructure.

Every software license includes 24/7 support, and a subscription update service for security updates (see Figure 1 below).


In 2011, Silicon Mechanics became the first hardware vendor certified by Piston Cloud Computing. Since then Silicon Mechanics has continued to build on its experience with Piston OpenStack. Silicon Mechanics’ Piston OpenStack solutions are optimized for enterprise customers who wish to design, deploy, operate, and manage their own private cloud infrastructure, enabling them to deliver services to customers in a safe and secure environment. Organizations of almost any type can realize significant benefits from a private cloud solution that is not only easy to implement and manage, but highly scalable and secure.

Silicon Mechanics' Piston product offerings are competitively priced, without compromising the performance standards needed for truly powerful OpenStack infrastructure. These solutions feature three cloud nodes (scaling requires adding more nodes), each of which includes two Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 Series, 10GbE connectivity, SSD and HDD storage, and redundant power supplies. The kit also contains a high-speed 10GbE switch and all the other hardware and cables necessary, all for under $25,000.

Figure 2: Silicon Mechanics hardware for its Piston Cloud turnkey solution

Custom Configured to Deliver Greater Efficiency, Lower TCO

Silicon Mechanics understands that deploying a private cloud infrastructure requires significant development, planning, benchmarking and testing before going into a production environment. Deep analysis and understanding of the cost advantages that a private cloud infrastructure can provide is critical.

That’s why the company works with each customer one-on-one to deliver proof of concepts that cater to the customer’s specific environment and application needs, optimizing factors like compute power, network bandwidth, and storage capacity and performance. This enables customers to access an all-in-one, turnkey proof-of-concept cloud solution for less than $25K.

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDDs Maximize Density, Efficiency

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are at the heart of the Silicon Mechanics Piston OpenStack value proposition, so it makes sense that the company chooses Seagate® Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDD drives for object storage. The Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDD is the only 2.5-inch enterprise-class hard drive that combines up to 2TB capacity and enterprise reliability with the industry’s lowest power consumption, making it ideal for storage-hungry cloud node applications.

Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDDs make it easier to deploy additional enterprise storage without expanding the data center. With its 15mm z-height, the 2TB model is the first 2.5-inch hard drive capacity-optimized for high-density, space-constrained private cloud solutions. Capable of storing twice as much data in the same footprint as a conventional 3.5-inch HDD, the Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDD supports up to 152TB of storage per square foot.

Additional benefits include:

  • Energy efficient storage at under 3.6 watts (idle)
  • Highest cloud reliability with an MTBF of 1.4M hours
  • 12Gb/s performance in SAS interface
  • 6Gb/s performance in both SAS and SATA interfaces
  • Enterprise-class firmware and best-in-class rotational vibration tolerance to maximize system availability and performance in multi-drive systems
  • Reduced per-gigabyte cooling and energy costs by delivering high capacities in SFF, low-power-consumption drive

The Seagate® PowerChoice™ technology included in the Enterprise Capacity 2.5 HDD can further reduce energy costs by allowing enterprise/cloud architects to tailor systems for optimal performance and power consumption. This flexibility enables power savings of up to 54 percent over traditional 3.5-inch drives.

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