Nebula One: A new cloud player with a twist

Server room

There’s a new player in the cloud game. On April 2, Nebula launched its cloud controller appliance, which is being touted as the first cloud computer, at least according to its promotional video. But it’s not just hype. It presents some serious benefits.


The best thing about it?

Nebula One brings together both software and a hardware controller. This can tether servers in such a way that their combined power can be harnessed into a single machine. Nebula One, in short, makes it possible to have centralized command and control of multiple servers that can be easily managed and operated by a single person.

Nebula One pairs with industry-standard servers from certified vendors, such as HP and Dell, and then pools its resources using 20 server nodes.

The best thing about Nebula One? It is a turnkey solution. This means that it provides everything you need to have a private cloud out of the box.

A business running Nebula One can easily manage and allocate storage for virtual machines as well as provision networking and computing power to these VMs.

Nebula One comes from a company founded by Chris C. Kemp. Kemp is an IT veteran. Already at his relatively young age (he was born in 1977), he has founded and sold Netran, the company responsible for Kroger’s online grocery shopping service, and much later on, he founded Escapia, a company that provided software for the vacation rental industry.  Kemp was also the chief architect of Classmates.com.

However, Kemp’s more high-profile work came when he joined NASA, where, as its CTO, he was given the opportunity to work with Google and Microsoft Research on different projects. It is also while at NASA that Kemp came upon the first ideas and infrastructure of what would later become Nebula One.

The Competition

Nebula One runs on OpenStack, pitting it against such providers as Mirantis, while its cloud business model reminds one of Piston Cloud and Cloudscaling. This is not to mention the giants in the industry, such as Oracle, IBM and EMC.

Benefits of Nebula One

Nebula One promises a lot of things, but two items stand out:

1. It is cost-effective. Nebula One sells for as low as only $100,000. That does not mean that you will be stuck with a run-down system.  Instead, you are guaranteed a computer power that rivals those used at some of the biggest companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

At that price, you will get the CTR-1500 cloud controller with:

  • 10 gigabyte Ethernet Switch
  • Two 16-core 1.6 MHz processors
  • 64 gigabytes of memory
  • 32 gigabyte SuperCache for caching files that are often accessed
  • 256 gigabyte storage memory
  • Two 650W power supplies

2. It is simple. Nebula One promises that a sole IT professional can easily manage multiple servers. What’s more, if you find OpenStack too complex, intimidating and too difficult, Nebula One assures that you can do away with the complexity of creating a cloud system using OpenStack.

Nebula One: For the IT Pro

What does this mean to the IT professional?  Your life will be a lot simpler, of course. Imagine having control over dozens of servers and having a single place to manage all of it!  Not only that, provisioning will also be a breeze.

What’s more, Nebula One is big on interoperability. It may come with its own proprietary Cosmos operating system, but what you get to see is a graphical user interface.  Also, Cosmos is based on OpenStack.

If you already know OpenStack, implementing Nebula One should be a breeze for you. If not, there is an online community that can help you. Nebula One users can also rely on a lot of open source resources for new and existing applications, as well as deploying and managing these.

Furthermore, IT professionals who already have experience working with public cloud services should find it easy to work with Nebula One. Nebula One also has API compatibility with Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3.

Nebula One and the Enterprise

Which businesses should be paying attention to Nebula One?

These are the businesses that want to have their own private cloud without having to worry about hiring a phalanx of IT professionals to design, create, maintain and troubleshoot it. And what company would not want to have the computing power of Google and other similarly large companies?

Also, you won’t have to deal with consultants and third-party companies to handle servers for you.

Moreover, it will not matter if you have a small business with minimal computing and storage needs.  You can still take advantage of Nebula One’s features and benefits by starting out small, buying only what you need. As your business grows, you can easily and seamlessly scale by adding more racks.  Nebula One makes use of an expandable network infrastructure that is also very simple.

You can start using Nebula One with only 64 cores and 384 gigabytes of memory. But as your business grows bigger, you can configure it up to 1,600 cores using 9,600 gigabytes of memory and 2,400 terabytes of shared storage!

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In a nutshell, Nebula One allows businesses to have an IaaS cloud system within your company’s premises that is simple to operate and scalable. It takes away the complexities of getting storage, networking and computing services, so your IT personnel can direct their focus somewhere else (perhaps to a more important or urgent task).

The thing about Nebula One is that since day one, it has been designed to save both money and time. In fact, you could probably get Nebula One up and running in a matter of minutes, instead of the hours or days that are needed in traditional systems.

More than that, you can deploy tested servers for use in the cloud, which allows you to do away with having to pay for special infrastructure.

If you are still not convinced, take it from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a subsidiary of Xerox. PARC is credited for coming up with the first computer mouse and the use of graphical user interfaces. PARC has already chosen Nebula One to power its private clouds.

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