Cloud management was born on New Year’s Eve, December 2006. As most people prepared to welcome the new year, Thorsten von Eicken, the CTO and co-founder of our yet-to-be-incorporated Santa Barbara startup, released the first-ever version of RightScale. The software was designed to provide a platform to deploy and manage applications running on the beta version of Amazon EC2, which had been unveiled earlier that summer.
The rapid adoption of cloud computing in the intervening years led to an expanded set of public cloud providers as well as private cloud technologies. RightScale Cloud Management evolved to enable cloud users to deploy and manage applications across multiple cloud providers, whether public or private, from a single pane of glass.
The services offered by cloud providers have also continued to grow, extending well beyond compute, network, and storage to encompass a wide variety of specialized functions from big data to messaging to development tools. As a result, cloud has powered a transformation in IT from startups to enterprises.
The Cloud Management Challenge
Yet, even as cloud usage continues to accelerate, enterprise IT teams are still managing heterogeneous infrastructure environments. They have a diverse set of on-premises and hosted resources that span bare-metal servers and virtualized environments as well as public and private clouds. And the rise of Docker will add yet another layer of management complexity for IT teams as they look to capture the significant benefits that can come from the use of containers.
Universal Cloud Management
RightScale has continued to innovate in order to serve the needs of enterprise IT teams operating in this quickly changing world. Our industry-leading RightScale platform has expanded to cover a broad set of capabilities, including self-service provisioning, governance, automation, operations, and financial management. Our solution is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of constituents — from development to operations to business teams — who are supplying or using cloud services within the enterprise.
The next phase in our journey of innovation has now arrived: to provide a single, unified solution for enterprises to manage their diverse set of infrastructure environments. We’ve laid out a vision for RightScale to manage any cloud, any service, any virtual machine, any server, and any container. We call that expanded vision universal cloud management. The role of RightScale is to support enterprise IT in its drive to improve agility. Our platform enables that through a single pane of glass that empowers IT to broker and manage a wide range of infrastructure options to deliver applications.
Cloud-Enabling Your Infrastructure
Our vision for universal cloud management also means we want to enable as many cloud-like capabilities as possible for each environment — to take legacy platforms and “cloudify” them to deliver the benefits that cloud offers.
For example, in 2014 we released the RightScale Cloud Appliance for vSphere, which cloud-enabled VMware vSphere environments by filling the gap between vSphere capabilities and what users expect of a cloud. Since then, RightScale users have embraced the ability to provide a cloud-like self-service experience on top of of their existing vSphere capacity.
Two weeks ago we announced the RightScale Universal Cloud Appliance, which enables RightScale users to gain visibility over and manage bare-metal servers and additional hypervisor environments (Hyper-V, KVM, etc.) as well as an expanded set of clouds. The Universal Cloud Appliance provides out-of-the-box management capabilities, but also provides a plug-in architecture that enables RightScale consultants, partners, and customers to extend those management capabilities in ways that are specific to each particular environment. This avoids the “least common denominator” trap that plagues some approaches to management.
While the Universal Cloud Appliance allows RightScale to support new types of infrastructure resource pools, we also wanted to provide support for the significant shift toward leveraging a variety of services to build software applications. These services can range from the rapidly expanding set of IaaS+ and PaaS services from cloud providers to third-party services to internally developed services.
Today we announced RightScale Cloud Services Plugins for our Cloud Application Templates. RightScale Cloud Application Templates orchestrate and govern the provisioning and management of applications across multiple environments. Cloud Services Plugins enable RightScale consultants, partners, and customers to extend the RightScale platform to orchestrate any API-enabled service.
Together, these new and existing capabilities round out the key foundational components needed to deliver on our vision of managing across disparate infrastructure environments.
And Now for Containers
RightScale’s vision is also to help customers embrace and leverage new technologies in the application development chain, and the latest and most promising of these is containers. Today, customers can already use the RightScale platform to provision, configure, and manage Docker hosts; provision Docker workloads through our self-service interface; and automate infrastructure to support Docker-focused application delivery. Going forward, we will provide new assets and features to integrate RightScale even further with the container ecosystem.
In the end, enterprise IT teams need to drive agility. Ultimately, enterprises are seeking agility that can be enabled through software innovation that brings new capabilities to their business units, customers, and end users around the world. The ability of IT teams to support faster software delivery will be critical for enterprises to advance their business and for customers to enhance their lives.
With the help of Universal Cloud Management, IT teams can optimize how they leverage resources in a heterogeneous environment: one that includes clouds but often includes even more virtualized and bare-metal servers; one that leverages many different internal and external services; and one that will have some applications delivered through containers. The RightScale platform is designed for just such a world. Regardless of where your workloads are deployed and regardless of what phase your enterprise is in on your cloud journey, RightScale continues to work every day to help you succeed in your drive for agility.