Cloud

Behold this new cloud in an orange box — and test out OpenStack on it

Orange Box 1 Tranquil PC Flickr
Image Credit: Tranquil PC/Flickr

Big companies don’t change their complex data-center infrastructure overnight. But they can buy a little desktop box and conduct some late-night experiments to see if there’s a better way.

Now there’s a new type of hardware for such tinkering. At the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta today, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth showed off the orange-colored server and storage unit, which Shuttleworth commissioned last November. It comes loaded with Canonical’s latest Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu’s metal-as-a-service (MaaS). And on top of this, admins can install the OpenStack open-source software to deploy their own teensy-weensy private clouds.

Tranquil PC built the new Orange Box on behalf of Canonical, and now it’s for sale through the appliance maker, starting at £7,575, or around $12,745. Each box contains 10 servers running on Intel i5 chips, and buyers can choose spinning hard disk drives or fast solid-state drives.

While the boxes can run other kinds of software — like open-source Hadoop for storing, processing, and analyzing lots of different kinds of data — this new hardware could become a nice way for people to try out OpenStack (not to mention the underlying Ubuntu operating system).

It could also work wonders for other companies that sell hardware for OpenStack. That includes a long list of vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and the more up-and-coming Nebula.

More immediately, though, it should result in some nice attention for Tranquil PC, which isn’t exactly a big name in the data-center hardware business.

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