Cloudwatt is using open source technology, including OpenStack and Juniper's OpenContrail, to build a public, sovereign cloud service that can resist surveillance from the US National Security Agency (NSA).
"We're building a sovereign cloud -- a public cloud for French and European businesses, and eventually government agencies, hosted in data centers -- where in no way the NSA would be able to investigate," says Régis Allègre, VP Software Engineering for Cloudwatt.
Cloudwatt, which launched its service June 30, was founded in 2012 with investment from Orange, the Thales Group, and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, an investment arm of the French government. The Cloudwatt service is hosted in France, to take advantage of data protection regulation.
Open source provides security that enhances surveillance-proofing the cloud, Allègre says. "With open source, we always have the opportunity to see whether there are actual leaks in the code base, which would be harder to do with proprietary vendors," Allègre says.
Cloudwatt uses the OpenStack cloud computing platform, and chose Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR)'s OpenContrail for virtual networking in September. At that time, Cloudwatt was uncertain whether OpenStack's Neutron virtual networking service, based on Open vSwitch, would meet scalability and operation requirements of Cloudwatt's public cloud. Proprietary solutions from VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)'s Nicira and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) had their own problems: They did not provide the necessary transparency, had significant licensing costs, and were insufficiently scalable. Cloudwatt also looked at OpenDaylight, but deemed it wasn't ready at the time, Allègre says. (See Cloudwatt Deploys OpenContrail for SDN.)
In addition to scalability, OpenContrail provides MPLS and Layer 3 VPN support to facilitate integrating multi-tenant virtual networks in the data centers and connecting WAN networks. For OpenContrail, Cloudwatt also values the available management tools for investigating issues, monitoring, and other operations functions.
Cloudwatt's customers include Orange and other stakeholders, integrators, and the Renater network of French universities.
For the future, Cloudwatt would like to add greater network-as-a-service capabilities, including advanced load balancing-as-a-service, as well as simplifying private network extensions into its public cloud.
The Cloudwatt deployment is a nice win for OpenContrail, which plays an uncertain role in the virtual networks ecosystem. With the existence of both OpenDaylight and Neutron, it's hard to see what purpose OpenContrail serves.
Juniper has been a Platinum sponsor of the OpenDaylight project but kept that relationship at arm's length until recently, when it named a representative to the project's Technical Steering Committee and submitted the OpenContrail Plugin to OpenDaylight. The plugin would allow the OpenContrail SDN controller to coordinate with the OpenDaylight SDN controller. (Juniper Gives OpenDaylight Some Loving.)
Juniper bought SDN startup Contrail Systems in December 2012 for $176 million cash and stock. It released Contrail's SDN controller as open-source in September 2013. (See Juniper Buys Contrail for (More) SDN Smarts.)
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