ZeroStack Emerges From Stealth With Hyper-Converged OpenStack Appliance

A group of virtualization pros have plans to disturb the enterprise data center with a prepackaged, self-service cloud appliance.

ZeroStack, a startup based in Mountain View, Calif., that came out of stealth on Wednesday, will bring to market an ultra-converged scalable system with a SaaS layer that includes management, operational intelligence and analytics tools.

CEO Ajay Gulati, who spent six years at VMware, told CRN the appliance offers the easiest and fastest way to deploy an enterprise-grade private cloud.

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At the same time, "we look and feel like a public cloud," Gulati added.

Gulati, who founded the company with Kiran Bondalapati, an AMD and Bromium veteran, said what would take months with other solutions, ZeroStack can deploy the infrastructure in 15 minutes.

The company got off the ground a little more than a year ago, and has been conducting trials with select customers.

"You start with a converged hardware appliance, give it an IP address and you're done. It looks like AWS, but you're going to your own private cloud," Gulati told CRN.

The project was conceived out of his time at VMware, when he typically heard from clients how daunting it was to build a cloud for their business -- they said they either struggled with complex private clouds, or deployed simpler ones over which they had little control.

The ZeroStack solution runs the KVM hypervisor, and uses OpenStack as a management layer on which it runs its ZeroStack SaaS layer.

"We take care of all services: configuring, managing, self-healing. It's all hidden from the customers," Gulati told CRN. "You don't have to worry about configuring the hypervisor with management software and monitoring tools."

The technology allows customers to start small, grow fast and add features as they go, he said.

The basic configuration is a 2U node consisting of four servers that offer 32 cores, 128 GB of RAM, and a 4-TB SATA drive in addition to a 1.6-TB SSD drive.

ZeroStack, currently conducting beta tests with about 10 customers, is planning release for general availability sometime in the fall. The cost of the system will include an initial hardware purchase and monthly billing for the SaaS tools.

The startup currently is only doing direct sales, but over the next few months plans on enlisting channel partners. It's in the early stages of discussions with some solution providers, Gulati said.

ZeroStack has obtained $5.6 million in Series A funding led by Foundation Capital. Mark Leslie, founder and CEO of Veritas, has joined the board.