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Scality launches Zenko for multi-cloud management

Scality's new open source initiative is a multi-cloud management vision to help customers match specific workloads to the best cloud service. Zenko is based on Scality S3 Server.

Scality this week added Zenko open source software, a multi-cloud management controller to store data and applications under a single user interface wherever they reside.

Scality bills Zenko multi-cloud management software as an S3 API that works with any cloud's back-end storage, including Scality Ring. The controller is built on the object vendor's open source Scality S3 Server, which Scality claims has 500,000 DockerHub pulls since its June 2016 launch. 

Scality released the code used for Zenko to the open source community under an Apache 2.0 license so developers can extend its multi-cloud management capabilities. Developers can download Zenko from Zenko.io, DockerHub and GitHub.

Zenko can manage data and applications across any cloud, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google for redundancy and matching workloads with the best cloud service.

"[Open source] seems to be Scality's model. It's a method to vet a product," said George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland. "It's a good way to do a soft launch of a project and see where people go with it.

"Typically, there will be an open source or community version and then an enterprise version. The core will remain open and the [enterprise] features will be proprietary," Crump added.

In a blog on the Zenko.io website, Scality CTO Giorgio Regni argued that multi-cloud is not the same as a hybrid cloud. He said hybrid cloud is focused on tiering data while multi-cloud refers to using the right cloud for a specific application.

"There's a need to easily and transparently use different clouds based on their strength because in reality, AWS, Azure or Google Cloud each have their own area of expertise," he wrote.

The Scality multi-cloud management vision includes using one API, one global namespace and a metadata system to search across clouds.

Customers using Zenko can create a bucket in the Amazon cloud or a bucket in the Azure cloud and use whichever service is best suited for a specific workload via multi-cloud management. For example, a customer can run analytics in the Azure cloud while doing long-term archiving in the Amazon cloud.

"[Zenko] is a tool set that people can build on," Crump said. "Today it's not a turnkey, seamless access to multiple clouds. It's an enterprise-ready product. It's going to require a lot of personal work."

Scality product management vice president Paul Speciale said Zenko can be deployed as a set of container-based services, using Docker Swarm to "automate deployment and orchestrate functionality, including high availability failover." Applications can use the Scality S3 Server API to create buckets via Zenko and use location controls to associate those buckets with particular clouds. Zenko supports AWS style v4 authentication with access keys.

The Zenko multi-cloud management software will include two other components: Backbeat and Clueso. Backbeat is the policy-based data management engine for data workflow and Clueso is a Spark-based search engine that uses extended object metadata attributes for intelligent queries across clouds. Both features will be available in September.

"We welcome anyone who wants to contribute to Zenko and our vision to make data control and freedom possible and we're making it easy for developers to get involved," Speciale said. "Simply go to Zenko.io where there are Zenko download links, hosted on DockerHub. There are links there to download it on our GitHub page as well."

If you're wondering, Zenkos are mythical foxes with nine tails that attach themselves to Samurai families and protect them.

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