So, why should one use a Hyper Open Cloud?
The answer is simple: in order to avoid the trap of conventional clouds in 2020, a trap that will cause of lot of problems to your company, cost you a lot of money and maybe even cost you the control of your company.
By adopting Hyper Open Cloud immediately in addition to conventional public clouds, just like companies adopted Linux and Free Software in addition to Windows 25 years ago, you are protecting your future.
With Hyper Open Cloud, you are deploying in your company a different form of cloud service that will make your company much more competitive with a level of flexibility, sustainability and innovation that does not exist with conventional public clouds.
You are also sending a strong message to conventional public clouds. This strong message will make conventional public clouds improve their service and reduce their price.
Adopting Hyper Open Cloud is an instant win-win decision.
A quick win to complement what is missing already in conventional public clouds.
A quick win to prepare the next negociation round with conventional public clouds.
Illustration credit: Mousetrap Vectors by Vecteezy
Conventional public clouds in 2020 have many flaws.
They are overpriced: about 10 times what it would cost to do the same by yourself.
Western clouds are mostly unavailable in China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea.
They are often unreliable: some components provided by the APIs and the Platform as a Service (PaaS) are either outdated or flawed. There is no way to fix them by yourself. Support will tell you to wait for the next release for a fix in a few months, if you are lucky.
APIs are not supported over long period of time. They sometimes change, which forces users to change the code of their application.
Conventional public clouds are deeply insecure: due to extraterritorial justice, foreign governements have the right to install backdoors and break into your trade secrets.
They use mutually incompatible APIs and mutually incompatible services which are based on different binaries and source code versions.
They try to lock you in and prevent you from repatriating on premise or moving to another cloud.
They also sometimes abuse of their dominant position to kill competition. Alicloud abused its dominant position in China to destroy other CDN providers. Azure's approach to bundle free cloud and free training of proprietary APIs might also fall into this category.
All the problems observed with conventional public clouds have not been solved yet, neither by the lawsuits initiated by the European Union nor by consortia such as Gaia-X. History seems to repeat, 25 years after Windows 95's near-monopoly.
All the problems observed with conventional public clouds have not been solved either by Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) alone.
Most solutions (Kubernetes, OpenNebula, OpenStack, OpenSVC, Proxmox, XCP-NG) have their strengths but are overall insufficient to build a complete cloud per se. Many features are missing. Much integration effort or custom development is required to cover those missing features.
If one needs a proof of this situation, simply observe OVHCloud, the largest cloud operator in Europe and one of the top-10 cloud operators in the world. Despite the fact that OVHCloud operates already both OpenStack and Kubernetes clusters, the company ended up purchasing a license of Anthos software from Google to cover the feature that were missing.
What is needed to build a cloud in addition to virtualisation software such as qemu/kvm or orchestration abstractions such as containers or nano-containers, is what people call an OSS/BSS software in the telecom industry. The term OSS/BSS stands for operation support system and business support system. It is a kind of cloud ERP which encapsulates operation management, orchestration, disaster recovery, monitoring, lifecycle management, issue tracking, accounting and billing.
Rapid.Space is built around one of the only open source cloud software which supports all the OSS/BSS requirements for a cloud. It provides a service profile format to specify what is a "cloud service" by encapsulating self-healing, monitoring, accounting, disaster recovery, portability, system upgrade, resource sharing and delegation in addition to basic build and run.
In addition to OSS/BSS, a complete cloud service requires tight integration with the network operating system (NOS) down from the top-of-rack (ToR) switch up to the global end-points of the CDN. This also something which is rarely covered by most FLOSS solutions besides SlapOS and Rapid.Space.
Yer, even though SlapOS covers all those OSS/BSS features, it is still not enough. Without formalised operation management procedures to train and organise staff, it takes about two years to acquire the know how and operate a cloud.
Rather than digging further into Rapid.Space, this presentation will now focus on the general concept behind Rapid.Space: "Hyper Open Cloud".
Hyper Open Cloud may be a new concept to most readers since it was created in 2019. Besides Rapid.Space, it is being adopted by other cloud companies such as BSO (220+ POPs in the world).
We will try to convince you why you should consider Hyper Open Cloud as soon as posible for your company in order to gain digital independence and protect your trade secrets.
We will first define what is Hyper Open Cloud and how it is based on open source, open hardware and open service.
We will then introduce in a second part Rapid.Space as an example of Hyper Open Cloud implementation.
In a third part, we will explain how we adress the problem of sovereignty and juridical protection against foreign government surveillance.
In conclusion, we will highlight the relation between Hyper Open Cloud and conventional clouds: the more you use the first, the more the later improves. Just like Linux and Windows, open source and propritary software.
Hyper Open Cloud is the combination of Open Source, Open Hardware and Open Service.
The term "Hyper Open Cloud" was coined in September 2019 by Tariq Krim for the first preview of Rapid.Space at the Open Compute Conference in Amsterdam. It is a new philosophy for the cloud industry invented to solve the problems observed in conventional public clouds.
Just like conventional public clouds, it relies on Open Source / Free Software. Azure relies for example on scikit-learn for AI. AWS RDS relies on MariaDB.
Just like conventional public clouds, it relies on Open Source hardware. The design of most Facebook servers is open source and was donated to the Open Compute Project (OCP). Azure uses baremetal switches from open source hardware manufacturers.
But unlike conventional public clouds, Hyper Open Cloud goes way beyond being based on open source software or hardware. It is itself entirely open source.
Hyper Open Cloud applies to the cloud service itself the same ideas that were applied to Free Software and Open Source Hardware. Hyper Open Cloud makes sure that the way the cloud service is operated and provided to the client is completely open, transparent and without lock-in or discrimination.
This is called "open service".
Unlike conventional public clouds, Hyper Open Cloud is entirely open source and not "based on open source".
There are often three key items which are not open source in conventional public clouds: operation management software, operation management procedures and certain patches to open source software.
The operation management software is the software that automates the delivery of cloud services: provisionning, configuration, orchestration, billing, monitoring, self-healing, disaster recovery, etc. Operation management procedures are the procedures that engineers and technicians should strictly follow for all aspects of a cloud service which can not be automated.
Free Software and Open Source Hardware without Open Source Operation Management is the same as eggs, ham and pasta without the precise recipe to cook them and the management procedures to operate a restaurant serving carbonara pasta. Even if one hires an expensive chef, the taste will be different from the original. And if one does not know how to manage a restaurant, he won't be able to serve any customer any time soon.
Operation management is thus the core of the secret know-how of conventional public clouds.
Operation management requires an OSS/BSS software (such as SlapOS) and a handbook of operation management procedures (such as Rapid.Space handbook). In conventional public clouds, both are secret (with the partial exception of Google's Anthos software which is proprietary). In a Hyper Open Cloud, both are open source.
In addition to operation management, most conventional public clouds apply patches to open source software and keep them secret. This type of secret also prevents repatriating or porting cloud services from one provider to another.
Unlike conventional public clouds, Hyper Open Cloud is an "open service".
Open Service is a general concept which applies to any service industry. It is the same idea for the service industry as Free Software to the software industry.
An open service provides more rights to the client.
The right to use a service without borders or discrimination.
The right to reproduce the service.
The right to study how the service is made.
The right to modify the service and provide the modified service to other users.
The idea of open service applies to cloud but also to any service: operating a restaurant, providing electricity, water distribution, etc.
Open service acts as a new type of player in any service market where leading players keep their operation procedures, operation technologies and operation data secret enough to slow down market competition, hinder innovation and maintain overpricing. Open service consists essentially of sharing with competitors and clients the knowldege and technologies needed for the service operation. The main benefit of open service is to eliminate lock-in problems observed in certain service industries such as cloud or utility services.
One of the first examples of open service can be found in an executive order (2016-65) of the French government introduced on January 29, 2016 in relation to public utility markets. This executive order requires (Article 53) private operators of utility services to provide access to essential data needed by another operator to continue operating the service (thanks to Maurice Ronai for teaching us this source). Although its scope is limited, it was the first time that the intellectual property of utility operators was restricted in order to facilitate service portability and free competition.
Let us now understand how Hyper Open Cloud is implemented in practice.
Like many cloud services, Hyper Open Cloud uses Free Software and Open Source Hardware. But unlike many cloud services, it uses only Free Software and Open Source Hardware. Using Open Source Software protects portability, reliability and security. Using Open Source Hardware reduces security risk such as supply chain attacks.
All its operation management is open source: software and handbook of procedures. Open source operation management provides reversibility and protects the ability to repatriate cloud loads.
Users can request an audit at any time, which is then published. Public audits give trust, because there is no trust without control.
In some Hyper Open Cloud, users can contribute their own infrastructure to create a public point of presence or a private point of presence. They can also contribute custom service profiles which extend the default service offer. By letting users of any nationality contribute,Hyper Open Cloud achieves digital independnace, also known as digital sovereignty.
Also, in some Hyper Open Cloud, the cloud provider does not store user passwords. This is called Zero Knowledge, a technology which can guarantee sovereignty everywhere, even if some points of presence are submitted to legislations with extra-territorial reach. Zero Knowledge is best best possible protection of corporate trade secret against foreign surveillance.
In summary, conventional public clouds as of now cannot guarantee portability, reliability, security, reversibility, trust, sovereignty and trade secret. But if conventional public clouds adopt some of the approaches of Hyper Open Cloud, then they may also enjoy some of its benefits.
Rapid.Space (2020), BSO (planned) and more to join
After a succesful preview in 2019, the Rapid.Space International company was formed in 2020. It is the first Hyper Open cloud provider.
More providers are expected to join the Hyper Open cloud movement in 2021.
Rapid.Space demonstrates all the potential benefits of Hyper Cloud.
It is affordable: 2 to 10 times cheaper than AWS.
It is available everywhere, even in mainland China. And nothing prevents Rapid.Space to be made available in Cuba, Iran or Noth Korea in one way or another.
It is reliable: if one finds a bug in service profiles, he or she could fix it or let someone else fix it.
It is supported with APIs that can last more than 10 years and service profiles that are not required to be upgraded.
It is secure through the possibility of code audit, hardware audit and operation audit.
It is compatible with any service users prefer. For example, Rapid.Space CDN does not force users to chose between Apache, NGINX or Caddy. It supports them all. And if one more is needed, users can add it.
It is open to any CPU target (x86, ARM, PowerPC, etc.) and it can be deployed and integrated with other cloud infrastructures (AWS, Azure, Alicloud, Hetzner, etc.).
And it is federated by relying on infrastructure owned by different companies in each country in order to achieve digital sovereignty.
Rapid.Space has two web sites: https://rapid.space (available worldwide except mainland China) and https://rapidspace.cn (mainland China). This provides a global coverage.
The primary service of Rapid.Space is a high performance virtual private server (VPS) at reasonable cost, combined with a CDN infrastructure for accelerated web content delivery.
Rapid.Space was founded in 2020 by Nexedi, Amarisoft and a few VIPs from IT and telecom industries.
Nexedi brings to Rapid.Space its open source stack, in particular its billing platform, its edge-cloud platform and its big data platform, all open source.
Amarisoft brings to Rapid.Space its purely software defined 4G/5G stack which covers all aspects needed for commercial deployment, including SA, NSA, NBIoT, etc.
Rapid.Space's concept is to provide to developers the minimum they need in order to deploy an application worldwide.
There are three basic services: Virtual Private Server (VPS), Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Software Defined Network (SDN).
VPS provides a way for developers to install their applications. It is similar to dedicated server services from companies such as Scaleway or Hetzner in Europe.
CDN provides a front-end solution to deliver data to end-users or to collect data from IoT. It is similar to Cloudflare or qiniu CDN in China.
SDN provides a way to interconnect Rapid.Space CDN and VPS through a latency-optimized IPv6 network. This service is quite unique: it also provides a way to interconnect Rapid.Space to other cloud services (AWS, Azure, GCP, Scaleway, Alicloud, UCloud, Qingcloud, etc.) with good networking performance.
Based on this minimal approach, developers should install by themselves open source software on VPS and build their applications: database (MariaDB, PosgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.), web server (Apache, Nginx, etc.), load balancer (Haproxy, ProxySQL, etc.). They should rely on the vast libraries available in python, PHP, ruby, Java, golang, nodejs, etc. to extend features.
Developers may use whichever tool they prefer for devops: SlapOS, OpenSVC, Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible, Chef, Puppet, buildout, etc. Even though Rapid.Space is based on SlapOS and buildout, Rapid.Space service can be used with other devops technologies.
The philosophy of Rapid.Space is thus the opposite of conventional cloud providers in the USA or in China. Rapid.Space provides very few services and lets developers rely on open source to achieve what they need. Thanks to this approach, developers can keep control on their applications and later move, if they wish, to another cloud platform.
There is no vendor lock-in.
Some types of services can be difficult or time-consuming to implement for developers on their own. This is the case of services that require clustering (use of multiple servers), hard real-time (industrial edge) or radio frequencies (4G/5G vRAN).
For each of these services, Rapid.Space provides a solution based on open source software.
Rapid.Space provides a "Big Data" platform that combines the features of a data lake with transactional object storage, high-availability scalable relational database and out-of-core data processing in python (AI, physical models).
Rapid.Space provides an "Edge" platform that is optimised for automation (factory, building, etc.) and remote deployment of AI models.
Rapid.Space provides a "vRAN" network management system suitable for 4G/5G private networks (factories, hospitals, etc.) or public networks (telecom, government).
All advanced services are available to selected B2B customers as preview. General availability is expected in 2021.
All services are provided with source code under open source license (Big Data, Edge) or business license (vRAN).
Read online: How does Rapid.Space and SlapOS compare to AWS?
Any service that does not fit into Rapid.Space basic services (VPS, CDN, SDN) or advanced services (Big Data, Edge, vRAN) can be developed as a custom service.
Based on an early assessment, 85% of cloud services provided by Amazon AWS could actually be implemented with Rapid.Space low cost, high performance cloud and the various open source stacks such as SlapOS (75% services) and a few third party Free Software (10% services).
Rapid.Space provides a Platform as a Service (PaaS) so that developers can add new services to Rapid.Space.
Server-based custom services are developed with buildout language and SlapOS nano-container technology. They cover features such as:
A collection of sample buildout profiles is provided. They cover a wide range of cloud services and even include an open source ERP.
One should however keep in mind that many cloud services are actually no longer required with the introduction of technologies such as Progressive Web Applications (PWA). Quite often, there is even no need to develop a custom cloud service for Rapid.Space. A PWA will do better. This is due to the fact that a lot a server based architectures can now be implemented as browser based. Not only this saves time, money, energy and CO2, it also provides better scalability and portability.
Rapid.Space is available in Europe (France, Germany, Sweden, Nertherlands, Bulgaria), in Shanxi (north of mainland China) with two data centers and in Taiwan.
Rapid.Space IPv6 backbone is based on a hybrid mesh network which relies on hundreds of routers worldwide. Thanks to babel technology (RFC 6126), all sorts of congestions can be avoided. Latency can be minimized.
Rapid.Space provides HTTPS front-ends (HTTP1, HTTP2, HTTP3) in 10 different locations worldwide. In China, Rapid.Space front-ends are placed with all major carriers: CT, CU and CM.
Rapid.Space is supported by a network of experienced cloud integrators. Rapid.Space selects cloud integrators and engineers with a long experience in at least 3 of the open source core technologies used by Rapid.Space.
Rapid.Space cloud integrators can provide training, cloud migration services, operation management automation, big data lake implementation, 4G/5G vRAN deployment and industrial edge computing.
Current network covers most of the European Union, Russia, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, Argentina and Brazil. We expect it to extend it soon in North America and Africa.
The goal of Rapid.Space is to provide sovereignty and trust through full reversibility. You may consider this goal as providing the kind of service that companies such as Huawei, Palantir or AWS are not able to provide due a combination of IP and legal policies.
This goal applies to every business which Rapid.Space is targeting.
Rapid.Space already provides a reversible cloud platform that can be used for public or private clouds. All components of this platform are open source, including the hardware, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise or have it operated by a third party at no license cost.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible big data platform with a scope simllar to Palantir. All components of this platform are open source, including the hardware, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise or have it operated by a third party at no license cost.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible Edge computing platform which includes everything needed for Industry 4.0, including PLC, sensors, actuators. Again, all components are open source.
Rapid.Space intends to provide a reversible RAN platform which supports 4G/5G and can be used for both private and public networks. Most components are open source. Some components may be licensed source, meaning that any customer can "clone" this platform on-premise and audit its source code at some license cost.
Rapid.Space software is open source or licensed source for a few exceptions.
Nexedi's SlapOS provides the OSS/BSS and edge cloud stack.
Nexedi's re6st provides the latency optimised hybrid mesh.
Accton's OpenAOS provides the network operationg system of switches.
Amarisoft stack provides 4G/5G vRAN stack.
Let us have a closer look at what Hyper Open Cloud means in practice.
For example, in Rapid.Space one can purchase online the same hardware as the one used by Rapid.Space in their own data centers. Rapid.Space tells you which model is used from which supplier. Most of the hardware are open source. A few of them are licensed source, which means that it is possible to access the industrial design source files but under a non open source license.
The right to study a Hyper Open Cloud takes, in the case of Rapid;Space, the form a handbook and of public audits.
Rapid.Space handbook not only describes how to use the cloud service. It also describes how to operate a point of presence, step by step. Management processes of Rapid.Space International company are also being added little by little to the handbook, as in a work-in-progress through constant updates.
There is still no general rule to evaluate and compared the costs of a Hyper Open Cloud. We can however compare the cost of Rapid.Space and conventional public clouds.
During the POC and MVP phase, conventional public clouds provide extensive documentation, dozens of tutorials and sometimes "on site" assistance or even software development. This can make the cost of a POC or MVP very low, sometime free.
However, after the POC and MVP phase, the price of conventional public clouds tend to be very high. Since there is no portability and reversibility, there is no way to change provider and lower costs.
In the case of Rapid.Space, a well trained Linux developer will find an efficient way to use VPS, CDN and SDN services and deliver at low cost both POC then an MVC. Less trained developers will take a bit more time.
After the POC and MVP phase, additional effort is required to automate all custom operation management using buildout scripts, especially for a scalable commercial products. This effort will be quickly compensated by lower long term costs thanks to the benefits of Hyper Open Cloud in termss of cost control and reversibility.
In order to achieve sovereignty, servers are owned by independent entities. No passwords are stored on Rapid.Space management platform.
Rapid.Space servers in France are owned by Nexedi, a French company with more than 90% of French stockholders.
Rapid.Space servers in China are owned by Xunkongjian, a Chinese national company.
If French secret services were requesting Rapid.Space to spy servers of Xunkongjian in China, Rapid.Space would answer "sorry, we do not have the passwords".
But if French secret services were requesting physical access to Nexedi servers, then Nexedi would say "OK". French secret services would then find out that smart Rapid.Space customers remotely configured an encryption key for the storage subsystem, which neither Nexedi or Rapid.Space have access to. Same for the X509 credentials.
With this approach, most problems of trade secret violation in current conventional clouds can be solved.
Rapid.Space has presence in China. Because it is Hyper Open, it has nothing to hide to Chinese government. This greatly simplifies acceptance of the service in a country which network is constantly under attack of foreign governments.
Thanks to its presence in China, Rapid.Space helps Chinese companies expand their operations outside China and non-Chinese companies expand their operations in China.
Rapid.Space relies on a global IPv6 backbone with dozens of CDN front-ends. The best front-end for each user is automatically selected by the Web browser. Thanks to this technology, users can always access corporate applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) with 100% success rate, no matter where they travel.
Most companies rely 100% on conventional public clouds with no clear competitive advantage besides their wide adoption.
Hyper Open Cloud services are most cost effective, more reliable, provide better control, better global presence and protect trade secret much better.
A company which starts adopting Hyper Open Cloud can benefit immediately from all the advantages of Hyper Open Clouds.
There is no requirement to switch entirely to Hyper Open Cloud. The move can be gradual, starting with 1% of cloud loads and growing.
At some point, conventional public clouds will evolve due to this new competition. They will reduce their price, provide better control, protect trade secret better, etc.
Adopting Hyper Open Cloud is thus a win win choice: it provides unique benefits for new cloud loads while improving the competitiveness of existing cloud loads.
Just like Linux vs. Windows did for operationg systems.
For more information, please contact Jean-Paul, CEO of Rapid.Space (+33 629 02 44 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org).