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.
Mousetrap Vectors by Vecteezy
Conventional public clouds in 2020 have many flaws.
They are expensive: 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They are often unreliable: some components provided by the APIs and the Platform as a Service (PaaS) are either outdated or flawed.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 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 did this to CDN providers in China. Azure's appraoch to bundle free cloud and free training to proprietary APIs might also fall in this category.
I will introduce today an idea which is probably new to many of you: Hyper Open Cloud. And I will try to convince you why should consider it as soon as posible for your company if you wish to protect your digital independence and your trade secrets.
In a first part, I'd like you to recall the story of Windows 95, how everyone thought it would eliminate all competition despite its numerous flaws and how it eventually failed to conquer the world because of a Free Software called Linux.
In a second part, I will show why Public clouds in 2020 have a lot in common with Windows 95 from 25 years ago. Most companies believe they should adopt them, despiste their numerous flaws. But a new idea called "Hyper Open Cloud" will most likely prevent them from conquering the world.
In a third part, I will explain how Hyper Open Cloud can bring the same benefits to cloud services as Free Software does: the right to use, the right to copy, the right to study and the right to improve. They make your company more efficient. They create an incentive for conventional public clouds to fix their flaws.
I will then introduce in a fourth part Rapid.Space, the Linux of Hyper Open Cloud. It was created in 2009 and has been used in companies such as SANEF, PSA Group or the City of Munich. It is available worlwide, inluding in China.
In conclusion, I will list the reasons for your company to adopt Rapid.Space. Besides being Hyper Open, Rapid.Space is also in many areas more capable than conventional public clouds thanks to its native support of distributed edge computing and radio access networks
Open Service applies to the service industry the same ideas as Free Software to the software industry.
One of the first early examples of open service definition can be found in an executive order (2016-65) by French government introduced on january 29, 2016 in relation to public utility markets.
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.
The lock in problems that companies are facing with cloud providers are also not so different from the lock in problems that local governments face with utility providers such as water distribution companies. By keeping operation procedures and operation data secret, water distribution companies have been able to slow down market competition, slow down innovation and double water price.
Service lock in problems can be eliminated with open service. For cloud, for water distribution or for any service which becomes more efficient whenever service operation information is shared between competitors and clients.
Just like Windows 25 years ago, books, lawsuits or consortia will not solve the problems of public cloud in 2020. Those problems are too deeply rooted in the nature of the digital economy with forces that can take down a government.
We also now understand why Free Software alone does not solve the problems of public cloud in 2020. It misses the operation management aspect which has to be wrapped around it in order to turn a cloud software into a cloud service. Moreover, some Free Software communities are simply hostile to cloud and thus focus on eliminating cloud instead of creating a better cloud.
Something really new is needed: a kind of philosophy for the cloud world. We call it "Cloud Libre" or "Hyper Open Cloud", a term coined in September 2019 by Tariq Krim for the first preview of Rapid.Space at the Open Compute Conference in Amsterdam.
Hyper Open Cloud builds on top of the ideas behind Free Software and Open Source Hardware. But instead of focusing on the software or the hardware, it focuses on the service itself. Hyper Open Cloud makes sure the that way the cloud service is operated and provided to the client is open and transparent.
This is called "open service".
Hyper Open Cloud is thus the combination of Free Software, Open Source Hardware and Open Service.
Three key items which are not open source in conventional public clouds are the operation management software, the 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. And the 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 of the restaurant serving carbonara. Even if you hire an expensive chef, the taste will be different. And if you do not know how to manage a restaurant, you won't be able to serve any customer.
Operation management is thus the core of the secret know-how of conventional public clouds. Only a single open source software covers all aspects of operation management: SlapOS. And until the Rapid.Space handbook was released, all operation management procedures were secret.
In addition to operation management, some conventional public clouds apply patches to open source software and keep them secret. This also prevents repatriating or porting cloud services.
Let us now understand how Hyper Open Cloud is implemented in practice.
Like many cloud services, it uses Free Software and Open Source Hardware. But unlike many cloud services, it uses only Free Software and Open Source Hardware.
All its operation management is open source: software and handbook of procedures.
Users can request an audit at any time, which is then published.
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.
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.
We know that it is difficult to meet all the requirements of a Hyper Open Cloud. Sometimes a company has to chose: do nothing or move forward by breaking some rules of Hyper Open Cloud.
It is therefore useful to understand what one is going to lose by abandonning certain aspects of a typical Hyper Open Cloud solution.
If one accepts to use software without its source code, he or she should be prepared to face problems of portability, reliability and security.
If one accepts to rely on a cloud service with secret operation management, he or she should accept to lose reversibility and the ability to repatriate cloud loads.
If one accepts to use proprietary hardware instead of open source or licensed source hardware, he or she should accept an increased security risk in supply chain attacks.
If one can accept a cloud provider which rejects public audits, he or she should accept to work without trust, because there is no trust without control.
If one accepts a cloud provider which rejects national contributions, then there is no way to guarantee digital sovereignty. Digital sovereignty can only be achieved if citizens of a given nationality can own, study and possibly modify a subset of the cloud infrastructure located in their country.
And if one accepts a cloud which stores passwords in a central database, then he ou she should be prepared for violations of corporate trade secret.
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.
There might be alternative ways to implement Hyper Open Cloud.
Yet, what seems fundamental to respect the mentioned four rights of Hyper Open Cloud is to ensure that source code is avaialable under open source licences for everything (software, hardware, operation management) and that public audits can be conducted to ensure that the service is implemented consistently with the operation management handbook.
The absence of contributors or of the Zero Knowledge technology may not prevent a cloud service to be Hyper Open.
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 may be a new name for you. We are going to present here who we are and what our goals are.
Rapid.Space infrastructure is growing. It is now deployed in Europe and Asia. It will soon be deployed in USA.
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.
The goal of Rapid.Space is to provide sovereignty and trust through full reversibility. You may consider this goal as providing the kind of thing 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 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 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.
In conclusion, I would like to talk about Rapid.Space network of experienced cloud integrators. Rapid.Space only 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 Europan Union, Russia, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, Argentina and Brazil. We expect it to extend soon in North America and Africa.
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 OVH 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, OVH, 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. 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.
There is still no general rule to evaluate costs of 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.
Rapid.Space adopts minimalism whereas conventional public clouds are based on hundreds of services.
We believe that minimalism if more efficient whereas providing hundreds of services is just a trick used by conventional public clouds to achieve vendor lock-in.
The underlying idea in Rapid.Space is that most services are simple enough to be implemented by a single developer through package installation (deb, rpm, npm, etc.) or Progressive Web Applications (PWA). If some automation is needed, any open source technology (buildout, SlapOS, OpenSVC, Ansible, Docker, Kubernetes, etc.) can be used. Custom services of Rapid.Space can fit the gap between packages and operation management automation.
Only very few sophisticated services which require a lot of resources or know how should be provided by Rapid.Space to save developer's time: CDN, SDN, Big Data lake, Edge Computing and 4G/5G vRAN.
Rapid.Space is different. It is Hyper Open, which brings portability, reliability, security, reversibility, trust, sovereignty and trade secret.
Rapid.Space ensures global delivery of services (including in China). It protects trade secret of its customers thanks to Zero Knowledge technology.
It is fully reversible (customers can quit Rapid.Space easily) and it is open to all sorts of contributions or extensions of its open source technology.
Anyone can contribute to Rapid.Space their own service in addition to the 70+ existing ones.
Anyone can contribute servers and datacenter to extend the worldwide coverage of Rapid.Space, as long as Rapid.Space procedures are respected.
Rapid.Space can be deployed on-premise too in a way that is typical of hybrid cloud.
It is also possible for one to operate a completely private infrastructure based on Rapid.Space, as Teralab does.
It is even possible to deploy Rapid.Space services on third-party public or private clouds (AWS, OVH, Azure, Alicloud, Hertzner, Huawei, VMWare, etc.) and benefit from all Rapid.Space services including its IPv6 backbone, CDN, IaaS, PaaS, etc.
All costs of Rapid.Space are transparent and described in "Business Model of a Low Cost Cloud Operator". The price of Rapid.Space is based on electricity, real estate, hardware amortisation, networking, operation management costs (software, human), hardware maintenance, financial costs. A 20% margin is added to cover all other risks related to the operation of a cloud service.Basically, there is no blocker, no secret, no anti-competitive practice of any sort in Rapid.Space.
Overall, Rapid.Space price is 2 to 10 times lower than conventional public clouds.
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 configured remotely 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.
The right to study of 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.
Let us have a look at what Hyper Open Cloud means in practice.
For example, in Rapid.Space you 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.
Real-time kernel, Industrial automation, FLOSS NOS
Rapid.Space's Edge operates seamlessly as an extension of Rapid.Space cloud that can offload at the Edge critical services that can not be hosted on the cloud.
Rapid.Space's Edge solution is based on rugged industrial hardware from selected vendors of open source hardware (Edge-core, Olimex).
It is designed for applications such as Industry 4.0, smart buildings, hospitals, etc. It supports continuous operation of critical functions that need to remain available even in case of Internet or cloud downtime.
This includes industrial automation (virtual PLC), AI model as a service, IoT buffering, resilient networking and safety functions.
Thanks to its global IPv6 backbone and its CDN front-ends, it is possible to create simple applications that will select automatically the best front-end for each user. Thanks to this technology, users can always access corporate applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) with 100% success rate. This approach is much more suitable for corporate applications than DNS based technologies which only provide 99% success rate. 99% is fine for e-commerce. But if the accountant of a company can not access the ERP of a company (because he or she is the 1% of the 99%), it is not acceptable.
Wendelin is an open-source, 100% Python-based platform for data ingestion, storage, analysis, and visualisation. It covers the following features:
Rapid.Space vRAN is an "all-in-one" solution to deploy public or private radio networks that can share the same frequency bands for both 4G and 5G thanks to DSS protocol.
Rapid.Space's vRAN solution is based on rugged industrial hardware from selected vendors (Edge-core, BJT, AW2S).
Rapid.Space includes automated network operation management suitable for private networks with thousands of users deployed over unlicensed frequencies.
A dedicated Rapid.Space infrastructure can also be provided to deploy public networks over licensed frequencies with millions of users. It is described in this sample offer.
By removing vendor lock-in and technology silos, Rapid.Space vRAN service can support innovative applications based on the convergence of cloud computing, edge computing and telecommunications.
For more information, please contact Jean-Paul, CEO of Rapid.Space (+33 629 02 44 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
I often hear the question: "aren't conventional public cloud open source?".
If you are aware of Microsoft Azure's marketing, you surely know that some lobbyists working at Microsoft claim that it is possible to use Azure only with "open source technologies and open formats".
It is absolutely true that Microsoft Azure is partly based on open source software, including Linux itself. Microsoft is even the author of SONIC, the open source networking switch software that powers the Microsoft Global Cloud.
It is also true that Microsoft Azure uses a lot open source hardware. Many switches at Microsoft are based on open source hardware of the Open Compute Project. This type of hardware is manufactured by companies such as Accton or Delta in Taiwan.
But not everything is open source, neither at Microsoft nor at AWS, Google or Alicloud.
History seems to repeat itself in 2020 with public clouds.
In the West, AWS (31%) and Azure (20%) are leading the public cloud market with GCP (6%) struggling behind.
In China, Alicloud (43%) is the leader of the market with Tencent (17%) and Baidu (9%) growing fast behind.
All public cloud providers are using similar tactics to compete against each other.
First, they provide free training and free service to users through startup programmes such as "Azure for Startups" or through global partnerships with system integrators such as ATOS and Google.
Users then develop applications based on proprietary cloud APIs they were trained to use.
After a year or two, cloud service is no longer free and actually becomes horrendously expensive. Some startups reveive a 100.000$ monthly bill just to run a couple of database transactions. But because APIs are proprietary, users are trapped in cloud jail. They can not repatriate their application. They can not move to another cloud.
Meanwhile, governments are watching this ubuesque drama and use all sorts of laws to break into your company's trade secrets: CLOUD Act in US, Cybersecurity Law in China, Loi Renseignement in France, and so on.