Mesosphere and the Overarching Data Center Operating System

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 25, 2016

One of the most interesting companies ever to innovate by leveraging an open source Apache project has to be Mesosphere, which OStatic covered this week as it hauled in a hefty $73.5 million funding round. Hewlett Packard Enterprise led the round, with participation from Microsoft, and Microsoft has been rumored to have had its eyes on owning the company outright.

Mesosphere's flagship product is its Data Center Operating System (DCOS), which is based on Apache Mesos. Here is more background on DCOS, and why you should know about it.

As Business Insider notes:

"Customers like Verizon are using Mesosphere DCOS to manage their data centers. And Apple, Twitter, and Airbnb all use Mesos, the free software under the hood at Mesosphere, to wrangle the tremendous amounts of data that go into their products."

Back in 2014, Ben Hindman, shown at the top of this post, joined Mesosphere, and we interviewed Hindman about the Data Center Operating System here

"What was built around Mesos and packaged into the Mesosphere DCOS are the other components that you would expect of an operating system," Hindman noted. "For example, the DCOS includes Marathon which acts as the distributed “init” system. Marathon uses the Mesos kernel to automatically launch and scale specific system and user applications. In addition to Marathon, the Mesosphere DCOS includes Chronos which provides distributed cron, i.e., the ability to launch applications on a regularly scheduled basis. The Mesosphere DCOS includes a Service Discovery component as well - a way of naming and finding specific applications as they are moved around in your datacenter or cloud."

"There are a number of other components we’ve built in related to storage, managing containers, and other functionality that we view as key for running the next generation of distributed applications," Hindman added at the time. "And as with any other successful operating system, a huge focus for its evolution will be expanding the library of applications and frameworks that are natively supported."

What serves as the underlying need for this kind of operating system? It's the fact that datacenters are increasingly heterogenous environments running multiple types of platforms and applications. When we spoke with him, Hindman said: "Operators will stop thinking in terms of individual servers, and more in terms of reasoning across pools of resources and running distributed applications."

That is happening now, and driving the need for platforms like DCOS. One benefit to DCOS is that with it installed, you can start running important tools like Spark and Cassandra within a managed environment. 

"Mesosphere is at the center of three of the biggest tech trends today -- cloud, containerization, and microservices," said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud + Enterprise division. "Mesosphere's DCOS is preferred by our enterprise customers given the maturity of the container orchestration solution, and that's why we chose it as a key component for bringing containers to our enterprise-grade Microsoft Azure cloud platform."