A Beginners Guide to Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage: Part II

This is part II of a multi-part series providing beginners a guide with the technical details surrounding Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage. Be sure to check out part I here.


The cloud is playing a critical role in the minds of CEOs and CIOs. The ‘cloud’ means different things to different people – IaaS, SaaS, PaaS – Public, Hybrid or all on-prem. Regardless of who’s computer the application runs on, the cloud holds a part of all long-term IT strategies. A unique pillar which the cloud-style consumption brings forth is the concept of utility style computing and self-service consumption of resources.

Self-service IT infrastructure is a key enabler for IT organizations to quickly scale initiatives with predictable quality. Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage (CDS) is uniquely positioned to shake-up the infrastructure landscape as it brings forth a unique approach which is completely focused around the cloud.

The Cloud-Defined Storage Approach

A core design principle within CDS is the separation of the on-premises data plane from the cloud-based control plane. The brains of CDS is in the cloud-based control plane – Nebulon ON. The on-premises control plane is delivered as an application server based IoT endpoint in the form factor of a full-length, full-height, double-wide PCIe 3.0 compliant card. Each IoT endpoint utilizes internal storage of the application servers to provide shared and local access to storage volumes. Each green-field application server is equipped with an SPU at the time of purchase from the server OEM and clustered together to form an nPod.

For an organization which operates servers on-premises the separation of the on-premises data plane from the cloud-based control plane is an approach which is unique to Nebulon CDS. There are many benefits a customer is able to achieve with this separation of duties approach.

1.) “Rack to full stack” for any application, anywhere in minutes

This is the panacea for customers whom are looking to employ-self service tenants within their data center. There are many technical implementations and options to achieve this. However, the two principals from a Nebulon perspective which allow us to play a critical role…

API-first design – If customers are looking to deploy a platform it must be built with the API first. Nebulon provides a fully featured API-based architecture with SDKs in Python, Go and C# and a PowerShell module. Automation is a key capability of the Nebulon platform which allows the ability to plug Nebulon into your existing automation workflows or DevOps practices. Leveraging the Nebulon Python SDK and PowerShell module as well as Ansible for automation is simple. Below are a few nPod specific examples to help get started.

Deploying an nPod with AWX

My colleague Aaron – @JediMT – put together a good demo illustrating deploying Cloud-Defines Storage in a VMware environment utilizing NebPowerAutomate (Nebulon Powershell) with PowerCLI.

Configuration Templates – CDS allows customers the ability to build and deploy their artifacts based on a template design. Meaning that it is easy to reproduce consistent app deployments all the way from the cloud-init enabled boot image, to how the storage are configured and presented to the application servers within the nPod.

Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage Configuration Template

2.) “As-a-Service” storage operations simplified

The cloud-based control plane, Nebulon ON delivers new features and functionality in a SaaS manner – much like Gmail, Microsoft 365 or even Amazon Web Services for example. No customer action is required! Nebulon ON consumes telemetry data from systems deployed around the globe and this data is fed into a data lake. Analysis is done on the datasets consumed and AI / ML is applied so the cloud can become smarter and more predictive. One example is intelligent capacity planning which will alert when capacity is low. In the future the cloud will make recommendations on the most optimal locations to run workloads. This intelligence extends beyond just the UI into how the Support experience from Nebulon is delivered. The cloud will proactively open support cases on behalf of the customer before issues even occur!

The vast majority of updates will be cloud-control plane based. The infrequent updates to nebOS – the software which runs on the IoT endpoints is able to be deployed with zero downtime to applications or their storage. Updates can be applied via the Nebulon UI or via SDK.

Nebulon ON software management

I’ve written an Ansible Module which will update all SPUs which are not in a nPod with a single click.

Ansible module for Nebulon Software Management in AWX.

3.) No new vendor required

IT procurement prefers to purchase from known and approved vendors. Cloud-Defined Storage is purchased and supported directly from the server OEM and the IoT endpoints are integrated at the time of purchase – no after the fact science projects! As of writing this blog post it Nebulon CDS is able to be purchased from Supermicro and HPE via their vOEM Program. Purchasing CDS is simple – it’s a line-item on your application server bill of materials (BOM).

Recently I hosted Eric Sindelar, GM Operations and Advanced Technology Development at Supermicro on nerdtalk and we discussed the partnership, go-to-market strategy, use-cases and support!


This was Part II of a special series on Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage. Up next I will explain one of the most critical topics and coolest design implementations within Cloud-Defined Storage: Data and Communication Security.

Stay tuned, Clint

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