Build your own cloud with antMan


Pricing Model

Just as one barn swallow does not a summer make, a single instance of edgeLinux and antMan does not a private cloud make. After all, the whole idea behind a cloud is to scale seamlessly. With antMan, however, this only makes sense if your organization is willing to pay the provider. Otherwise, it's all over after installing the first instance, and rolling out multiple antMan nodes just gives you many individual mini-clouds instead of a federation.

The good news is that antMan now does not require you to purchase antsle hardware. Instead, you are free to combine your own hardware with antMan licenses. Above the free Community Edition, Antsle Inc. has a three-tier subscription model, all billed per CPU up to 12 cores. The Essential package offers software-defined networking (SDN) support for internal VLANs, functional patches, backups, and three support tickets per year for $29/month.

All of the above is included in the Grow license plus SDN trunks, antlet-level clustering, load balancers, and 10 tickets per year at a cost of $149/month. Finally, at $599/month, the Scale option has Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) support, lets you move VMs from private to public clouds also operated by antMan (for availability at short notice), and offers an unlimited number of support tickets. Additionally, you get discounts on antMan appliances.

The way the features are divided into the different subscription levels has certainly provoked some criticism. In particular, the fact that LDAP is only available in the expensive Scale option makes antMan unattractive to many small and midsized businesses (SMBs). After all, large LDAP or Active Directory structures are found not only in large corporations. However, try to use this feature in antMan, and you are asked to dig absurdly deep into your pockets.


The antMan software takes you quickly from bare metal to a virtualization node that can be controlled remotely and meaningfully over APIs. If you want to turn this nucleus into a real private cloud, you will have to pay at least $29/month per node – if you are willing to do without LDAP.

All told, antMan is aimed at smaller companies. Support for external scalable storage, for example, is not readily available because, if worst comes to worst, antMan prefers to roll out a Ceph cluster across the hard disks of the known compute nodes. Such a hyperconverged setup is particularly useful in deployment scenarios where you want to get by with as little hardware as possible. In practical terms, though, it also has some disadvantages.

The situation is similar for various other functions that approach applications such as OpenStack in a completely different way. However, if you are looking for the simplest possible tool to run a few VMs with a functional API, antMan is the right choice.

The Author

Freelance journalist Martin Gerhard Loschwitz focuses primarily on topics such as OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Chef.

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