What Is Apache Mesos? Website Branding Review

Website Brand Review of Apache Mesos

How do open source projects get popular? By providing some useful functionality that users want to have. How do open source projects thrive over the long term? By turning those users into contributors who then help improve and maintain the project. How well a project showcases themselves on the web is an important part of the adoption and growth cycle.

Here’s my quick review of the Apache Mesos project, told purely from the point of view of a new user finding the project website. Mesos is turning into a major project in the big data and cloud space; not perhaps the obvious popularity of Apache Spark yet, but certainly big.

What Is Apache Mesos?

Apache Mesos abstracts CPU, memory, storage, and other compute resources away from machines (physical or virtual), enabling fault-tolerant and elastic distributed systems to easily be built and run effectively.

In other words, Mesos is built like the Linux kernel in terms of managing resources for user programs, but at a much higher level of abstraction. Mesos provides APIs for resource management and scheduling across both datacenters and the cloud.

No, Really, What Is Apache Mesos For?

Mesos allows you to run a variety of applications across the various machines of a datacenter or in the cloud, at small or very large scales. That is, Mesos is the manager that orchestrates allocating CPUs, storage, memory, etc. to the various component applications that you want to actually run. In many ways it’s like an operating system for the cloud. Mesos doesn’t do your big data work, but it can ensure your processing runs can be reliably managed across the datacenter or cloud instances that are doing the work.

Mesos provides master nodes for managing a cluster, with slave nodes on all resources. It then controls deploying your applications (which can be in Docker or other containers) – things like Hadoop, Spark, or ElasticSearch jobs – onto the various slaves. In particular it ensures each running task gets the resources it requires and manages deployment and execution.

Mesos supports a solid variety of apps and containers, and allows for fairly fine-grained allocation, both with a default model, as well as allowing you to program your own allocation models and priorities. You can run multiple types of frameworks supporting different types of jobs on the same Mesos cluster.

New User Website Perceptions

That is, what does a new user see “above the fold” when first coming to the Apache Mesos project homepage? For their first impression, is it easy to find things, and is the design appealing and easy to follow?

The homepage is simple in design and text, but has just basic description of functionality. Key links for Getting Started, Docs, and an obvious Download are right at the top. A prominent News section features releases, and Follow Us points to the official Twitter feed. There aren’t any code examples or many specific details of what Mesos architecture looks like on the homepage.

Getting Started has specific steps, but mostly for download and install; that is, actual examples of use are pointed to elsewhere on subpages. Documentation provides a laundry list of links to procedures, but little overview material. While the information is clear, it often assumes a high degree of technical expertise from users. Once someone reads through the docs it’s clear what Mesos can do, but users not experienced with cluster management or scheduler software will have a hard time seeing just what it is.

Community pages and the how-to contribute guides are straightforward, and include nicely detailed steps for submitting patches or finding mailing lists.

UI Design is simple but integrates well with the Mesos logo. UI design is consistent across all major subpages, with simple but useful context navigation sidebars.

Apache Branding Requirements

Apache projects are expected to manage their own affairs, including making all technical and content decisions for their code and websites. However to ensure a small modicum of consistency – and to ensure users know that an Apache project is hosted at the ASF – there are a few requirements all Apache projects must include in their projectname.apache.org websites (or wikis, etc.)

  • Apache Mesos is used in the header and a few places on the homepage, but is not consistently used on other pages in the website.
  • Website navigation links to ASF pages included in sitewide header navigation.
  • Trademark attributions and link included in footers; logo includes TM.
  • DOAP file exists.
  • Powered By Mesos page(s) include simple lists of major users and products using/integrating with Mesos.

SEO / Search Hits / Related Sites

Well, SEO is far outside of our scope (and debatable in usefulness anyway), but it’s interesting to see: how does a new user find the Apache Mesos homepage when they were searching?

Searching for “mesos”:

Top hit: homepage
Second hit: wikipedia
Other hits: variety of Mesos related sites, information

Searching for “mesos software”:

A wide variety of how to, what it is, and technical pages about Mesos.

Other major uses of our Mesos brand in domain names:

Mesosphere: a commercial company that uses Apache Mesos
MiniMesos.org: Testing infrastructure for Mesos deployments
MesosCon: annual conference about the project (also has @mesoscon)

There is a “Mesosphere DCOS” datacenter operating system software product, which is built on top of Apache Mesos software. Please note that this is an unusual case, and should not be used as an example for any other companies or software products.

Social Media Presence

Many open source projects have a social media presence – although often not as polished or consistent a presence as a consumer or commercial brand presence would have.

  • https://twitter.com/ApacheMesos official, listed on homepage.
  • https://twitter.com/PlanetMesos official, auto-tweeting from Planet Apache.
  • https://www.linkedin.com/groups/5185779/profile “Apache Mesos Users”, 500+ members.
  • https://plus.google.com/communities/115095450090573577585fac has some traffic.
  • http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/mesos is active.

What Do You Think Apache Mesos Is?

So, what do you think? Is Mesos going to be the next big thing that should manage all your Dockers, Hadoops, and S3 buckets? Or are you focusing on Kubernetes, OpenStack/CloudStack, or some specific vendor’s magic offering?

Note: I’m writing here as an individual, not wearing any Apache hat. I hope this is useful both to new users and to the Apache Mesos community, not necessarily a call to change anything. I haven’t used Mesos for any real deployments myself, so please do comment with corrections to anything I’ve messed up above!

What do you think?