Is OpenStack Grizzly Ready for Deployment?

By David Dale, NetApp

The recent OpenStack Summit illustrated just how far the OpenStack platform has come over the last six months. Certainly, the hype hasn’t abated: Almost all of my customer conversations about internal cloud infrastructure now include OpenStack, and nearly every day I hear of another production deployment. What has changed, however, is a greater sense of the commitment that OpenStack Foundation member companies are making to the technology.

Much of the focus of the previous summit was on the development community. At that time, the OpenStack Foundation had just launched, and apart from the fact that some members had shown a financial commitment to the organization by paying hefty dues, it was tough to figure out what their adoption plans were.

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The latest event was quite different: Platinum- and Gold-level member companies made extensive presentations highlighting not only their OpenStack commitment, but their product and deployment plans as well. During the panel sessions, a wide range of member companies also shared their plans for contributing to the code base.

With almost 3,000 people in attendance—most of them developers—this commitment also made the event the biggest OpenStack Summit yet. There’s no question in my mind that a broad range of companies intend to make OpenStack the most ubiquitous cloud computing platform in the industry—something that was not entirely clear prior to the event.

The 2013 summit also provided greater insight into a number of other areas, including the state and quality of the latest code release, named Grizzly; customer engagement and the velocity of new deployments; and NetApp’s participation in the initiative.

The Grizzly Release
The latest version of the OpenStack software for building public, private and hybrid clouds offers interesting new functionality, and as SearchCloudComputing.com’s Beth Pariseau noted in an article on the Grizzly release, it offers “better scalability and high availability.” It includes changes that broaden the range of OpenStack-enabled products, which will help expedite production deployment.

There was also a significant amount of buzz around the code quality and resiliency of Grizzly. The OpenStack Foundation has dramatically increased the focus on quality assurance in the development process, with advances such as a 600% increase in code test coverage being mentioned. It’s obvious that the community is getting serious about releasing production deployment–quality code.

OpenStack Deployments
In October of last year, the big question at an analyst panel at the OpenStack Summit was, “Where are the deployments?” In a sign of how swiftly the cloud adoption story is changing, the same panel this year asked, “We see the deployments. Now which workloads are missing?”

According to the conference overview, there are now over 100 production deployments of OpenStack around the world. The conference agenda featured OpenStack case studies from Best Buy, Bloomberg, CERN, Comcast, EIG, Enter.it, HubSpot, IBS DataFort, KIO Networks, MercadoLibre, NSA, NTT, PayPal, Rackspace and Samsung. Many of the case studies featured production deployments, with others on the cusp between pilot and production. I believe this represents a critical mass that will accelerate customer interest in OpenStack.

Deployment isn’t for the faint of heart, however. It is still a bit complicated. You’d be advised to have an excellent team that is well versed in open source, along with good partners and a limited deployment strategy. But I expect to see a dramatic increase in OpenStack deployments in the next 12 months.

NetApp Participation in OpenStack

OpenStack Summit 2013 Interview Video
NetApp File Share Services Proposal Press release
Data ONTAP Clustering and OpenStack Press release

This was NetApp’s fifth OpenStack Summit, and we are starting to be broadly recognized for our participation. NetApp is an OpenStack Foundation Gold Member, with a strong commitment to open source and cloud standards. For more information, visit the NetApp community for OpenStack to engage with cloud experts and research best-practice recommendations for OpenStack deployments using NetApp® storage.

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David Dale, director of industry standards at NetApp

David Dale is a technology spokesman and drives NetApp’s involvement in industry standards associations. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Storage Networking Industry Association and the Distributed Management Task Force.

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