OpenStack Is Open for Business

by Philip Trautman, NetApp

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Cloud Management In A Hybrid Cloud World

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OpenStack has emerged as the leading open Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform for private and public clouds. With an OpenStack platform, developers can provision cloud environments on demand, without assistance from IT, thus removing any infrastructure barriers to innovation. Early adopters such as, the largest online travel firm in Latin America, have already deployed OpenStack to speed time to market for new features and services.

As NetApp CTO Jay Kidd predicted in his list of top storage trends for 2014, this is the year that “OpenStack distributions become more product than project.” So, if you’re planning for a private cloud and you haven’t looked at OpenStack yet, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how it might fit within your own organization.

Open and Extensible Cloud Infrastructure
One of the best ways to understand OpenStack is through a comparison to Linux®. It’s often said that OpenStack is to the cloud what Linux is to servers. Where Linux provides an open—and extensible—operating environment for individual servers, OpenStack provides an open and extensible operating environment for cloud infrastructure that offers:

  • Modular design
  • Public roadmap
  • Packaged distributions
  • Compatibility with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Modular design: OpenStack is a collection of separate modules or services all under the same umbrella. These services can be used to create pools of processing, storage, and networking resources, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering users to provision resources through a Web interface. Although the component modules are designed to work together, you are free to choose only the components you need.

OpenStack components

DCIG 2013 Private Cloud Storage Array Buyer's Guide

Public roadmap: OpenStack software releases are named alphabetically: Austin was first, followed by Bexar, Cactus and so on, with the Juno release planned for October 2014. The roadmap is aggressive, with a new release every six months. Each release typically includes new features and new modules, and may include projects in “incubation” for future releases.

Packaged distributions: The analogy between OpenStack and Linux extends to include a very similar distribution model. Just as companies such as Red Hat and SUSE created packaged Linux distributions, a dozen or more OpenStack providers, including Red Hat, SUSE, Mirantis, Rackspace, and Metacloud, are creating packaged versions of OpenStack. 

AWS compatibility: Many of the various services that OpenStack provides—compute, storage, networking, and so on—are API-compatible with their equivalent AWS capabilities. If you have an application that runs on AWS, you can run the application in any OpenStack environment, including your on-premises data center.

NetApp and OpenStack
NetApp is a charter member of the OpenStack Foundation and an active contributor to the OpenStack code base. Our goal is to help OpenStack deliver the storage capabilities that enterprises have come to expect in terms of storage efficiency, data protection, availability, quality of service, and scalability—such as those provided by NetApp FAS and E-Series storage. Check out this video presentation from the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta to learn more about the enterprise-class features available from our OpenStack integrations, including:

  • Drivers for NetApp® FAS, E-Series and EF-Series systems
  • Storage Service Catalog capabilities
  • Enhanced and persistent instance creation with copy offload
  • pNFS support
  • Optimized deployment of OpenStack Object Storage (Swift)

In addition, NetApp has been actively engaged in creating a shared file system service as part of Manila, an OpenStack development project. Although much of the storage shipped worldwide underpins shared file systems, OpenStack does not yet include a shared file system.

Like Cinder—the OpenStack block storage service—Manila is a control plane for orchestrating, provisioning, and managing other file system functions, not the actual file system. Judging from the fact that the Manila session at the recent OpenStack Summit was standing-room only, it’s clear that Manila has the momentum to move forward.

Additional Resources
You can monitor what’s happening and track the new developments with each release at For more information about NetApp integrations and best practices, visit our OpenStack community.

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