Cloud Expo New York 2012 has come and gone. It was an interesting show. There are so many new vendors with new solutions, and each vendor takes aim at a perceived obstacle to the cloud. Three themes stood out. First, enterprises are building private clouds (or at least they want to!). Second, hybrid cloud management is the future. Third, most enterprises will have a mix of public and private cloud services.
These three items all come together in the third major theme: OpenStack, which just might be the future of enterprise cloud management and deployment. Much the way Linux, Apache, MySQL and other open source applications created innovation in the Web, OpenStack is poised to drive innovation and adoption of cloud computing.
OpenStack is a way to turn enterprise data centers into true clouds. It’s also a way for a cloud provider to offer standard (read portable) services. OpenStack aims at preventing lock-in to a single cloud provider or technology. Sponsors of OpenStack include NASA (with implicit backing of NIST – US National Institute of Standards and Technology), Rackspace Hosting, Citrix, Dell, Intel, Cisco, Juniper, Redhat, SUSE, HP, NEX, AT&T and a host of other players large and small (most large proprietary cloud providers are not onboard with OpenStack yet, for obvious reasons).
According to OpenStack.org, “OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.”
OpenStack works in private datacenters as well as across clouds. Its core components include compute, storage, networking, and dashboard. OpenStack and its core components are all open source:
- OpenStack Compute is an application for provisioning and managing networks of virtual machines.
- OpenStack Storage is an application for object and block storage for use with servers and applications.
- OpenStack Networking is an application for creating and managing API-driven network and IP (internet protocol) addresses, routing configurations, and security rules.
- OpenStack Dashboard is the user interface application. Through Dashboard, users can access, provision, and automate cloud resources. It interfaces with billing and enterprise management systems.
Other OpenStack components include:
- Identity services (it integrates with LDAP too)
- Image services: discovery, registration, and delivery services for disk and server images, including snapshots, archiving, and retrieval.
Taken altogether, OpenStack is a pretty complete solution to create, deploy, and manage clouds. If you’re an enterprise with a data center (or two or three) striving to get to private cloud, then OpenStack is a cost effective solution. Cloud providers are moving to OpenStack because it enhances portability and runs on standard platforms. OpenStack just released its fifth version. OpenStack doesn’t use numbers like v1, v2 etc. Essex is the name of the current (5th) version. Within Essex there are Nova (compute), Glance (image services), Keystone (identity management), Swift (storage) and Horizon (dashboard/UI.)
Enterprises have many options for building private clouds and managing public, private, or hybrid. OpenStack addresses many concerns as it lowers the barrier to entry and raises expectations.
OpenStack isn’t a publicized objective of Cloud Expo. Nevertheless, it just may be the thing that really ignites enterprise cloud adoption.
Cloud Expo New York 2012