OpenStack Is Open for Business

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.

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.

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