Dell has been a part of the OpenStack community since day one a little over a year ago and today’s news represents the first available cloud solution based on the OpenStack platform. This Infrastructure-as-a-service solution includes a reference architecture based on Dell PowerEdge C servers, OpenStack open source software, the Dell-developed Crowbar software and services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.
Crowbar, keeping things short and sweet
Bringing up a cloud can be no mean feat, as a result a couple of our guys began working on a software framework that could be used to quickly (typically before coffee break!) bring up a multi-node OpenStack cloud on bare metal. That framework became Crowbar. What Crowbar does is manage the OpenStack deployment from the initial server boot to the configuration of the primary OpenStack components, allowing users to complete bare metal deployment of multi-node OpenStack clouds in a matter of hours (or even minutes) instead of days.
Once the initial deployment is complete, Crowbar can be used to maintain, expand, and architect the complete solution, including BIOS configuration, network discovery, status monitoring, performance data gathering, and alerting.
Code to the Community
As mentioned above, today Dell has released Crowbar to the community as open source code (you can get access to it the project’s GitHub site). The idea is allow users to build functionality to address their specific system needs. Additionally we are working with the community to submit Crowbar as a core project in the OpenStack initiative.
Included in the Crowbar code contribution is the barclamp list, UI and remote API’s, automated testing scripts, build scripts, switch discovery, open source Chef server. We are currently working with our legal team to determine how to release the BIOS and RAID which leverage third party components. In the meantime since it is free (as in beer) software, although Dell cannot distribute it, users can directly go the vendors and download the components for free to get that functionality.
More Crowbar detail
For those who want some more detail, here are some bullets I’ve grabbed from Rob “Mr. Crowbar” Hirschfeld’s blog:
Crowbar uses Chef as it’s database and relies on cookbooks for node deployments
Crowbar has a modular architecture so individual components can be removed, extended, and added. These components are known individually as “barclamps.”
Each barclamp has it’s own Chef configuration, UI subcomponent, deployment configuration, and documentation.
On the roadmap:
Additional operating system support
Barclamp version repository
We’d like suggestions! Please comment on Rob’s blog!
OpenStack, the open source cloud platform based on code donated by NASA and Rackspace, has gained considerable traction since it was launched eight months ago. The community has rapidly grown and there have been several releases. Now its time to get potential customers trying it out and kicking the tires.
With the idea of removing friction to adoption and make the testing out of the platform as easy as possible, Dell, Equinix and Rackspace are announcing today the availability of a free OpenStack cloud demonstration and test environment.
The idea of the demo environment is to allow organizations to easily evaluate OpenStack and assess application performance on the platform in a low risk environment for free. The next step after a successful demo would be a proof of concept.
Movin workloads around the country
This demo environment is initially available in three U.S. data centers and in Q2 of this year this offering will also be available in Equinix data centers in Europe and Asia. The initial data centers are:
Equinix Silicon Valley
Equinix Asburn, VA
By having geographically dispersed facilities customers are able to test out the moving of applications and workloads between them.
The various parts
The OpenStack demo environment is made up of the following components
Platform Equinix, a global delivery platform of 92 network neutral data centers in 35 metro markets
Widening the circle
The name of the game here is making the trying out of OpenStack as easy as possible. There are a lot of community members and open source aficionados who are already testing out OpenStack. The idea with OpenStack cloud demonstration environment is to provide a set up where a greater number of organizations feel comfortable evaluating the platform for themselves.
One small step for OpenStack, one giant step for mankind! Ok, that may be taking it a bit far but today there is some exciting news that Dell and Rackspace have announced.
If OpenStack is new to you it’s the open source cloud platform based off of the Nebula cloud code base donated by NASA (hence all the rocket allusions) and the storage code base from Rackspace. The project is now about eight months old and its community is over 50 organizations strong including NASA, Citrix, AMD, Intel, NTT, cloud.com, RightScale, Dell, Opscode and Puppet labs.
To help the community and organizations get up and going building out their own OpenStack based clouds we are announcing the following:
Proof of Concepts: Rackspace and Dell are working together to deliver an OpenStack solution to market later this year. As the first step along the way we are currently seeking customers for OpenStack proofs of concept (POC). If you are interested in learning more about the POCs and possibly participating or getting engaged, email: OpenStack@Dell.com.
Code: Dell has developed an OpenStack installer that can be used to quickly install OpenStack on bare metal Dell PowerEdge C servers. This tool is being field tested, and Dell will contribute the code to the OpenStack community once testing is complete. To help users out further, once the OS is installed, the servers can be updated with all the latest packages and be automatically configured by Opscode’s Chef to provide their services in the OpenStack infrastructure.
Technical whitepaper: A technical whitepaper, “Bootstrapping OpenSource Clouds” which lays out the design of a hyperscale OpenStack cloud on Dell PowerEdge C servers.
But wait, there’s more, “Cloud Builders”…
To help support OpenStack deployments, Rackspace announced today that its launching a new division, “Cloud Builders.” Cloud Builders “will provide training, certification, deployment services and ongoing support and management to enterprises and service providers via the team of OpenStack experts and its partner network.”
Specifically the offerings will include (taken from the Rackspace blog):
Training & Certification – Rackspace Cloud Builders will provide training classes and certification testing for designing, developing and administering OpenStack Clouds. Rackspace also plans to empower a network of training and certification experts.
Deployment Services – Rackspace Cloud Builders, in conjunction with other experts from the OpenStack community, will help customers design and deploy OpenStack Clouds.
Support & Management – Customers will have ongoing access to remote support and escalation assistance from the OpenStack specialists, including proactive monitoring and fixes.
OpenStack is picking up momentum, stay tuned for more and in the meantime, set the controls for the heart of the sun! 🙂