Stacks On! OpenStack and the Cloud!
If you’ve been working/following/doing stuff in the cloud for the past few years, you’ll know how complicated it is to get an end to end service experience going. It’s not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the cloud, it’s just that it’s an emerging technology and business discipline, and as such, has many incarnations and approaches.
This morning I had the chance to chat with Jim Curry and Jonathan Bryce about OpenStack and what it means for cloud computing. For those that aren’t familiar with OpenStack, it’s a set of open source software projects that provide compute and storage services for users to construct a cloud platform.
What’s fantastic about OpenStack is it focuses on the toughest part of cloud computing from a platform perspective, and uses the force of the community to solve that problem. When you look at a cloud platform, you have some basic parts:
You have hardware, because you need some metal to run stuff on, some network gear to plumb it out to the Interworld, and some other stuff for power, cooling, whatever.
You have a hypervisor, because without one, you can’t virtualize the metal, and that’s kind of like sewing your shoes to your pants, and that’s not good, unless you live in <insert backward town of your choice here>.
And then finally, you have virtual machines/containers/guest OS, whatever, that run the actual compute workload.
But… and it’s a very big but (yes, yes, ha ha), you need something that manages all of this. I mean, you don’t want Larry having to push a button and deploy a new machine/container manually, or monitor all the tenants manually, so you need something more, think of it as the ghost in the machine. Well, this part is really hard to build, and test, and deploy. This is what I love about the OpenStack model, their OpenStack Compute project is all about taking care of this part. And, it already supports KVM, Xen, and VirtualBox!
The other part of your platform is your storage stuff. Again, not easy to build, especially when you’re trying to distribute failure points across the cluster in a way that is fault tolerant and performant. OpenStack has a project for that too, OpenStack Object Storage.
And, it’s all open source. It is! Go check out the code for yourself!
Very exciting stuff when you think about taking advantage of a cloud based environment for dynamic workload management and managed recovery.