In July of this year I posted a short blog outlining the progress OpenStack was making in developing a comprehensive open source platform for deploying cloud environments. I believe OpenStack represents the industry’s best hope for realizing a compelling open alternative to the proprietary cloud platforms that have emerged over the past couple of years.
Since July, the OpenStack Foundation has been launched; the organization has released Folsom, the latest version of the OpenStack open source software; and this week sees what promises to be the biggest OpenStack Summit to date, being held in San Diego from October 15 to 18.
The OpenStack Foundation was inaugurated in September. Previously, the project was hosted, funded and driven by RackSpace in conjunction with NASA – who did an awesome job of building a vibrant open source community that reliably delivered software updates on a 6-month release cadence (something that many software vendors would love to be able to achieve).
However, two barriers to broad adoption of the software became evident: funding and multi-vendor commitment. It seemed clear to a number of observers (including this one) that increased funding would be required to deliver the complete feature set and ensure the enterprise hardening required for production deployment. It was also evident that a number of large vendors and service providers would not commit to the platform while it was largely driven by a single company.
The OpenStack Foundation solved both of those problems. The new governing board (with representatives from 16 major vendors, as well as community representatives) is now in place and driving the direction of the organization. The vendor membership fee schedule was set to fund the organization for expansion and success, and the Foundation attracted more than the target number of vendors, with multi-year commitments from the Platinum vendor category.
OpenStack Folsom release
OpenStack Folsom, released in September 2012, is the sixth and latest coalesced version of the software. Folsom automates pools of compute, storage and networking resources, to build private and public cloud infrastructures without vendor lock-in. The most visible additions come in the form of the OpenStack Network (code-named Quantum) and OpenStack Block Storage (code-named Cinder).
OpenStack Network provides emerging Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities. Its extensible architecture includes plug-in support for open source as well as commercial solutions.
OpenStack Block Storage had previously existed as a sub-component of OpenStack Compute (code-named Nova). Having been broken out into an independent service there exists a significant opportunity to expand upon its capabilities and utility to the operator community.
Written by more than 330 contributors, the Folsom release features a continued focus on stability and extensibility, while adding considerable new features. The community also made significant progress in supporting the global interest in the project through enhanced localization efforts.
NetApp and OpenStack
NetApp has been a contributing member of the OpenStack community since early 2011 and we have been a sponsor at the last four OpenStack Summits. To demonstrate our commitment to OpenStack solutions in our business, we felt that it was important to participate in the planning meetings for the creation for the OpenStack Foundation, and to sign up as a Gold-level founder member of the new organization.
In the OpenStack Essex release (April 2012), NetApp’s contributed a volume driver for OpenStack Compute, which enables automated storage provisioning with multiple classes of services from a catalog of definable options. The NetApp driver also introduced efficient, native snapshot and cloning capabilities to those using NetApp storage with OpenStack.
In the Folsom release our contribution ensured that NetApp’s Data ONTAP 8 Cluster-Mode operating system is now available to backend OpenStack Block Storage and OpenStack Compute. Building on NetApp’s initial volume driver, this contribution adds improved scalability and non-disruptive operations, which are key requirements for the cloud.
Additionally, NetApp has contributed drivers that allow the use of NFS as a means of achieving vast scale. These drivers provide NFS to individual hypervisors. Files are in turn provided as virtual block devices to the hypervisor. Both a reference driver and a NetApp enhanced driver to support automated provisioning are part of Folsom.
If you happen to be at the OpenStack Summit this week, come by our booth (E6) and find out more about our activities in the OpenStack community.