Over the last few months, a number of companies have released OpenStack "distributions" or “editions.” In other words, they have made sure OpenStack runs on their infrastructure, or a particular version of Linux. They may also include additional software components outside the OpenStack code base proper (as appropriate). It demonstrates OpenStack is gaining traction in the marketplace and is supported by most of the IT industry today. Actually several HP customers are very successfully using OpenStack on our infrastructure already.
OpenStack is a great starting point for delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), but as an emerging technology OpenStack requires the integration of other tools to deliver the functionality needed to operate a private or public cloud—and that work is left to the implementer.
HP Converged Cloud Vision
What HP is aiming at with Converged Cloud is very different. It begins with the viewpoint that many enterprises are looking for a set of functionality that allows them to quickly start-up an operational cloud. This operational cloud contains all the required functionality to run a production environment within the frame of a private or public cloud. They want to have an operational cloud without having to do a lot of integration work themselves. HP also believes that “one size does not fit all.”
In other words, enterprises will be looking at combining their traditional environment with private, managed and public cloud services to address the needs of their users. On the Cloud Source blog, I have discussed this point several times already. Services should be provisioned and used in a simple and intuitive way by the end-users, regardless where they are sourced from. To do that, we agreed on three key design criteria:
- Choice—The IT department needs to have the choice to source services from any location. This requires an open environment capable of integrating with other clouds. It needs to support heterogeneity from an operating system and hypervisor point of view, capable of provisioning resources from other clouds that may be based on other technologies and support multiple vendor hardware.
- Confidence—before setting up their critical systems on any cloud configuration, enterprises need to gain trust and confidence that this environment is safe and capable of addressing their needs regardless of how fast they change. End-to-end security, management and automation are key components to address this and should be included in the vision. Of course the integrated environment should be capable of providing pre-defined service level agreements.
- Consistency—addressing the two points discussed above requires a consistent architecture, whether it is for the private, the managed or the public cloud. With this in mind, we developed just such architecture and are currently in the middle of implementing it. Then we added two additional elements. First, the need to be able to port a workload from one delivery model to another. For example, from private to managed cloud. Second, we want the end-user to have a unique user experience across all delivery models. We do not want the end-user to have to look out from where a particular service is sourced.
Last April, we announced Converged Cloud and clearly pointed out that we would use OpenStack as the foundation of our Converged Cloud vision. We built additional functionality on top of OpenStack to deliver the easy to implement cloud environment most of our customers are looking for. Today our public cloud offering, based on OpenStack, is one of the largest OpenStack installations in production. In doing this we gained a number of unique insights on what it takes to run an OpenStack-based cloud and we are using that experience in building the other components required.
Because our existing customers are extremely important to us, we maintain compatibility with our current offerings so they can seamlessly integrate them into our vision.
Delivering an OpenStack distribution is one thing; building an enterprise-grade cloud environment that addresses the needs of our existing and future customers is something else. We believe the future lies with hybrid delivery. IT departments are migrating from an infrastructure to a services focus and want to make sure we deliver such environment, giving our customers choice, confidence and consistency.
OpenStack lies at the center of that vision, and it means customers can deploy a standard version of Openstack today on HP Infrastructure. Customers will need to do some of the implementation work, or they can deploy the capability for a full hybrid cloud, knowing the Openstack integration and many other critical elements have already been addressed. The choice is yours!