Cloud Source Blog
In This HP Cloud Source Blog, HP Expert, Christian Verstraete will examine cloud computing challenges, discuss practical approaches to cloud computing and suggest realistic solutions.

HPCloud, OpenStack™ in action

Openstack.jpgNearly 1 year after HP announced the support of OpenStack and 1 day prior to OpenStack’s 2nd anniversary, HP announced the general availability of its Object Store and CDN for August 1st. In doing so, we become 1 of the first companies running operational OpenStack environments with service level agreements. That’s an important step not only for us but for the OpenStack community as a whole.


HP has committed that both HP Cloud Object Storage and HP CDN will be available 99.95 percent or more of the time on a monthly basis. The details of this service level agreement can be found on the website. We’re very excited because this is the result of over 1 year of hard work. But the effort doesn’t end there, there is a lot more to come, so stay tuned.


New offerings, new opportunities

HP BookPrep, a service that allows you to find and read rare, out-of-print and hard to find books online, or order a reprint, already uses hundreds of TBs of object storage to date. HPLife, HP's Entrepreneur e-learning environment, uses object storage as repository for its online learning content, including video and audio sections.


But good news never comes alone., the OpenStack Sandbox, has been equipped with HP Redstone ARM based servers to provide a new test zone. This work, jointly performed with Calxeda and Cannonical, is yet another activity of HP’s MoonShot project. The goal of project Moonshot is to provide next generation servers based on low energy chips. The results are impressive: 89 percent less energy, 94 percent less space, 63 percent less cost, 97 percent less complexity.


OpenStack has come a long way in those 2 years as The Register highlights in an article titled “OpenStack cloud fluffer growing faster than Linux”. GigaOm points to the terrible twos, and highlights some of the challenges OpenStack has to face, particularly as it transitions its governance model. But all feel the future is bright.

Now, what does all of this mean to you?


Try OpenStack out

If you are a developer, you now have an environment in which you can develop OpenStack compatible applications and test them out. Through partnership with many PaaS and development/testing partners, we provide an exhaustive list of environments to develop cloud and web based applications. Make your choice and test them out. Remember that, while still in public beta, you have 50 percent discount on the cost of Compute and till the end of this July, of ObjectStore and CDN. With incentives like this, take your opportunity.


If you are a user that combines the functionality of HPCloud and some of its partners; you can address many of the requirements that encourage end-users to go to Shadow-IT. For example, there is a whole list of partners in the area of storage. These partners allow you to implement FTP, file exchange and back-up for example. Again, try those out and see if they are an alternative to shadow-IT.


No lock-in

OpenStack is currently backed up by around 180 companies, many of them contributing to the project. And before you ask, HP is a large contributor to several of the OpenStack projects. What does this contribution give you? It provides you with an environment supporting multiple hypervisors, as of the next release, multiple operating systems, and running on multiple hardware environments. It allows you to avoid vendor lock-in. And many of our customers tell us that this is very important to them.



Central to OpenStack are its ReST APIs. REST stands for Representational State Transfer. (It is sometimes spelled "ReST".) It relies on a stateless, client-server, cacheable communications protocol -- and in virtually all cases, the HTTP protocol is used. REST is a lightweight alternative to Web Services and RPC.


Using the ReST concepts, OpenStack has developed a series of APIs allowing not only the individual OpenStack projects to work together, but also the application developer to call upon the OpenStack services and functionality through APIs. All APIs are thoroughly documented  and a complete list can be found here.


In practice, this means that, when you write an application for one OpenStack based environment using the APIs, you can run this application on any other OpenStack environment supporting the APIs. This gives you portability.

Today, only 3 companies (Rackspace, InterNap and HP) support APIs, but more are coming. If your cloud provider does not give you a satisfactory service level, it makes it easier for you to migrate. Or alternatively, it allows you to rely on multiple public cloud environments without having to rewrite your applications. This gives you the opportunity to hedge your bets and manage risk.



Yes, OpenStack is still in its early days, but development is progressing quickly. According to Brian Akers, HP Cloud Services Fellow, the next release of the OpenStack platform, code name “ Folsom”  is a serious platform and comes alo.... Having companies such as HP backing up OpenStack while working on its Converged Cloud vision, creates opportunities for you. You can integrate your traditional environment with private, managed and public cloud. Now you can locate the right functionality in the right place taking into account compliance, financial considerations and risk management. It’s definitely worth taking the time to understand what the OpenStack ecosystem provides you and how it could become a central part of your cloud strategy.

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About the Author
Christian is responsible for building services focused on advising clients in their move to cloud, particularly from a business process and ...

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