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Data Center and Cloud

On February 3rd of this year, Cisco announced its membership in, and commitment to, the OpenStack community. OpenStack is an open source cloud computing software project founded in the spring of 2010 by Rackspace and NASA, and which provides compute, storage and image management services for cloud computing environments.

In his announcement, Lew Tucker, VP and CTO of Cloud Computing at Cisco, stated:

Since joining Cisco several months ago, you may have heard me talk about the importance of architecture, APIs, and open source in Cloud Computing. So today, I’m particularly proud to announce that Cisco has joined the OpenStack community. The effort here is being led by the CTO organization but also draws on other engineers throughout Cisco’s product groups to help with the design, specification and development of this open source cloud stack. And yes, that does mean code.

Fast forward to September 23rd, 2011. On this date, Cisco, along with an extremely dedicated group of developers from several fellow members, including Nicira and Citrix, delivered the first fruits of that labor. The first experimental release of OpenStack’s cloud network service, Quantum, is now available for download.

Details of Quantum’s functionality and architecture can be found on the OpenStack Quantum wiki page. The source code for the service can be downloaded from OpenStack’s Launchpad repository.

Quantum is a first step in an ambitious vision for making the network a peer to compute and storage in infrastructure services. Focused initially on providing a simple layer 2 network abstraction, Quantum allows developers to use its APIs or OpenStack’s Dashboard project to create networks, and connect virtual machine instances to that network.

The Wiki page describes Quantum as fulfilling three key needs:

Cisco’s contributions to Quantum cover a variety of key requirements:

In addition, Cisco made important contributions to the way in which the Nova compute service integrates with, and takes advantage of, the Quantum service:

Tremendous effort went into these projects, and we want to congratulate the Cloud CTO engineering team for the work they completed on Quantum and the Cisco plug-in. Furthermore, work from our Systems Development Unit, Data Center Technology Group, and other engineering business units (including several Cisco sponsored college interns) has been invaluable, both to Cisco and the OpenStack community as a whole.

However, Cisco was but one cog in the OpenStack machine, and we were proud to work side-by-side with many other equally dedicated companies and individuals.

The latest release of the OpenStack core projects, Diablo, significantly advances both the capability and stability of this young project, and is available for download today. We encourage you to give it a try. Cisco engineers will be collaborating with other developers on the next generation of OpenStack services for the Essex release, to be delivered in the spring of 2012.

For another view of the importance of these contributions, please see Lew Tucker’s blog on the strategic importance of OpenStack.

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