Navigating Your OpenStack Roadmap: Why You Should Run a “Pilot”
The road in my picture below – the A82 that winds through Glencoe in Scotland – was used in the James Bond “Skyfall” movie in one of the amazing car chase scenes. This road winds through sparsely inhabited territory, has lots of ups, downs, bumps and turns and if you’re not careful it can be a dangerous road. I’ll draw the analogy here with the challenges of introducing new technologies: there can be ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown, if you are not careful. And in my case here, I’ll use this analogy to illustrate the challenges of adopting OpenStack: without the right kind of approach, without a carefully managed exploratory “pilot” investigation and subsequent roadmap planning, you may find that adopting OpenStack – or any other open source software solution, for that matter – has its share of challenges, ups, downs, bumps and turns into the unknown.
OpenStack controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a data center, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering users to provision resources through a web interface. As an OpenStack Foundation Gold Member, Cisco has been actively driving this effort as a component of our strategy to create open, programmable networks. My Cisco colleagues Lew Tucker, Rohit Agarwalla and Ashok Rajagopalan over the past few days have discussed OpenStack at Cisco in detail, including our relationships with major OpenStack distribution vendors. Let me first give you an overview of where Cisco Services have been engaged in OpenStack.
Cisco and OpenStack
Cisco’s role in OpenStack includes being the major contributor to development of the “Neutron” networking component, and through the tight collaboration between Cisco R&D and Cisco Services, our Services consultants have gained unique access to this intellectual property. This will enable Cisco Services to deliver unique insights when helping customers achieve seamless integration with their network devices.
Cisco Data Center Services for OpenStack
With this expertise in mind, coupled with our #1 rating from IDC in their Cloud Computing Professional Services survey earlier this year, Cisco Services are now well placed to help you exploit OpenStack and ensure your network devices are fully integrated into your cloud computing operating system. We’ll help you achieve this via new services being announced this week, a portfolio of Cisco Data Center Services for OpenStack. With these services, we are creating a networking and security value proposition based upon our experience building Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) clouds for the last five years.
One of these services is what we call the “Validation” service – a service that helps you “experiment with ” and validate that OpenStack is indeed right for you. With the Cisco Data Center Assessment and Validation Service for OpenStack, Cisco experts guide your team in deploying a full OpenStack distribution on a Cisco UCS-based cloud architecture. They lead your team through a set of tests, enabling you to validate the OpenStack distribution in your data center environment. This enables your team to experiment with a basic OpenStack-based cloud operating system, in the relative familiarity of your data center environment, and to learn more about the production requirements and implications of this technology. As a “pre-production” test, this pilot will help you understand the capabilities of OpenStack, and – bearing in mind that OpenStack is an evolving open source project – gain insights into any gaps that you need to develop custom software to address. Finally, via our Assessment phase of this service, we’ll help you consider your future OpenStack plans, and provide guidance on your OpenStack roadmap in alignment with your business goals. We can, for example, advise you on which of your existing cloud management tools can and should be candidates for integration with your OpenStack solution.
Returning to my James Bond car chase analogy above, I would counsel that one of the important first steps in deciding your OpenStack adoption roadmap should be to run a hands-on “pilot” or validation exercise, with assistance from our OpenStack experts. This will help ensure you avoid those bumps and unexpected turns in your OpenStack journey and set up your cloud operating system project for success.