Cisco highlighted its support for OpenStack at the recent OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, which hosted 4500+ attendees and included many more users, in addition to the developers and operators that have dominated past conferences. A common theme among keynote presentations was the speed and flexibility of IT required to support the clouds that will soon dominate commerce and communication worldwide. The effort underway to improve stability was also a recurring discussion topic.
From its beginning as an open source project at NASA, the OpenStack movement has grown as an open alternative to propriety cloud services and applications. The Summit serves as a forum for those interested in hashing out the direction and adoption of the model and standards, as well as a learning opportunity for those ready to build and deploy on them.
Keynote speakers from Wells Fargo and Disney helped transition the Summit from an academic exercise to a forum for learning how innovative companies are taking control of their cloud environments.
Glenn Ferguson, Head of Private Cloud Enablement for Wells Fargo, described the compliance, auditing and governance Wells requires in its private cloud, that aren’t available in public cloud offerings. Wells has designated OpenStack their “cloud infrastructure model” to facilitate rapid deployment of infrastructure to meet application developers’ needs and requires all IT vendors to work within the OpenStack specifications. “This is something we have to do to remain agile and competitive in this environment,” Ferguson said. “Our infrastructure needs to keep pace with the software.”
Chris Launey, Disney’s Director of Cloud Architectures and Services, was blunt in how he described the value of speed. “If you’re a business that deals in any kind of information, you need speed (to thrive.) “If you give (developers) their own ‘fast’, they’ll make their own ‘cheap’ by getting their product to market quickly and responding to customer demands. And (they’ll) make their own ‘good’ by shrinking development cycles and introducing improvements more often, until they reach a virtual continuous cycle of improvements.”
The OpenStack Foundation divides the work into individual projects focused on the various cloud components: servers, object-based storage, networking infrastructure, security, etc. Proponents are excited about the innovation that can be unleashed when developers are freed from having to worry about the complexities associated with underlying infrastructure and can focus on the innovation of cloud services and applications.
Cisco was highly visible at the Summit, drawing standing-room-only crowds to sessions in the Networking Track, as network stability and scalability are top-of-mind for users deploying critical applications and services to an open source cloud.
Lew Tucker, Cisco Vice President and CTO for Cloud Computing and Vice-Chair of the OpenStack Foundation, painted a picture of what is possible in his presentation “Open Stack and the Transformation of the Data Center.” He described how the data center is becoming a large, highly automated “fabric” consisting of interconnected physical systems and virtualized services. In this environment, OpenStack acts as a platform for building a highly efficient cloud, providing management of diverse infrastructure “below” and orchestration of a vast set of application services “above”.
Cisco’s key contribution to OpenStack has been participation in the development of Neutron, the OpenStack Networking Service. There is clearly a need to have the same level of visibility and management flexibility that Cisco has been offering its customers in an open source cloud model. In addition to driving connectivity generally, Cisco has received approval on blueprints for plugins to integrate VPN- and Firewall-as-a-Service as part of OpenStack networking. (Referred to as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) plugins.) Cisco is also working on the integration of OpenStack Neutron with OpenDaylight, a separate project started to focus specifically on network programmability. Cisco’s extensive work in the open source community will bring even greater value to its existing customers by extending the ecosystem of solutions integrated with Cisco products.
In the Expo Hall, Cisco highlighted the integration of its networking, compute and management products with OpenStack APIs, demonstrating:
- Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) running with OpenStack
- Deploy an OpenStack cloud on Cisco UCS servers
- Cisco’s Dynamic Fabric Automation with OpenStack
If you missed the Summit, check out the Session Videos and Slides to deep-dive presentations by Cisco contributors, presented at the Atlanta Summit 2014:
- Overview of Open Source Backends for Neutron
- Network Visibility for Efficient OpenStack Operations
- Using OpenDaylight Within an OpenStack Environment
- Increasing Efficiency via NFVs in OpenStack Clouds
- Storage Visibility and Optimization for OpenStack
- Deploying OpenStack with Cisco Networking, Compute and Storage
- Network Policy Abstractions in Neutron
- Panel: Future of OpenStack Networking
- Battle of the Distros: Which One is Better For My Cloud?