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.
OpenStack Summit, May 12-15 in Atlanta
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”.
Lew Tucker, Cisco VP and CTO of Cloud Computing
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:
This week has been the semi-annual OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, GA. In a rare occurrence I’ve been able to be here as an attendee, which has given me wide insight into a world of Open Source development I rarely get to see outside of some interpersonal conversations with DevOps people. (If you’re not sure what OpenStack is, or what the difference is between it and OpenFlow, OpenDaylight, etc., you may want to read an earlier blog I wrote that explains it in plain English).
On the first day of the conference there was an “Ask the Experts” session based upon storage. Since i’ve been trying to work my way into this world of Programmability via my experience with storage and storage networking, I figured it would be an excellent place to start. Also, it was the first session of the conference.
During the course of the Q&A, John Griffith, the Program Technical Lead (PTL) of the Cinder project (Cinder is the name of the core project within OpenStack that deals with block storage) happened to mention that he believed that Cinder represented software-defined storage as a practical application of the concept.
I’m afraid I have to respectfully disagree. At least, I would hesitate to give it that kind of association yet. Read More »
As I was flying to Atlanta for Openstack Summit, I was thinking about the difference in my expectations for this summit from the summit last year in Portland.
In Portland, Havana was just released and was starting to become interesting to service providers as the project was maturing and gaining interest with some enterprises. The Havana release was not ready for enterprises but Icehouse, the next release was bringing features that are of great interest. I was interested in getting involved in Icehouse so I attended with my R&D team and networked. There was not much excitement at the event and the attendance was not that great. Walking into the exhibit hall was depressing as there were only a small number of exhibits and mostly tables with brochures.
One year later, and the excitement around Openstack and Icehouse is high. Openstack has finally hit the feature capability and scale requirements needed to be accepted by the enterprise. Over the last year, numerous enterprises performed Proof of Concepts (PoCs) on Havana and 2014 is quickly becoming the year of Openstack coming out! The Icehouse features that are of greatest interest are:
Ceilometer support in Horizon for administrators to view daily usage reports per project across services.
Keystone assignment backed is completely separate from the identity backend. This allows much greater flexibility in which data comes from where. This allows an enterprise back your deployment’s identity data to LDAP, and your authorization data to RSA for instance.
Token KVS driver is now capable of writing to persistent Key-Value stores such as Redis, Cassandra, or MongoDB. In combination with above, this means we can use Redis or Cassandra for tokens and LDAP for user/pass/domain/etc.
Notifications are now emitted in response to create, update and delete events on roles, groups, and trusts.
LDAP driver for the assignment backend now supports group-based role assignment operations.
Ceilometer API now gives direct access to samples decoupled from a specific meter events API, in the style of StackTach
New Metric sources, including Neutron north-bound API on SDN controller, VMware vCenter Server API, SNMP daemons on bare metal hosts and OpenDaylight REST APIs [ Check also Mike Cohen’s blog Delivering Policy in the Age of OpenSource ]
This is an exciting time in the history of datacenter infrastructure. We are witnessing the collision of two major trends: the maturation of open source software and the redefinition of infrastructure policy.
The trend towards open source is self-evident. Platforms such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight are gaining huge developer mindshare as well as support and investment from major vendors. Even some newer technologies like Docker, which employs linux kernel containers, and Ceph, a software-based storage solution, offer promising paths in open source. Given the fundamental requirements of interoperability in architecturally diverse infrastructure environments, its no surprise that open source is gaining momentum.
The second trend around policy is a bit earlier in its evolution but equally disruptive. Today, there is a huge disconnect between how application developers think about their requirements and the languages and tools through which they are communicated to the infrastructure itself. For example, just to handle networking, a simple three tier app must be deconstructed into an array of VLANs, ACLs, and routes spread across a number of devices. Storage and compute present similar challenges as well. To simplify this interaction and create more scalable systems, we need to actually rethink how resources are requested and distributed between different components. This really boils down to shifting the abstraction model away from configuring individual devices to focus on separately capturing user intent, operational, infrastructure, and compliance requirements.
At Cisco, we’ve really embraced both of these trends. We are active contributors to over 100 open source projects and were founding members of OpenStack Neutron and OpenDaylight. We’ve also made open source a successful business practice by incorporating and integrating popular projects with our products. In parallel, Cisco has accumulated a lot of experience in describing policy through the work we’ve done with Cisco Unified Computing (UCS) and most recently with Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
Building on this foundation, we see a unique opportunity to collaborate with the open source community to deliver a vision for policy-driven infrastructure. This will enhance the usability, scale, and interoperability of open source software and benefit the entire infrastructure ecosystem.
This vision includes two initiatives in the open source community:
Group-Based Policy: An information model designed to express applications’ resource requirements from the network through a hardware-independent, declarative language and leave a simple control and dataplane in place. This approach replaces traditional networking constructs like VLANs with new primitives such as “groups”, which model tiers or components of an application, and “contracts” describing relationships between them. Group-Based Policy will be available in the context of OpenStack Neutron as well as OpenDaylight through a plug in model that can support any software or hardware infrastructure.
OpFlex: A distributed framework of intelligent agents within each networking device designed to resolve policies. These agents would translate an abstract, hardware-independent policy taken from a logically central repository into device-specific features and capabilities.
Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these initiatives.