As Published In
Oracle Magazine
March/April 2014


Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation

By Fred Sandsmark


OpenStack capabilities will be integrated into a broad range of Oracle products and cloud services.

Oracle has joined the OpenStack Foundation as a corporate sponsor, and plans to integrate OpenStack capabilities into a broad set of Oracle products and cloud services.

OpenStack is a global community of developers and cloud computing technologists who are collaborating to create an open source platform for public and private clouds. Oracle announced OpenStack-compatible API integration for Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 and sponsorship of OpenStack in December 2013.

Joining the OpenStack Foundation formalizes Oracle’s contributions and signals the company’s intention to integrate OpenStack capabilities into many Oracle products, including Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, the Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3 series, Oracle Flash Storage Systems, and Oracle’s StorageTek tape systems. Oracle will also work to make Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Compute Cloud Service, and Oracle Storage Cloud Service compatible with OpenStack.

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Oracle’s decision to step up corporate involvement in the OpenStack project was driven by customer interest, according to Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president, Linux and virtualization engineering at Oracle. “OpenStack today is a popular project, and a lot of people are looking at how to use it to build private clouds,” Coekaerts says. “It’s a fast-moving project, but it’s still in its early stages.”

While many organizations are using OpenStack for their developer clouds, few are using it in production environments because its various elements are incomplete, immature, or not thoroughly tested, says Markus Flierl, vice president of Oracle Solaris. “We plan to help make OpenStack a more mature solution—and one with support from Oracle that extends from storage and networking, to compute, to the VMs [virtual machines] themselves.”

Flierl adds that Oracle’s active participation in the OpenStack community will help ensure that Oracle customers using OpenStack have more flexibility in building and managing their cloud environments. “Our goal in participating in OpenStack is to ensure that Oracle solutions are compatible with the rest of the projects that make up OpenStack,” he says. “This means that if a company is using OpenStack and wants to run a hybrid solution—where they’re using a private cloud and Oracle Cloud—they can move elements of their clouds back and forth and apply the same abstraction to create and tear down their VMs. They don’t want to have to use one set of tools in their private cloud, and then use completely different tools in their public cloud.”

“OpenStack is a generic cloud management product that does not itself include a hypervisor,” Coekaerts adds. “OpenStack provides plug-ins and support for a variety of hypervisors. Customers like the fact that having a single front-end API lets them manage, potentially, multiple types of hypervisors. We want to make sure that Oracle customers can benefit from the interoperability with OpenStack.”

Flierl believes that OpenStack is one element of an emerging model in which developers have unlimited access to infrastructure with zero-touch provisioning. “That’s very much what customers expect—an infrastructure layer that just becomes a commodity,” he says. “But to support production needs, that infrastructure needs to be available and reliable, and those are areas where we at Oracle can really add value. As a result of Oracle’s testing and participation in OpenStack, our customers can expect a higher level of availability than if they stitch cloud solutions together themselves.”

Fred Sandsmark is a freelance contributor to Oracle Magazine.

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