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April 2014

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OpenStack: Look Under the Hood at the Growing Open-Source Cloud Management Platform

Oracle recently announced sponsorship of the OpenStack Foundation, which supports the development of an open-source cloud management platform for both public and private clouds.

“We understand our customers need common management interfaces, rather than being locked into proprietary ones. OpenStack allows them to do that, both for more traditional general-purpose infrastructure-as-a-service environments, as well as our engineered systems," says Markus Flierl, vice president, Oracle Solaris.

Moe Fardoost, senior director, Oracle Enterprise Manager, recently attended the OpenStack Summit in Mountain View, California. Here he reports on his findings—including how and when best to leverage OpenStack technology.

Q. What do you find most compelling about OpenStack?
A. At the conference, I heard various arguments, from economy and agility to architectural advantages. But curiously, no one mentioned what I think is of central importance: interoperability. Perhaps this is due to the kinds of projects early adopters have focused on.

To learn more, check out this detailed article on the commitment to interoperability on the OpenStack blog.

Q. What’s under the hood of an OpenStack product?
A. The founders and early adopters agreed that more work was needed to establish criteria, including tests to verify compatibility with OpenStack. The DefCore committee was recently created to address these needs.

Q. Is OpenStack most valuable for new projects, existing or legacy applications, or both?
A. The clear answer from panelists was that OpenStack is best for new projects. Legacy applications may not be able to benefit from the scalability capabilities of OpenStack, and thus may not be good candidates for OpenStack projects.

Q. What are some common use cases of OpenStack projects among early adopters?
A. Big data, analytics, and mobility were all mentioned as use cases that fit well. There was also a fair amount of discussion about organizations that will be moving workloads from public clouds to private clouds built on OpenStack.

Q. What technical skill sets do organizations need to develop on OpenStack?
A. According to early adopters, the challenge lies in finding network people and systems engineers who know how to enable applications on the cloud—and programmers to support them. On the operational front, you won’t find many OpenStack administrators yet. And given the fast pace of change in the current releases, the skill sets will evolve over the next couple of years.

One early adopter talked at length about painful upgrades that forced his organization to stay on an old release of OpenStack. Clearly, the operational challenges will remain key concerns for those considering OpenStack in its current state.

Q. What are Oracle's plans for integration with OpenStack?
A. Oracle is planning to integrate OpenStack cloud management components into Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, Oracle’s infrastructure-as-a-service solutions, Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3 series, Oracle’s Pillar Axiom storage systems, Oracle’s StorageTek tape systems, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

In addition, Oracle will be working to achieve OpenStack compatibility with Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Compute Cloud Service, and Oracle Storage Cloud Service.

Learn more about Oracle's sponsorship of the OpenStack Foundation.

Read Oracle Magazine: Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation.

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