Working with OpenStack storage: Tips on Cinder, Swift and the cloud
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Hewlett-Packard rolled out new CloudSystem bundles aimed at OpenStack private clouds in the enterprise, which it claims will simplify cloud management.
Two new OpenStack-based software packages are now available to run HP CloudSystem infrastructure, dubbed Foundation and Enterprise. Both are available, along with their hardware underpinnings, as a single stockkeeping unit. Previously, customers were expected to combine and configure components themselves.
Traction for OpenStack among enterprises in general has been weak, despite improvements to the products with these new platforms, industry watchers said.
CloudSystem consists of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s converged infrastructure, which includes BladeSystem blade servers, OneView management software, 3PAR StoreServ storage hardware and HP networking products. The CloudSystem line has been around since 2011; HP also offered a CloudSystem based on its Moonshot microserver hardware earlier this year.
Traction for OpenStack among enterprises, in terms of production deployments, has been weak so far, despite improvements to the products with these new platforms, industry watchers said.
"None of our current clients are planning or executing major OpenStack deployments at this time," said Jared Reimer, co-founder of Cascadeo Corp., an IT consulting firm located in Mercer Island, Wash. that works with dozens of midsize to large enterprise customers. "Lots of folks talk about it, play with it in the lab, etc., but in terms of larger-scale production deployments or migrations, we just don't see real uptake."
This echoes a recent assessment of the market for OpenStack written by Alessandro Perilli, an analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.
Part of the problem is that vendors don't know how to articulate and sell the OpenStack story to win enterprises, Perilli noted in his blog post.
Whether HP CloudSystem can change that trend remains to be seen. It could appeal to cloud service providers rather than corporate IT shops, one industry watcher said.
"HP could provide a turnkey hybrid cloud solution combining their CloudSystem appliance and public cloud offering to service providers, assisting them with their midmarket clients," said Anthony Pagano, director of StrataScape Technologies, an IT consulting firm based in Philadelphia.
The lack of direct support for Hyper-V in this release also holds it back for some IT pros, who said they probably wouldn't use CloudSystem for that reason or because they are already committed to other vendors' hardware.
However, some still see promise for OpenStack.
"As with all cloud solutions, the management system and how it integrates with existing infrastructure will make or break [CloudSystem]," said Chris Steffen, director of IT for Magpul Industries Corp., a firearms maker based in Boulder, Colo. "But if the big cloud providers see the ROI in OpenStack, and they can manage it without huge headaches, they may have a winner."
There seems to be some demand to create private cloud platforms so that developers can manage their own environments at a fixed cost, added another cloud computing professional.
"The trick is to make those environments use the same APIs [application programming interfaces] and resources, such as machine images that you'll have in the public cloud," said Grant Young, director of IT technology for a publishing firm based in Boston. "OpenStack offers a good path for that sort of strategy."
Others, like Reimer, are still skeptical that businesses like HP will be able to keep up in the cloud era.
"The sad reality is that the cloud is a disruptive technology that will probably end the era of Dell, HP and x86 servers being sold in high volume," Reimer said. "This won't happen overnight, but it's probably inevitable at this point."
HP CloudSystem specifications
HP CloudSystem Foundation is a quick-ship, pre-tested configuration that includes HP's OpenStack-based Cloud OS, with the Nova compute service, Cinder block storage volumes, Neutron networking, Keystone identity management, Glance image management and the Horizon dashboard integrated with OneView. It also includes a workflow engine to automate administration tasks based on HP Operations Orchestration and out-of-the-box software-defined networking software.
HP CloudSystem Enterprise is a customizable version of Foundation, which will also include HP's Hybrid Cloud Management Platform, based on its Cloud Service Automation software, as well as support for the OASIS Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) standard, which allows for template-based deployment of cloud applications onto CloudSystem. TOSCA is similar in principle to IBM's Patterns for its PureFlex system, and what VMware Inc. offers with its vCloud Application Director.
Specific pricing for each model is not yet available but is expected to be in line with current CloudSystem pricing that starts at $2,595 per server, according to an HP spokesperson.
New professional services are also available from HP this week, including the Cloud Design Professional Service, which has HP provide "one throat to choke" for managing multiple cloud infrastructures, vendors and service-level agreements, including non-HP clouds.