The Importance of Integrating Datacenter Infrastructure

by stephenagordon — January 23, 2014

By, Steve Gordon, Product Manager, Red Hat
January 23, 2014

This week heralds a refresh of Red Hat’s cloud portfolio offerings, including Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 4.0, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0, and the latest release of Red Hat’s traditional data center virtualization management platform, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3.

We’ve put a lot of effort into our long-term cloud product strategy and the updates this week show the beginning of those efforts coming together. With this refresh, it’s clear that integration and management is the key theme behind the marketing launch activities. However, delivering real, tangible, and deployable value to our customers through Red Hat infrastructure software, is the key to success for us and this update provides you (us) the first step.

So why is integration so important in your data center? And why integrate with OpenStack? The answer lies within your own existing infrastructure, as well as your long-term plans. No, I don’t have magical powers to see your datacenter or your plans, but statistically-speaking, I can see just fine.

But, why choose an OpenStack-based private cloud? The answer is two fold – First, it provides you data control. Deploying OpenStack brings those same public cloud services into your datacenter and under your control. Second, it’s “open” – that is to say, it’s interoperable and customizable to your unique software/hardware needs.

With all that said, what’s stopping you from gaining these benefits as well? Here is where we go back to my original question and show the benefits of a proper long-term strategy. It’s all about integration. Instead of deploying new, independent infrastructure components, it helps to lay a flexible foundation, set for future growth and interoperability. And the very first step on your journey to the cloud, starts with the right virtual foundation.

One of the key developments in this week’s product updates starts with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and the allowance of third party providers for image storage, networking, and provisioning services. This allows administrators to deploy once with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and then easily leverage those same services in the future with an OpenStack-based cloud, whenever you’re ready.

Providing shared common services not only reduces hardware requirements for deployment, but also provides compliance and security policy adherence. Version 3.3 incorporates Openstack Image service (Glance), OpenStack networking services (Neutron), and OpenStack provisioning tool (Foreman) to deploy host servers. This provider support is provided as a Technology Preview. Additionally the updated user interface includes improved support for the cloud-init script, allowing boot-time customization of virtual machine images that include it, including the Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest image.

OpenStack Image Provider
The OpenStack Image Service acts as a registry of virtual machine disk images, including snapshots and templates for new virtual machines. The associated Image Service provider in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3 allows the addition of one or more OpenStack Image Service endpoints as storage domains. This allows virtual machine disk images to easily be imported and exported between the two systems.

OpenStack Network Provider
OpenStack Networking is an advanced software defined networking provider providing a scalable and API-driven system for managing network connectivity, addressing, and managing complex network topologies within an OpenStack IaaS cloud deployment. OpenStack Networking also supports range of plug-ins to integrate a variety of advanced networking technologies.

Via the Neutron Provider, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization users can also take advantage of the network services provided by OpenStack Networking. In this initial offering the Linux Bridge and Open vSwitch networking plug-ins are supported.

Foreman Provider
Hosts provided by a Foreman host provider can also be used as virtualization hosts by the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager. After a Foreman host provider has been added to the Manager as an external provider, any hosts that it provides can be added to and used in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in the same way as Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor hosts and Red Hat Enterprise Linux hosts.

Your journey to the cloud is not something that will happen overnight. The important thing to remember is that your unique journey will consist of several steps to the cloud you need to meet your unique business demands. Exploring Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization can be the first step in your cloud strategy. Deploying common services once and sharing those with different infrastructures, removes the barriers of independent data silos and provides a bridge that can give you the competitive advantage for dynamic business growth.

For more information, have a look at the release notes document and the Third Party Resource Providers chapter of the updated Administration Guide. To get started with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3, try out our free 60-day evaluation. For users who don’t yet have an OpenStack cloud, why not take Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform for a spin? Learn more and sign-up for a free evaluation at http://www.redhat.com/openstack.

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