Managing OpenStack: Integration Matters!

With so many advantages an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud provides businesses, it’s great to see a transformation of IT happening across nearly all industries and markets. Nearly every enterprise is taking advantage of an “as-a-service” cloud in some form or another. And with this new infrastructure, it’s now more important than ever to remember the critical role that management plays within this mix. Oddly enough, it is sometimes considered a second priority when customers begin investigating the benefits of an IaaS cloud, but quickly becomes your first priority when running one.

At Red Hat, we believe that management plays a critical role in this next-generation datacenter.  And we believe cloud management should be open, agile, and integrated.  Let us explain how we are integrating several critical management capabilities to let you take OpenStack to it’s fullest potential.

Recently, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7. This new release, based on the community “Kilo” OpenStack, is filled with hundreds of new features and functions, designed to further the advancement and adoption of OpenStack-based clouds. In particular, version 7 brought to market a brand new deployment and management tool to help ease the burden of new resource deployments and day-to-day operations management – it’s called, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform director.

Director is our new technology for deploying OpenStack on bare metal machines to establish a production-ready environment. Using the Ironic service, it has a unique approach to both discovering the hardware, planning the deployment (e.g. what components of OpenStack go where), executing the deployment, and ultimately providing long-term stability. It’s a very different approach than other competing installer tools, as it establishes a long-term instance that understands the deployment architecture and API’s that can be utilized to modify the deployment (aka. the undercloud). This allows functions like scaling up and down, and eventually update/upgrade within that topology architecture. This combination provides the basis for automating the management of OpenStack.

Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure customers for example, may use Satellite to deploy director and further leverage Satellite to provide a trusted, on-premise content stream that is utilized for the OpenStack deployment. Whether using Glance images, RPM’s for your guest instances, or Docker containers for your applications, Satellite adds an on-premise content and configuration management capability from your infrastructure to your guests.

After your environment is up and running, we can then leverage Red Hat CloudForms to provide a single management solution. In fact, while CloudForms today already manages the essential components over Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, CloudForms 4 (coming soon) will add new functionality to manage both the director instance (i.e. the undercloud) and the running production OpenStack cloud (i.e. the overcloud), and orchestrate sophisticated management needs. Specifically, it will provide functionality such as automating a scale-out command to the undercloud when it detects a capacity issue in the overcloud. But the nice thing about CloudForms, is that it can also extend management to other domains like OpenShift (PaaS) container environments, VMWare environments, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization environments, and even public cloud environments, like Amazon AWS. This provides cloud operators a single management view of their entire infrastructure, regardless of which vendor platform is being used. And, critically important for advanced customers, this can link the world of containers and OpenStack together from a single point of management.

On a final thought, after really listening to our customers and working to meet their unique needs, we quickly realized the importance of an integrated solution, rather than just trying to solve single problems, with single products. Red Hat has responded to this need by working towards fully integrated solution suites, in the form of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and the recently announced Red Hat Cloud Suite for Applications. These integrated solutions deliver a common installation experience that orchestrates across the various platforms to bring a cohesive experience to customers who choose to utilize multiple Red Hat offerings.