OpenStack Summit – Why NFV Really Matters

I’ve been following the news releases and other storylines that have emerged from the ongoing proceedings at the OpenStack Summit in Paris, France. Some key themes have surfaced. In my first editorial, I shared reasons why the market has matured. In my second story, I observed how simplification via automation would broaden the addressable market for hybrid cloud services.

The other key theme that has emerged is the increased focus on telecom network operator needs and wants – specifically, the primary telco strategies that are evolving as they continue to build-out their hyperscale cloud infrastructures.

This is my domain. I’ve invested most of my professional life working for, or consulting with, domestic and international communication service providers. I’ve been actively involved in the business development of numerous wireline and wireless services, within both the consumer and commercial side of the marketplace. During more than two decades of experience, it’s been an amazing journey.

The closely related Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industries are already undergoing a transformation, as innovative products or services are developed by collaborative teams of creative contributors and brought to market at an accelerated rate.

Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 5 Now Available

Gordon Tillmore, Red Hat
Earlier this week, we announced the release of Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 5.  Customers can use  this recent release to move towards open hybrid cloud working alongside existing infrastructure investments, and allowing for workload portability from a customer’s private cloud to Amazon EC2, or the reverse, if desired.   The product is our Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution providing:

  • a flexible and open solution to build out a centrally managed heterogeneous virtualization environment,
  • a private cloud for traditional workloads based on virtualization technologies, and
  • a massively scalable OpenStack-based cloud for cloud-enabled workloads

Version 5 -an important release for Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure
Version 4 already included three tightly integrated Red Hat technologies: Red Hat CloudForms, an award winning Cloud Management Platform (CMP), Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, a full-featured enterprise virtualization solution, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, our fully supported, enterprise grade OpenStack offering.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux has also been a key ingredient, serving as the basis for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, as well as a guest operating system at the tenant layer. And now, with Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 5, Red Hat is introducing Satellite 6 to it’s award winning cloud infrastructure. Satellite 6 is accessible with no extra cost, to help organizations better manage the lifecycle of their cloud infrastructure.

OpenStack, Paris Summit: Day One Insights

Depending on your point of view, there are different ways to assess the progress of the evolving OpenStack project. Yesterday, I profiled “three reasons” why I believe there are encouraging signs that demonstrate how OpenStack has matured — and I gave an example of existing application case studies, as a key indicator.

I prefer to view the OpenStack upside potential through the lens of a business innovation consultant, where the technology is a means to an end – that being a desired commercial transformation. I referred to “superior digital business processes” as a primary motivation for exploring cloud computing services. So, what do I foresee, and how did I become fascinated by this particular topic?

I believe that today’s Global Networked Economy will lower any remaining geographic boundaries that may have previously limited competition in those industries that, to date, were largely untouched by the disruption made possible by the public Internet. The nascent Internet of Things has my attention – I want to be prepared for whatever comes next.

Freedom to Innovate with Cloud Services

Three Reasons Why OpenStack has Matured

The OpenStack Summit, taking place in Paris, France this week, will be a turning point for those of us that study market development activity within the cloud computing infrastructure marketplace. I attended my first OpenStack Summit earlier this year, in Atlanta, Georgia. During the event conference sessions, I was immediately engaged by the apparent enthusiasm and energy of the other attendees.

You know, it’s true; people that are driven by a strong sense of purpose really do radiate a high level of passion for their cause that can become somewhat contagious. It’s hard to resist a positive outlook.

That said, I’m not easily swayed by buzz or hype. As a consultant with nearly three decades of technology business experience, I tend to carefully consider all the facts before I offer an opinion. Most of my experience is within the telecom sector, so I was drawn to the conference sessions that focused on the business challenges that I knew very well. Upon returning home from the Atlanta Summit, I wrote a story about my observations; it was entitled “Exploring OpenStack cloud case studies.”

How the OpenStack Market has Evolved

I’ve observed several encouraging developments since the Atlanta Summit that I believe demonstrate the OpenStack market has now matured to a point where the next wave of enterprise user adoption will start to occur. As we enter 2015, I’ll also share periodic updates on my market assessment.

In the past, there have been numerous reports in the trade media that a lack of skilled and experienced cloud-savvy technical talent has limited some IT organizations from acting on the cloud service pilot request of an internal constituent. This scenario has helped to fuel the Shadow IT phenomena, where public cloud services are procured and used directly by impatient Line of Business (LoB) leaders.

Vendors in the cloud computing community have responded, by offering the support resources required by CIOs and IT managers – essentially creating the environment to address the staffing and skills demand in the marketplace. As an example, more OpenStack training classes are now available, and the associated skills certification process ensures that the graduating students are prepared for the most common use cases.

Red Hat, Nuage Networks, OpenStack, and KISS

Nuage Networks logo

RHOSCIPN_logo_small

The reality is that IT is serious money – IDC estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) market alone will hit $7.1 trillion by 2020![1]  But a lot of that money is due to the IT industry practice of “lock-in” – trapping a customer into a proprietary technology and then charging high costs, in some instances up to 10X cost, for every component   For some reason, customers object to having to pick one vendor’s approach, being subject to limitations – whether technological or otherwise, paying high markups for every incremental extension, then having to pay high switching costs for the next solution at end of life in five years or less.

As a consequence, many of those customers are taking a good, hard look at open source software (OSS) that can minimize vendor lock-in. OSS communities also encourage the development of software solutions that run on industry-standard and reasonably priced hardware. In particular, OpenStack has been well received by businesses of all sizes, and the OpenStack community is growing by leaps-and-bounds with 625% more participating developers and 307% more business members as of its fourth birthday![2] Since OpenStack can orchestrate operations for an entire datacenter, it offers a vision of the future where  customers are free from server, network, and storage lock-in.

However, legacy naysayers have always articulated three catches with OSS:
1)    Making it enterprise-grade in terms of scalability, reliability, and security
2)    Ensuring that the code base grows over time so that others can move the ball forward
3)    Getting enterprise-class support for the code base

Delivering the Complete Open-Source Cloud Infrastructure and Software-Defined-Storage Story

Authored by Neil Levine, Director Product Marketing, Red Hat and Sean Cohen, Principal Technical Product Manager, Red Hat

The OpenStack summit in Paris not only marks the release of Juno to the public but also the 6 month mark since Red Hat acquired Inktank, the commercial company behind Ceph. The acquisition not only underscored Red Hat’s commitment to use open source to disrupt the storage market, as it did in the operating system market with Linux, but also its investment in OpenStack where Ceph is a market leading scale-out storage platform, especially for block.

Even prior to the acquisition, Inktank’s commercial product – Inktank Ceph Enterprise – had been certified with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and over the past 6 months, the product teams have worked to integrate the two products even more tightly.
Delivering the complete Open-Source Cloud Infrastructure and Software-Defined-Storage story
The first phase of this work has been focused on simplifying the installation experience. The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform installer now handles configuration of the Ceph components on the controller and compute side, from installing the packages to configuring Cinder, Glance and Nova to creating all the necessary authentication keys. With the Ceph client-side components now directly available in RHEL OpenStack Platform, much of what was a manual effort has now been transformed & automated. In addition the RHEL OpenStack Platform installer also takes responsibility for the configuration of the storage cluster network topology and will boot and configure the hosts that will be used by the Ceph storage cluster.

The Inktank Ceph Enterprise installer has also been modified to take pre-seeded configuration files from RHEL OpenStack Platform and use them to build out the storage cluster. With some of the Ceph services architected to run co-resident on the controller nodes, the number of physical nodes needed has been reduced without sacrificing security of performance.

OpenStack Summit Paris: Agenda Confirms 22 Red Hat Sessions

As this Fall’s OpenStack Summit in Paris approaches, the Foundation has posted the session agenda, outlining the schedule of events. With an astonishing 1,100+ sessions submitted for review, I was happy to see that Red Hat and eNovance have a combined 22 sessions that are included in the weeks agenda, with two more as alternates.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I really respect the way the Foundation goes about setting the agenda – essentially deferring to the attendees and participants themselves, via a vote. Through this voting process, the subjects that are “top-of-mind” and of most interest in learning more about are brought to the surface, resulting in a very current and cutting edge set of discussions. And with so many accepted sessions, it again confirms that Red Hat, and now eNovance, are involved in some of the most current projects and technologies that the community is most interested in.

Free webinar on the Heat orchestration service

On Tuesday, September 30, we will presenting a Taste of Red Hat Training webinar dedicated to Heat, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform orchestration service that allows you to run multiple composite cloud applications. There will be two live sessions of the webinar run that day, at 9 am EST and 2 pm EST to accommodate the usual international audience.

Join Red Hat curriculum developer, Adolfo Vazquez, as he teaches you about the basics of the Heat orchestration service in Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, the Heat core services, and how to configure applications on the OpenStack infrastructure. Content for the webinar is pulled directly from our popular Red Hat OpenStack Administration (CL210) course.

Click here for more information and to register.

Announcing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 Beta

Today, we are excited to announce the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 Beta to existing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization customers. The Beta release allows our customers to easily manage and automate many virtualization tasks while providing an on-ramp to accommodate cloud enabled workloads based on OpenStack. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 Beta provides new features across compute, storage, network, and infrastructure.

One key feature to highlight is the full integration with OpenStack Glance and Neutron services. This feature was previously in tech preview. The strong integration between Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and OpenStack enables customers to eliminate silos and scale up to meet business demands.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 Beta is available to all existing customers with active Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization subscriptions today. Please view the 3.5 Beta Installation Guide here for details on how to start testing the beta release.

Please note that RHEV 3.5 Beta 1 will not support the use of the RHEV-H Hypervisor and will only support the use of a RHEL Hypervisor Host.  We apologize for this delay, and plan on the RHEV-H Hypervisor to be available in the RHEV 3.5 Beta 2 refresh.

Also note that there was a last second issue identified with the dwh component that prevents its installation in RHEV 3.5 Beta 1.  This will be resolved in the RHEV 3.5 Beta 2 refresh.

What’s Coming in OpenStack Networking for Juno Release

Neutron, historically known as Quantum, is the OpenStack project focused on delivering networking as a service. As the Juno development cycle ramps up, now is a good time to review some of the key changes we saw in Neutron during this exciting cycle and have a look at what is coming up in the next upstream major release which is set to debut in October.

Neutron or Nova Network?

The original OpenStack Compute network implementation, also known as Nova Network, assumed a basic model of performing all isolation through Linux VLANs and iptables. These are typically sufficient for small and simple networks, but larger customers are likely to have more sophisticated network requirements. Neutron introduces the concept of a plug-in, which is a back-end implementation of the OpenStack Networking API. A plug-in can use a variety of technologies to implement the logical API requests and offer a rich set of network topologies, including network overlays with protocols like GRE or VXLAN, and network services such as load balancing, virtual private networks or firewalls that plug into OpenStack tenant networks. Neutron also enables third parties to write plug-ins that introduce advanced network capabilities, such as the ability to leverage capabilities from the physical data center network fabric, or use software-defined networking (SDN) approaches with protocols like OpenFlow. One of the main Juno efforts is a plan to enable easier Nova Network to Neutron migration for users that would like to upgrade their networking model for the OpenStack cloud.

Performance Enhancements and Stability

The OpenStack Networking community is actively working on several enhancements to make Neutron a more stable and mature codebase. Among the different enhancements, recent changes to the security-group implementation should result in significant improvement and better scalability of this popular feature. To recall, security groups allows administrators and tenants the ability to specify the type of traffic and direction (ingress/egress) that is allowed to pass through a Neutron port, effectively creating an instance-level firewall filter. You can read this great post by Miguel Angel Ajo, a Red Hat employee who led this effort in the Neutron community, to learn more about the changes.

In addition, there are continuous efforts to improve the upstream testing framework, and to create a better separation between unit tests and functional tests, as well as better testing strategy and coverage for API changes.