Category Archives: OpenStack

SAP’s HANA launches on Huawei’s FusionSphere cloud platform

Huawei MWC 2016Huawei and SAP have announced the general availability of the SAP HANA platform on Huawei’s OpenStack cloud platform FusionSphere 5.1.

The announcement follows a long-standing partnership, dating back to 2012 when Huawei became a SAP global technology partner, which saw the team open a co-innovation centre at Huawei’s Shenzhen campus last year, which was tasked with advanced the teams capabilities in the cloud computing and big data market segments.

“SAP is the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software, and SAP HANA is leading enterprise software innovation right now,” said Zhipeng Ren, President of the Huawei IT Cloud Computing Product Line. “Huawei’s FusionCloud solution support for SAP HANA is widely accepted in the market. With the open cloud computing strategy, Huawei builds a win-win cloud ecosystem through an open, enterprise-class cloud platform.

“Based on OpenStack open source architecture, Huawei FusionSphere has made thousands of enterprise-class enhancements, and is an ideal cloud infrastructure platform for SAP HANA and critical enterprise applications. In the meantime, our joint initiatives with SAP are intended to create more value for customers to achieve their goals.”

Over the course of the relationship, SAP’s HANA offering has been made available on a number of Huawei platforms including FusionCube, FusionServer RH2288H V2/V3, FusionServer RH5885H V3 and FusionServer RH8100 V3. Huawei claims that since FusionSphere can run business applications that have traditionally been run on premise, the platform will create a number of new opportunities for mass processing of big data on the cloud.

Platform9 launches OpenStack channel partner program

Key Hole Solution PartnershipPlatform9 has launched a new channel partner program designed for resellers who are focused on deploying enterprise-ready OpenStack private clouds for their customers.

The Platform9 proposition, delivers OpenStack private clouds as a SaaS-based managed service, is built on the continuing wave of OpenStack enthusiasm from enterprise-scale organizations. The team claim to be able to deliver the benefits of public cloud through opensource technologies, without the vendor lock-in and “VMware or AWS” tax.

At the OpenStack Summit last month numerous organizations outlined their commitment to the technology, including Wal-Mart, AT&T, SAP and Wells Fargo, and the OpenStack Foundation also claimed more than 50% of the Fortune 100 is now using an OpenStack platform.

“Our new channel program helps our partners capitalize on the significant business opportunity surrounding customers’ cloud transformation needs. Platform9’s unique SaaS-based OpenStack solution enables partners to deliver immediate value to their customers while enhancing their status as a private cloud ‘trusted advisor,’” said Adam Ulfers, Platform9 VP of Sales. “Most importantly, we can help increase our partners’ share of cloud spending by extending their solutions and services as they build out their customers’ data centre ecosystems.”

Last month, the team also announced a number of updates to its OpenStack-as-a-Service proposition, aimed at increasing the ‘readiness’ of the platform for enterprise organizations. As part of updates, Platform9 included a SAML integration with Okta to provide SSO integration across groups of users and internal organizations, a zero-touch upgrade to OpenStack Liberty and a trial version of Platform9 Managed OpenStack which is available on a USB stick.

The Platform9 Channel Partner Program enables its resellers to implement an on-premises private cloud, which the company claims offers the same self-service provisioning and open APIs as a public cloud proposition. The program also offers resellers a number of sales leads, joint marketing and demand generation campaigns, for resellers who take part.

“With growing concerns about runaway costs and data lock-in with the public cloud, many customers are pursuing hybrid cloud strategy, with IT as internal service providers,” said Alvin Chu, Senior Director, Cloud Practice, FusionStorm, one of Platform9’s resellers. “With Platform9’s private-cloud-as-a-service, we can transform our customers’ existing data centre resources into flexible, enterprise-grade private cloud infrastructure in just minutes – all backed by an operational SLA. Platform9 accelerates the time to value for our customers and for our business as well.”

Rackspace prioritises AWS and Azure partnerships for future growth

Taylor Rhodes

Taylor Rhodes, President and CEO at Rackspace

Rackspace has reported healthy growth for Q1 2016, as the team continues its transition to become managed services provider, leveraging partnerships with AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Revenues for the first quarter were reported at $518 million, a year-on-year growth of 9.9%, while profits grew 77.5%. Although the growth of the business over the last 12 months has been viewed as generally positive, industry commentators highlighted the $24 million gain from the divestiture of Jungle Disk, and what could be perceived as a lacklustre outlook for the rest of 2016 has dampened the news. The exec team expects revenues of between $519 million and $524 million for the second quarter.

“First, we saw a strong demand for our expertise and support on the AWS and Microsoft Clouds and for our OpenStack private cloud offer. Collectively, we now serve more than 400 customers on these platforms and our demand is scaling rapidly,” Taylor Rhodes, President and CEO at Rackspace. “From the October launch of our AWS service through the end of April, we’ve been actively marketing with AWS and have signed 187 customers across every firm size, geography, and vertical.”

The transition to a managed cloud services company began a number of years ago with the launch of Rackspace’s Fanatical Support services, though seemingly began making real traction within the industry last year, as the team announced expanded partnerships with Microsoft in July, when Azure public and private cloud infrastructure was incorporated into the offering, and AWS in August. The team also recently announced a new partnership with Cloud Technology Partners, which it believes will increase cloud adoption rates.

The partnerships are also enabling the company to diversify its geographical focus as over 40% of the AWS customers are coming from non-U.S. regions. Rhodes also believes the new capital-light business models employed enables the company to roll-out new offerings worldwide. Previously, new products were rolled out first in the USA, due to capital intensity, and then phased out over time into other regions worldwide, however the new model is claimed to offer Rackspace increased flexibility and agility in bringing new offerings to the market.

The shift in strategic direction is supported by a renewed effort in the marketing department, as Rhodes highlighted campaigns will now be directed towards driving brand awareness and demand generation for the managed cloud services business, specifically the Fanatical Support services offered to AWS and Microsoft Azure customers.

“Our new head of Global Sales and Marketing, Alex Pinchev, started work at the beginning of Q1,” said Rhodes. “He and his team are moving aggressively to shift resources toward our new fast-growing offers while sustaining our core business. They are training more of our sales teams to sell our new offers and are hiring additional specialists in areas of high demand. We advised you last quarter that these sales and marketing efforts will take time to gain full traction, that transition contributed to our slow start to the year”

Efforts for Rackspace on the OpenStack front would also appear to be bearing fruit, with the launch of OpenStack Everywhere, Next Generation Bare Metal Servers and the Private Cloud Powered by Red Hat offering. All three offerings would seemingly demonstrate the company’s drive towards the OpenStack private and hybrid cloud market segments. The team are confident in the growth potential of the OpenStack private cloud market, and highlighted a number of major customers wins were through this aspect of the business.

“Our role as the co-founder of OpenStack has given us unique capabilities in software development, DevOps, continuous integration and deployment, and other key disciplines,” said Rhodes. “Those capabilities provide a major differentiation for us versus other managed services providers as we expand to provide managed cloud services on AWS and the Microsoft Cloud.

“We’ve really seen a tipping point, what really looks like a significant tipping point in the market for OpenStack private clouds in the last six months to nine months. Some of our largest deals that we closed in March were OpenStack private cloud deals and some of the largest deals that we have in our pipeline today are OpenStack private cloud deal. So, really that’s the traction that we’re seeing.”

Verizon launches NFV OpenStack cloud deployment over five data centres

VerizonVerizon has completed the launch of its NFV OpenStack cloud deployment project across five of its US data centres, alongside Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat.

The NFV project is claimed to be the largest OpenStack deployment in the industry and is currently being expanding the project to a number of domestic data centres and aggregation sites. The company also expect the deployment to be adopted in edge network sites by the end of the year, as well as a number of Verizon’s international locations, though a time-frame for the international sites was not disclosed.

“Building on our history of innovation, this NFV project is another step in building Verizon’s next-generation network – with implications for the industry,” said Adam Koeppe, VP of Network Technology Planning at Verizon. “New and emerging applications are highlighting the need for collaborative research and development in technologies like NFV. We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers’ needs anywhere, anytime, any app.”

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat to develop the OpenStack pod-based design, which went from idea to deployment of more than 50 racks in five data centres in nine months, includes a spine-leaf fabric for each pod controlled through a Neutron plugin to Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The multi-vendor project uses Big Switch’s SDN controller software managing Dell switches, which are orchestrated by Red Hat OpenStack platform.

“Dell’s Open Networking initiative delivers on the promise of bringing innovative technology, services and choice to our customers and Verizon’s NFV project is a testament to that vision,” said Tom Burns, GM of Dell’s networking business unit. “With the open source leadership of Red Hat, the SDN expertise of Big Switch and the infrastructure, service and support at scale from Dell, this deployment demonstrates a level of collaboration that sets the tone for the Open Networking ecosystem. This is just the beginning.”

Rackspace launches ‘cloud in a box’ offering for any data centre

Open gift boxRackspace has announced the launch of OpenStack Everywhere, delivering OpenStack as a managed service in any data centre the customer chooses.

Backing OpenStack as the preferred private cloud platform for enterprise, the company has built its new offering on the assumption that the complexity and cost of hiring talent to deploy and operate will boost demand for OpenStack as a managed service.

“Companies realise they can free up money and resources for more strategic business investments when they turn their IT capital expenses into operating expenses,” said Darrin Hanson, GM of OpenStack Private Cloud at Rackspace. “When OpenStack is consumed as a managed service, businesses can remove non-core operations, reduce software licensing, and minimise infrastructure acquisition and IT operations costs.”

In previous years, organizations wanting to enter into the OpenStack world would have had to front hardware and infrastructure costs, as well as hire experts for deployment and continuous management. The new product offers Rackspace support, on OpenStack, in a private cloud environment; the customer provides the floor space, power and cooling systems, but Rackspace does everything else.

The new ‘cloud in a box’ enables Rackspace to provide an integrated software, hardware and services product, which can be deployed in any data centre around the world. “Take for example I’m the IT Director for a German company who has a subsidiary in Italy,” said Frank Weyns, Director, OpenStack International at Rackspace “I want to give them local cloud capabilities, but ensure they are using the same technology as the subsidiaries in the UK and America. We can ship a complete hardware, software and services package to Italy, which operates on the same cloud platform as the rest of the business worldwide”

While the complexity of the cloud is no longer a particular challenge, Frank highlighted the main hurdle surrounding cloud computing, in particular OpenStack, is the internal resources. Now OpenStack is moving from the early adopter through to mass market stage, uptake is moving from the IT industry through to other verticals that wouldn’t necessarily have the same expertise internally. The demand for OpenStack may be present for these organizations, however the internal man power to successfully manage the platform at production level isn’t always there.

“The biggest hurdle for these companies to consume cloud, public, private or any cloud, is knowledge. Knowledge about the cloud, but also their internal resource,” said Weyns. “Using the cloud is not difficult; having a team which can manage the cloud 24/7 in a production environment is very different from a PoC however. This is the main reason we have created Rackspace in a box using OpenStack. We can deliver a product to any customer, irrelevant of where they are in their cloud journey, which works in production.

“The biggest concern now is how a business can remain true to their core operations. If you’re not an IT business, say you’re a bank or a car manufacturer, how can you ensure that you are operating in the cloud 24/7 without worrying about downtime or effective management of the technology? You probably won’t have the expertise in-house. This is a major barrier to adoption, and this is where Rackspace can help.”

Volkswagen moves to OpenStack platform with start-up Mirantis

VWCar manufacturer Volkswagen Group has chosen OpenStack as its global standard for its next generation private cloud platform, as part of a worldwide standardization project to reduce IT costs and increase automation.

The company signed the deal with start-up Mirantis over the major players in the industry. While the move represents one of the biggest wins to date for the start-up, it would appear that Red Hat have lost out on a healthy deal in the process. Volkswagen is currently a customer of Red Hat, though it is not clear to what degree the relationship will continue.

“As the automotive industry shifts to the service economy, Volkswagen is poised for agile software innovation,” said Mario Müller, VP IT Infrastructure at Volkswagen. “The team at Mirantis gives us a robust, hardened distribution, deep technical expertise, a commitment to the OpenStack community, and the ability to drive cloud transformation at Volkswagen. Mirantis OpenStack is the engine that lets Volkswagen’s developers build and deliver software faster.”

Volkswagen highlighted the move to a private cloud platform will enable the business to better compete in an ever-more digitally enabled world. Müller said that four trends drove the company towards a more agile cloud computing platform, as the new platform enables greater levels of automation as well as a less consuming procurement process.

“Ubiquitous connectivity means we’ll have 50 billion smart sensors in end devices by 2030,” said Müller. “Cloud computing means data access everywhere. That means the amount of stored data doubles every two years. Third, social media. We have 1.3 billion Facebook users today, heading towards 7 billion. And big data. We can do real-time analysis of mass amounts of data.”

Initially Volkswagen will move its infrastructure to Infrastructure-as-a-Service, ending with Platform-as-a-Service for the infrastructure model. On IaaS, Volkswagen will manage the middleware, runtime, data and applications, whereas Mirantis will manage the operating system, virtualization layer, servers, storage and networking, while on PaaS the company will only manage data and applications. The company aim to have PaaS up and running by July of this year. The transition to the IaaS model was completed at the end of 2015.

“First, it’s a service (the current IaaS platform) and not simply dedicated hardware,” said Müller. “The target VW internal audience is administrators and technical competence centres. It’s not designed for end users. The IaaS services provide virtualized hardware computer, networking and storage running on Linux with root access. Connectivity is via VW’s intranet. It’s not yet connected to the Internet. It doesn’t support legacy applications and we don’t yet offer central backups. It’s available to our teams in America, Europe and Asia.”

The deal represents a major win for Mirantis, which previously counted Red Hat as one of its investors. In two rounds of fund-raising in January and June 2013, Mirantis raised $10 million in growth capital funding from various venture capitalists, as well as a further $10 million from Red Hat, Ericsson and SAP. The company then launched its own OpenStack distribution in October 2013, putting it in direct competition with Red Hat, though the technology still worked with Red Hat operating systems.

In recent years, the relationship between the two companies would appear to have soured as Red Hat announced in May 2014 that it would no longer provide support to Linux customers using non-Red Hat versions of OpenStack, contradicting the spirit of the open source community. Later that year in November the company also ordered all employees to stop working with Mirantis. The saga would not have appeared to have effected Mirantis’ perception in the market.

“OpenStack is the open source cloud standard offering companies a fast path to cloud innovation,” said Marque Teegardin, SVP at Mirantis. “It is our privilege to partner with Europe’s largest automaker and we are thrilled to support them as they use the software to out-innovate competitors and expand their business on a global scale.”

Amdocs combines NCSO with Red Hat OpenStack in telco cloud play

openstack logoCustomer experience specialist Amdocs claims it has created a system to convert mobile operators from physical network users into comms service providers in the cloud. It unveiled details of the new service at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

It has achieved this by blending its Network Cloud Service Orchestrator (NCSO) with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This, it says, creates an open catalogue driven system that works with any vendor’s equipment. Amdocs claimed it can help mobile operators transform from fixed infrastructure users into cloud friendly communications service providers (CSPs).

The NCSO can orchestrate the mapping of telecommunications services onto a software-led environment, claimed Amdocs. It does this by creating the conditions for continuous design, instantiation and the assurance of complex network services created from virtual network functions (VNFs).

By virtualising functions that were previously bound up with hardware, the NCSO creates a greater degree of fluidity and flexibility. This means CSPs can introduce new services and adapt to customer demand in a fraction of the time, claims Amdocs.

Amdocs chose Red Hat because its Enterprise Linux OpenStack system has emerged as a cloud platform for network function virtualisation, it said.

An Amdocs NCSO, which uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack, has been part of several NFV lab trials with tier one telco providers globally. In the beta trials the telco users have created a range of use cases with multiple vendors, including virtual CPE (customer premises equipment), virtual EPC (evolved packet core) and virtual IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem).

Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses the high-performance Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor as, it claims, this forms a more stable, secure and reliable operating system.

“OpenStack has become a de facto choice for NFV trials across the globe,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat

Survey reveals support for OpenStack but fears over hidden costs

openstack logoAlmost all IT professionals want to adopt OpenStack but fear the hidden costs, according to a new study by SUSE Linux.

Positive sentiment could evaporate in the face of challenges such as difficult installation, skills shortages and the fear of vendor lock-ins, the report has warned.

The study was commissioned by enterprise Linux, cloud and storage infrastructure provider SUSE. Researcher Dynamic Markets interviewed 813 senior IT professionals in the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and the Nordics, along with 110 from the UK. According to SUSE, 80% of the UK group said they are planning to adopt or have already moved to OpenStack private cloud. But there is serious concern about the aforementioned private cloud installation challenges and possible vendor lock-in.

Though 88% of companies said they have a private cloud at work an even higher percentage (96%) said they would use a cloud solution for business-critical workloads. Almost as many, 94%, said they see infrastructure-as-a-service as the future for the data centre.

However, many respondents confessed that the practicalities of OpenStack might get in the way and gave a series of responses that indicate there may be a high degree of difficulty involved.

Almost half of UK enterprises that have tried to implement an OpenStack cloud have failed, according to SUSE. Another 57% said they found the implementation experience difficult. Meanwhile, another 30% could be about to endure an off-putting experience, according to SUSE, since this number plan to download and install OpenStack software themselves, which (says SUSE) could exacerbate their difficulties.

Despite the open ethos of OpenStack, an alarming 91% of UK respondents are wary about falling victim to vendor lock-in when they choose a private cloud infrastructure.

Keeping control of the infrastructure will be made even harder by the impossibility of finding staff, said the report, as 89% say a lack of available talent in the market is making them reluctant to embark on a private cloud project.

The Cloud may be the future but there are clear concerns about how it should be integrated and managed, according to Mark Smith, SUSE’s senior product marketing manager. With cost the primary motivator for adopting the cloud, many IT professionals worry that there will be a price to pay later, according to SUSE.

Openstack targets telcos with NFV push

Digital illustration of Cloud computing devicesA new report indicates that there could be a boom in network function virtualisation projects this year, with NFV the second most popular subject of research after containers, reports

According to a report from the OpenStack Foundation, only container technology is under closer scrutiny than NFV by technology buyers and decision makers in the world’s enterprises and service providers.

The paper, Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack, reports on the findings of the foundation’s most recent user survey, in which 76 per cent of those questioned identified an important telecoms function that had to be addressed through virtualisation. Of the OpenStack user base 12% were traditional telcos and another 64% were companies that now include telecoms as part of their roster of services, such as the categories of cable TV and ISP companies, telco and networking and data centre/co-location companies.

By comparison, an OpenStack user survey in 2014 suggested its user base of telcos was much smaller, the Foundation says, and only an elite of global telcos, such as NTT and Deutsche Telekom, were investigating NFV use. Since then there has been a surge in interest, it reports, with

increasing numbers of telecom-specific NFV features, such as support for multiple IPv6 prefixes, being requested or submitted by OpenStack users.

Container technology information is even more sought after than NFV, according to OpenStack, but the two issues are not mutually exclusive. Sources have speculated that the technologies may be used in tandem as OpenStack is the foundation of rationalising the hybrid nature of most telco’s infrastructure.

According to the paper’s executive summary OpenStack could provide cost effective route to the creation of private clouds without vendor lock-in, since proprietary hardware is becoming associated with NFV.

“While the interoperability between NFV infrastructure platforms that use OpenStack is still a work in progress, the majority of configurations surpass expectations,” concluded the paper co-authored by Kathy Cacciatore, the OpenStack Foundation’s Consulting Marketing Manager.

Happy (belated) birthday, OpenStack: you have much to look forward to

Now past the five-year anniversary of OpenStack’s creation, the half-decade milestone provides an opportunity to look back on how far the project has come in that time – and to peer thoughtfully into OpenStack’s next few years. At present, OpenStack represents the collective efforts of hundreds of companies and an army of developers numbering in the thousands. Their active engagement in continually pushing the project’s technical boundaries and implementing new capabilities – demanded by OpenStack operators – has defined its success.

Companies involved with OpenStack include some of the most prestigious and interesting tech enterprises out there, so it’s no surprise that this past year has seen tremendous momentum surrounding OpenStack’s Win the Enterprise program. This initiative – central to the future of the OpenStack project – garnered displays of the same contagious enthusiasm demonstrated in the stratospheric year-over-year growth in attendance at OpenStack Summits (the most version of the event, held in Tokyo, being no exception). The widespread desire of respected and highly-capable companies and individuals to be involved with the project is profoundly assuring, and proves the recognition of OpenStack as a frontrunner for the title of most innovative software and development community when it comes to serving enterprises’ needs for cloud services.

With enterprise adoption front of mind, these are the key trends now propelling OpenStack into its next five years:

Continuing to Redefine OpenStack

The collaborative open source nature of OpenStack has successfully provided the project with many more facets and functionalities than could be dreamt of initially five years ago, and this increase in scope (along with the rise of myriad new related components) has led to the serious question: “What is OpenStack?” This is not merely an esoteric query – enterprises and operators must know what available software is-and-is-not OpenStack in order to proceed confidently in their decision-making around the implementation of consistent solutions in their clouds. Developers require clarity here as well, as their applications may potentially need to be prepared to operate across different public and private OpenStack clouds in multiple regions.

If someone were to look up OpenStack in the dictionary (although not yet in Webster’s), what they’d see there would be the output of OpenStack’s DefCore project, which has implemented a process that now has a number of monthly definition cycles under its belt. This process bases the definition of a piece of software as belonging to OpenStack on core capabilities, implementation code and APIs, and utilizes RefStack verification tests. Now OpenStack distributions and operators have this DefCore process to rely on in striving for consistent OpenStack implementations, especially for enterprise.

Enterprise Implementation Made Easy

The OpenStack developer community is operating under a new “big tent” paradigm, tightening coordination on project roadmaps and releases through mid-cycle planning sessions and improved communication. The intended result? A more integrated and well-documented stack. Actively inviting new major corporate sponsors and contributors (for example Fujitsu, a new Gold member of OpenStack as of this July) has helped to better inform the ease of implementation with which enterprise can get on board with OpenStack.

Of course, OpenStack will still require expertise to be implemented for any particular use case, as it’s a complicated, highly configurable piece of software that can run across distributed systems – not to mention the knowledge needed to select storage sub-systems and networking options, and to manage a production environment at scale. However, many capable distribution and implementation partners have arisen worldwide to provide for these needs (Mirantis, Canonical, Red Hat, Aptira, etc), and these certainly have advantages over proprietary choices when looking at the costs and effort it takes to get a production cloud up and running.

The OpenStack Accelerator

A positive phenomena that enterprises experience when enabling their developers and IT teams to work within the OpenStack community is seen in the dividends gained from new insights into technologies that can be valuable within their own IT infrastructure. The open collaborations at the heart of OpenStack expose contributors to a vast ecosystem of OpenStack innovations, which enterprises then benefit from internalizing. Examples of these innovations include network virtualization software (Astara, MidoNet), software-defined storage (Swift, Ceph, SolidFire), configuration management tools (Chef, Puppet, Ansible), and a new world of hardware components and systems offering enough benefit to make enterprises begin planning how to take advantage of them.

The pace of change driven by OpenStack’s fast-moving platform is now such that it can even create concern in many quarters of the IT industry. Enterprise-grade technology that evolves quickly and attracts a lot of investment interest will always have its detractors. Incumbent vendors fear erosion of market share. IT services providers fear retooling their expertise and workflows. Startups (healthily) fear the prospect of failure. But the difference is that startups and innovators choose to embrace what’s new anyway, despite the fear. That drives technology forward, and fast. And even when innovators don’t succeed, they leave behind a rich legacy of new software, talent, and tribal knowledge that we all stand on the shoulders of today. This has been so in the OpenStack community, and speaks well of its future.


DreamHost - Stefano Maffulli HeadshotStefano Maffulli is the Director of Cloud and Community at DreamHost, a global web hosting and cloud services provider whose offerings include the cloud computing service DreamCompute powered by OpenStack, and the cloud storage service DreamObjects powered by Ceph.