Cisco Productizes OpenStack Cloud Support

HONG KONG – Cisco is advancing its own OpenStack efforts with new commercial support offerings and products. The announcement from Cisco comes as the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong gets underway.

“We’re now adding a real support model for OpenStack itself,” Lew Tucker, Cisco CTO for Cloud, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

Cisco first launched its own OpenStack distribution last year and is a key contributor across multiple OpenStack projects, including networking and compute. Tucker is also the vice-chairman of the OpenStack Foundation Board.

Cisco is now extending its OpenStack support by way of partnerships with major Linux vendors, including Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu. All of those vendors now have their own respective OpenStack distributions and are supported on the Cisco UCS server platform.

As the market for OpenStack has matured, Cisco’s view is that the open source cloud platform isn’t just for service providers. It has become a key layer for software deployment in the data center.

“We have really seen significant growth in terms of the users of OpenStack,” Tucker said.

OpenStack Accelerator Packs

From a services perspective, Cisco brings to bear its professional services operations to OpenStack with strategy and assessment services.

Cisco is also offering new accelerator packs, bundled sets of pre-designed Cisco hardware solution stacks including server, storage and networking components. One of the accelerator packs is for compute-intensive OpenStack workloads. The pack includes 6 x UCS C220 M3 servers, each of which provide 2x Intel Xeon E5-2665 processors and 128 GB of memory.

The UCS accelerator pack focuses on heavy storage requirements and includes 8 x UCS C240 M3 servers attached to 12 x 900 GB SAS hard drives. A third pack, with balanced compute and storage, includes 6 x UCS C220 and 12 x 900 GB SAS hard drives.

With the OpenStack accelerator packs, Cisco aims to enable organizations to rapidly go from pilot to full production.

Application Centric

Tucker explained that OpenStack is moving toward a more application centric approach with the recent Havana release, an approach that Cisco warmly embraces. It’s no longer about managing individual virtual machines, but rather about orchestration of collections of virtual machines that enable an application or a service.

“With OpenStack Networking, application developers can create isolated networks. They can create virtual routers and security groups and therefore they can properly express the topology for their applications,” Tucker said.

As an example of what can now be enabled in OpenStack, an application developer can specify that the web tier of the application is accessible via the Internet, while the database tier is only accessible to the application.

“At the top level we have application orchestration, and at the bottom we have network orchestration, and we’re using OpenStack to tie those two together,” Tucker said. “We feel that this is a better way to deploy applications.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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