What is Openstack and What Does it Do?
OpenStack (www.openstack.org) is a foundation that manages an open source cloud computing platform. It was founded in 2010 out of a project that was started by NASA and RackSpace to build their cloud infrastructure. Their mission is “To produce the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private cloud providers regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.” OpenStack focuses on the core infrastructure for compute, storage, images and networking. There is a large ecosystem of vendors providing tools do the things that OpenStack does not do.
OpenStacks consists of modules to configure cloud computing resources. The components are the Nova Compute Service, Swift Storage Service, Glance Image Service and Quantum Network Service. They automate the functions that are required to set up these services. OpenStack lets organizations quickly provision and reprovision compute resources. Even with virtualization it can take days to fully set up a virtual server, networking and storage. Organizations want this to happen in minutes whether they are offering a commercial service or an internal IT service.
Quantum is the networking services part of OpenStack. This is where Juniper is most focused. It is used to configure physical and virtual network resources. Quantum took a significant step forward in the recent Folsom release with the introduction of L3 abstractions. Load Balancing has emerged as a choice for an L4-7 service, and could prove as a template for other services. Support for IPv6, DHCP, DNS capabilities, VPN access to instances, migration of security group features from the older Nova module, and introduction of tenant firewalling capabilities are under consideration.
Why Does OpenStack Matter and is it Ready?
OpenStack is seen as an alternative to commercial cloud stacks such as those from VMware and Microsoft as it is community driven. Organizations are seeking more control over the design of the systems, support for more hypervisors and an open source pricing model. OpenStack is being deployed by a variety of organizations including service providers, eCommerce sites, Over the Top services and large Enterprise IT organizations. They currently have over 6000 individual members, up from about 2500 a year ago, and over 180 corporate members. Some participating members are Arista, AT&T, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, NEC, Netapp, RackSpace, VMware, Yahoo and of course Juniper Networks.
People were realistic about deploying OpenStack. You aren’t going to just download it and just make it work, one presenter acknowledged. It takes work to get it going. You still need in house developers who can make changes or you might need a contractor to deploy it. However many companies are implementing OpenStack and during the case study sessions presenters said that despite the challenges they are glad that they did it and that they plan to continue adding functionality. There is a large ecosystem around implementation and there are many tools to provide services that complement OpenStack. See, OpenStack/Companies.
There are some doubters. James Staten of Forrester wrote an article called “The Clock is Ticking” which got a lot of commentary in the press and was addressed in an analysts session. See, OpenStack 'clock is ticking,' Forrester analyst warns. People were pretty much brushing off these concerns. This was understandable given that the event was packed beyond capacity and most every company was saying that they had business and were hiring.
OpenStack and Network Virtualization
There was a lot of interest in network virtualization at OpenStack. Nicira (www.nicira.com) is a contributing member and they run their network using OpenStack. Another network virtualization vendor Midokura (www.midokura.com) was there and they are doing something similar to Nicira. These virtual networks connect Virtual Machines to Virtual Machines over the underlying physical network. Midokura’s model provides network controllers, a virtual switch and a virtual router. Their network operates entirely at Layer 3. They can provide network isolation independent of the physical devices and virtual machine mobility without doing L2 stretch as their system reassigns IP addresses and MAC addresses upon a VM move.
VMware has a connection with OpenStack due to the Nicira acquisition as they have been contributors and are well respected. VMware had a packed session with CTO Steve Herrod presenting. There has been a lot of commentary about their involvement but for the most part they seem to be welcome by the community as people want choices. For details see, VMware extends support for ESX hypervisor in OpenStack, and Did OpenStack Let VMware into the Henhouse?
The OpenStack Opportunity
Boris Renski of Mirantis, (www.mirantis.com) gave a presentation on the opportunity with OpenStack. See it here, Make Money on OpenStack. He confirmed that Cloud is big and growing and that the big players want it to be open. He said that Openstack is out doing Cloudstack and Eucalyptus by about 5:1. Openstack was funded with $6 million, comparable to Linux at $9.6 million and many people consider OpenStack to be comparable to Linux in its adoption rate and game changing role. There are about 180 organizations and 3000+ developers contributing to OpenStack he said. How big is the market? In a top down estimate he says the total market for cloud infrastructure software is $2.7B. If we include hardware and services it is $15B and growing at 30%. So OpenStack is disrupting a $15B industry in his estimation.
Troy Toman of RackSpace did a keynote where he discussed the growth of the organization from a small room of people in 2010 to over 1300 in San Diego. He also showed the amazing growth in the number of contributors as well as the number of code commits and the way the foundation is organized. Troy asked people to raise their hands if their company was hiring and about one half of the people in a room of nearly 1000 people raised their hands. People were quoting over 900 jobs listings from OpenStack companies. For Troy’s presentation see, RackSpace Keynote.
Juniper’s Participation in OpenStack
Juniper is participating in OpenStack. We are integrating our networking equipment with the Quantum networking module so that it is easy for our customers to deploy with OpenStack. We also support the move to higher level (L4-L7) network services and are participating in the effort to define what those should be. One of our engineers Sasha Ratkovik led a discussion session on L4-L7 services at the summit that was packed. See Samir Sharma’s blog for more information,
More from the OpenStack Summit
Here are some links to recaps about the summit that you might find interesting.
OpenStack Summit Day Recap from OpenStack, and OpenStack Summit Recap from RackSpace.