The Havana release of OpenStack was launched on October 17, about three weeks prior to the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong. As always, there are many new features -high availability, load balancing, easier upgrades, plugins for development tools, improved SDN support, fiber channel SAN support, improved bare metal capabilities- and even two new core components, Ceilometer -metering and monitoring- and Heat -orchestration of the creation of entire application environments- to admire. Without any doubt, OpenStack is becoming more enterprise ready with each new release .
When it comes to cloud technologies, discussions often get passionate or even heated. It’s all about the “war of the stacks”, where much Cool Aid is dispensed to get customers to buy into the respective cult. This discussion reminds me of the old days of enterprise IT, where everything was about technology instead of business value. You either bought one thing or the other and then you were locked in for a half decade. Dark times.
It’s always like that in enterprise IT. There’s this incredible new technology that lets you do things you could never even fathom possible. But then, once the honeymoon is over, the old problems come back to bite you with a vengeance.
OpenStack’s huge momentum is undeniable. IBM, RedHat, NetApp, Rackspace, HP, Dell, Cisco, Intel and even VMware have committed significant funds and human resources to this project. But why would companies, that are otherwise competing rather fiercely, sit on one table to build an OpenSource cloud platform?
The ultimate goal of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDD), a term coined only a few months ago by VMware’s Steve Herrod, is to centrally control all aspects of the data center – compute, networking, storage – through hardware-independent management and virtualization software. This software will also provide the advanced features that currently constitute the main differentiators for most hardware vendors. The following quote by Steve Herrord succinctly sums up the bad news that VMware is delivering to many of these vendors: “If you’re a company building very specialized hardware … you’re probably not going to love this message.”
When I picked “The Journey to the Cloud” as the working title for one of my fall research projects, I triggered some immediate reactions from colleagues and customers, whose opinions I value. And while I typically do not place too much importance on selecting a working title and also did not intend to just warm up an earlier research piece on that same topic, these reactions prompted me to take a minute to think about how we can best target our research for maximum customer benefit. As EMA is conducting this research for our customers – vendors and end users – why not talk to exactly these people to find out which specific issues they want to learn more about? And so we did…
Cloud is still a rapidly evolving discipline, with currently many organizations thinking about how to get started or how to take their limited cloud environment to the next level. These organizations are faced with two general challenges. They have to a) get their own house - data center – in order and b) identify a shortlist of vendors that best fit their individual requirements.
I was sitting in a plane recently, pulling out my iPad to enjoy one of my colleague's excellent publications. After clicking the Dropbox icon, I noticed that I forgot to bookmark the actual document, so it did not replicate to the iPad. This rather annoying experience made me think about how far we have come regarding replicated and shared storage. It made me also think about where we may go from here.
Every March, IBM invites customers and analysts to its annual Pulse user conference. This year, Pulse was all about the more efficient delivery of IT services, a concept that is usually referred to as "cloud". Since cloud has developed into a term that, due to its overuse, is often frowned upon, to say the least, it was great to see IBM try hard to demystify this elusive concept, backing it up with numerous case studies and customer testimonials. The fact that many of these case studies were not as polished as you so often see during this type of show, made the experience actually better. It became clear that these were real customers, implementing "cloud" to solve very specific corporate problems and while doing this, running into very specific IT problems. This is something that just happens when breaking new ground and it speaks for IBM's self confidence to not present only squeaky clean projects at its show.