VMware’s growing interest on OpenStack is clearly visible day by day. And it got a solid stamp when VMware’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger said on his keynote speech in VMworld 2013 in San Francisco “If you want to run OpenStack, vSphere is the best platform!” Off late VMware has been doing quite a bit of work on OpenStack development, right from having a dedicated OpenStack Team to releasing drivers for different OpenStack services like Nova, Cinder etc. And around the same line VMware partnered with Canonical (The UK based company behind the success of Ubuntu Linux) to provide a comprehensive services on OpenStack. Ubuntu is the most preferred choice for deploying OpenStack as the underlying Operating System. Similarly VMware vSphere has been the market leading Hypervisor but VMware didn’t have a great luck at expanding it’s business on the service provider segment. With all the service providers and Telcos now embracing the cloud business model, it makes lot of sense for them to adopt the open and extensible cloud computing approach. and there OpenStack wins over VMware vCloud. Also without having to embrace OpenStack, VMware has risk of losing it’s existing customer base slowly moving to other alternate hypervisors and cloud platforms. And with OpenStack having the flexibility of using any of the leading hypervisors like ESXi, Hyper-V, Xen or KVM, service providers may opt the Amazon Web Services model (AWS is built on custom version of Open Source Xen Hypervisor). Also in my opinion, it will give the enterprise segment a smooth transition from VMware vSphere based Virtualized Data Centers to OpenStack based vendor-neutral (well, almost!) cloud deployment.
Let’s now look at some of the key strategies and technologies behind this partnership. And to me, this partnership doesn’t necessarily mean that this works only for Canonical based OpenStack deployment. It’s valid for any OpenStack provider like HP (HP CloudOS is based on OpenStack: http://www.hpcloud.com/why-hp-cloud) or IBM or Red Hat.
As you can see from the diagram here, all the Red Blocks are the standard OpenStack components like Nova, Cinder, Swift etc. whereas all the Purple Blocks are of Canonical’s value-addition on top of standard OpenStack framework. These are Maas, Juju & Landscape for Ubuntu Management and Orchestration services. And the Blue Blocks are of different VMware products or technologies like vSphere (Hypervisor & it’s management server), NSX (marketing leading SDN solution, acquired through Nicira), vCenter Datastores (these could be either third party storage and/or VMware’s newly introduced vSAN), vSOM (vCenter Operations Management like vCOPS, Log Insight etc.) and vCAC (vCloud Automation Center, acquired through DynamicOps)
(in case you are not familiar with different OpenStack services, I encourage you to revisit my previous blog post on the same line titled as “OpenStack Havana Components Simplified”)
Now in this diagram as you can see, VMware has released individual drivers for the major services of OpenStack. Through vSphere Driver, Nova Compute can talk to vCenter Server. And the same way, through vSphere Datastore driver Glance and Cinder can talk to vCenter Server. And for Neutron Networking services, VMware (actually by Nicira) has a NSX driver to talk to the NSX SDN Controller. And these in turn talk to the vSphere ecosystem or what VMware loves to call as SDDC (Software Defined Data Center).
Now in the above diagram, it is depicted how the entire solution architecture diagram may look like. Let’s list down the different possible steps/actions…
1. Ubuntu (Canonical) provides a set of value-added services for simplified management and Orchestration in the form of Juju, MAAS and Landscape. These services help you to deploy OpenStack in much faster, automated and effective way.
2. There are two blocks on the whole diagram, one (Left Column) is for Management Cluster and another one (Right Column) is for Guest or Tenant Cluster.
3. Different OpenStack services like Nova, Cinder etc. may be deployed on either on Physical Servers or on Virtual Machines on a separate vSphere Cluster.
4. You can have a separate vSphere Compute Cluster which will talk to the OpenStack services through Nova Driver (built by VMware) and this cluster will host the different guest OS.
5. At the same time in a mixed environment, you may have another Hypervisor like alternate KVM which can also host some part of the compute workload.
VMware recommends that you should ideally go for IceHouse release of OpenStack, or at least Havana release along-with VMware vSphere latest version 5.5
As I said earlier by taking this approach VMware has adopted a very smart move. This also shows that they want to make it flexible enough to be well-integrated with non-proprietary popular cloud computing framework like OpenStack. This is also beneficial for it’s partner ecosystem, since with the VMware released drivers for OpenStack services, it can be almost safely said that whatever can be integrated with SDDC, that can work with OpenStack now. Well, how mature these drivers and services are going to be and how the industry embraces this relationship only time will tell. But, yes it definitely can open a whole new world of possibilities in Cloud specially for enterprise customers.
(This article was first published at Amitabh’s Personal Blog: www.Amitabh-vWorld.Com)