Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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SUSE Hooks Ceph, VMware To Cloud 4 OpenStack 

The latest version of SUSE Cloud, the variant of the OpenStack cloud controller developed by commercial Linux distributor SUSE Linux, adds support for the Ceph distributed storage system along with VMware capabilities.

In rolling out SUSE Cloud 4, the Linux distributor said new automation features are intended to smooth the adoption of OpenStack in enterprise datacenters. Cloud 4 is based on "Icehouse," the latest OpenStack release unveiled in April.

The latest version of SUSE Cloud is said to help reduce costs by deploying software-defined storage based on the Ceph distributed storage system. Ceph is used to provision block storage in virtual machines for faster retrieval and processing. SUSE Cloud 4 includes an installation framework that automates configuration and deployment of Ceph clusters, the company said.

SUSE Cloud 4 is also touted as tightening integration between OpenStack and existing VMware vSphere environments. New SUSE Cloud 4 features include VMware capabilities for image management along with support for VMware's Virtual Storage Area Network (vSAN). Previous SUSE Cloud versions added support for the VMware vSphere compute node, network virtualization, and its block storage driver.

The updated SUSE OpenStack setup also automates and standardizes database, load balancing and other services as a way to speed workload deployment.

The bottom line, according to the company, is that SUSE Cloud 4 is the first enterprise distribution capable of automated high availability and deployment of OpenStack cloud services. Michael Miller, SUSE vice president of global alliances, added in a statement that SUSE Cloud 4 is intended to ease implementation of a highly available private cloud infrastructure with a mix of hypervisors, including Red Hat KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware's vSphere and Citrix Systems Xen.

Industry analysts note that software-defined storage is becoming a key component of IaaS clouds. Hence, integrating Ceph with SUSE Cloud is seen as a way for enterprises to scale storage as part of an OpenStack-based cloud infrastructure.

SUSE has been churning out new cloud controller releases in concert with OpenStack's roughly six-month development release cycle. Hence, SUSE Cloud 4 follows the release of Icehouse, which is viewed as more stable and therefore better suited for use in enterprise datacenters.

SUSE quoted Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, as highlighting wider adoption of OpenStack by enterprises. Said Bryce: "We've heard from enterprise users that high availability, integration with their preferred tools and platforms, and access to the latest upstream innovation is important." Ceph intergration and high availability tools are one way to get there, he added.

While SUSE Linux runs on X86, Power, and IBM mainframe systems, SUSE Cloud 4 currently runs only on X86 machines.

The company said SUSE Cloud 4 pricing starts at $20,000 a year. A SUSE Cloud installation includes a control node and cloud administration server priced at $10,000. A storage node is priced at $5,000 per 36 terabytes. More pricing information is available here.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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