Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, November 29, 2022

OpenStack Strives For Interoperability 

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Based on the assumption that cloud adopters will use multiple platforms from multiple vendors, a growing number of OpenStack vendors have been targeting interoperability across different clouds to boost flexibility as well as cloud security.

Hence, the meshing of different OpenStack distributions was a key topic for cloud vendors during an industry summit this week in Barcelona, Spain. No less than 18 cloud vendors demonstrated the ability to run OpenStack deployments across on-premise, public and hybrid clouds. One of them, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), also rolled out the latest version of its Helion OpenStack distribution that stresses networking virtualization along with multivendor interoperability.

Among the deployment issues swirling around OpenStack since its introduction in 2010 was the ability to shift workloads among different cloud providers. "Some doubted whether the vendors supporting OpenStack would work together to achieve interoperability," Don Rippert, general manager of IBM Cloud, told the OpenStack summit.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) initiated the effort to demonstrate interoperability among different OpenStack distributions. Along with IBM and HPE, others participating in the effort included Canonical, Cisco Systems, Mirantis, Rackspace, Red Hat and VMware (NYSE: VMW). The companies said this was the first OpenStack interoperability initiative focused specifically on "workload portability."

"On-premises and public OpenStack-based clouds need to expose interfaces that enable consistent application deployments," noted Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of cloud computing at Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO).

The companies said they deployed and executed enterprise workloads using automated deployment tools, "demonstrating the capabilities of OpenStack as a cloud infrastructure that supports enterprise applications," IBM added. The growing emphasis on automation reflects complaints about OpenStack's complexity, prompting early proponents such as Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) to offer managed private cloud services.

HPE's Helion OpenStack was among the distributions demonstrating interoperability. The company also used the OpenStack summit to roll out version 4.0 of its OpenStack cloud infrastructure with an emphasis on cloud networking and network functions virtualization (NFV) that targets telecom providers. (Several telecom providers, including AT&T (NYSE: T), Deutsche Telekom and China's Huawei (SHE: 002502) also participated in the OpenStack interoperability demonstration.)

Echoing other vendors who acknowledge OpenStack's complexity, HPE said its latest version based on the OpenStack Mitaka release includes tools for updating existing applications and building new ones—an approach the company refers to as "more dev, less ops."

The company also released the 4.0 version of its Stackato cloud application platform that allows developers to run application containers on a Cloud Foundry service.

Meanwhile, the Helion release targets telecom providers who are gradually shifting network operations to the cloud via NFV deployments. "NFV has proven to be a killer use case for OpenStack," asserted Sarwar Raza, HPE's vice president for NFV.

HPE also is betting that more telecom carriers will opt for OpenStack deployments as they shift to the cloud. The participation of several carriers in the OpenStack interoperability demonstration is a sign they are poised to shift more workloads to the cloud. Noted Deutsche Telecom's (ETR: DTE) cloud director Thomas Aschenbrenner: "We also need to prove the abilities to move cloud workloads."

HPE said its Helion OpenStack 4.0 and Stackato application platforms are available now.

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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