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OpenStack: It’s the new “it” in IT

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Is OpenStack the new cloud Linux (open source cloud OS)? At the last OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, the IT community was in a heated debate, fraught with tension and high drama. Numerous declarations about the technical capabilities and problems being solved using OpenStack were argued endlessly. But one thing is clear – OpenStack continues to gain momentum in the market with more developers and deployments.

The technology has become an alternative cloud OS to enable the same services offered by the leading Amazon Web Services. OpenStack has evolved rapidly and now has the support of large, established technology and service companies such as IBM, Red Hat and HP. This is adding significant wind to OpenStack’s sails and accelerating the legitimacy of the large open source cloud infrastructure project. It is also a key sign that this emerging technology is on the cusp of widespread adoption.

Why has OpenStack become so popular? Pundits point out that OpenStack’s growth is driven by the open source community of developers, which continue to advance its capabilities. Practically speaking, these people work for companies, and yet develop code that is given away for free. The reason companies allow their employees to spend time and resources on OpenStack is because there is a business problem that it solves. No enterprise technology gains widespread adoption without strong business drivers, and OpenStack is no different. From AMD’s perspective, the top three business drivers for deployment are:

  1. Cost savings
  2. Operational efficiency
  3. Flexibility, openness and choice

The Internet has created a sea change in how computing, storage and networking come together to deliver a compelling service. Initially created for consumer applications, Internet-scale technologies are changing the way data center infrastructure is being engineered, deployed and managed.

This table below shows the differences between traditional enterprise applications and the new world of Internet-scale applications.

Traditional Enterprise Applications

Internet Scale Applications

Scale-up expansion

Scale-out architecture

High availability through redundancy

Designed for failure

Applications-specific hardware

Off-the-shelf hardware

A tremendous amount of innovation has occurred in all aspects of the data center to address the changing needs of compute, storage and networking. However, there has traditionally been a lack of innovation in servers – the workhorse of the modern day data center. New servers were essentially the same server brought to market in a different packages with a new processor, but the fundamentals remained the same. Hence, data centers have all been architected the same way. However, in 2010, AMD’s SeaMicro technology was launched and it has become one of the most significant innovations for data center servers in recent history. Its innovative design fundamentally increases computing, storage and networking capabilities in a data center, resulting in better application performance and reduced operating costs.

AMD’s groundbreaking SeaMicro technology is specifically designed to address the next-generation of data center computing. The SM15000™ microserver, with its patented Freedom™ Fabric technology, provides OpenStack and other applications the compute, storage and networking flexibility necessary in an integrated package of 64 servers and 1.28 Tbps of throughput in 10 rack units. This technology enables data centers to be optimized for compute (Nova), storage (Swift) or networking (Quantum). Whether it is bare metal (Ironic, a.k.a. OpenStack on OpenStack or OOO) or virtualization, the SeaMicro SM15000 provides scale-out capabilities using off-the-shelf components, and is capable of reducing an operation’s expense by up to 50 percent.

OpenStack’s future is far from certain, but what is assured is the growth of the Internet and continuous innovation for both consumer and enterprise services. The key determinant of OpenStack’s success will be whether the OpenStack community can coalesce and create a foundational set of applications so that companies do not need to create departments for OpenStack’s deployment and management. The current version, Havana, is a big step forward, and the goal posts are visible on the horizon. Deploying OpenStack on AMD’s SeaMicro SM15000 will accelerate a company’s efforts to reduce licensing costs and realize the benefits of an open source solution. The unique fabric-based design, dense form factor and leading energy efficiency makes the SM15000 one of the industry’s best choices for a successful OpenStack deployment.

Young-Sae Song is Corporate Vice President of Product Marketing at Data Center Server Solutions for AMD. In this role, he leads the outbound marketing, branding, and demand generation functions for AMD’s push into next generation fabric based computing systems.

*Originally Posted by chorig in AMD Business on Feb 11, 2014 2:20:10 PM