OpenStack as a Virtual Machine Storage Platform

Recently we sat down with Wim Provost, Product Manager for Open vStorage, for a podcast to discuss their new solutions that better enable OpenStack to run virtual machines.

OpenStack is a set of open source software tools, typically used by public and private cloud providers for building and managing their IT architectures. These architectures are designed to control large pools of compute, storage and networking through a single dashboard or API set.

As OpenStack is deployed, organizations begin to look at the infrastructure as a means to host virtual machines and their associated storage. The problem is that OpenStack provides an object storage backend, where most virtualized environments require a block based or at least a file based storage backend.

Solutions like Open vStorage are addressing these problems. Open vStorage is a software based storage router that acts as middleware between the storage backend and the virtual machines. It can use flash resources inside the host for high performance responses to storage I/O without having to traverse the storage network. When data is no longer needed in flash it is stored on a less expensive storage backend. This backend can be almost any storage system; SAN, NAS, Object Storage, File System or even Seagate’s new Kinetic Ethernet Drives.

The OpenStack Payoff

Why the need for a product like Open vStorage for OpenStack? First, OpenStack allows for mixed hypervisors which is quickly becoming the new reality in the data center. Second, OpenStack offers many of the same technical capabilities as other solutions, for example live VM migration, but it does so at a fraction of the cost thanks to its OpenSource roots. Finally OpenStack has a multitude of vendors in its ecosystem. The chances of getting locked into any one vendor is very small.

StorageSwiss Take

OpenStack is on the rise, an increasing number of cloud providers are adopting the architecture and it is making its way into the enterprise. These organizations are attracted to the flexibility and control that OpenStack provides. But now these organizations are looking to put other workloads on OpenStack, and solutions like Open vStorage are the vehicle to get there.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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