EMC World 2015 – OpenStack For Traditional Data Centers

One of the questions that we are getting more often than ever from IT professionals is “does it make sense for my organization to start to consider OpenStack?”. OpenStack is an open source effort that attempts to offer an Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure so other service providers can compete with Amazon. Now, traditional data centers also want to benefit from the potential automation that OpenStack delivers to these providers. The problem is that implementing, operating and expanding an OpenStack infrastructure can be a very complex and time-consuming processes.

Project Caspian – Make OpenStack Available To Mere Mortals

One of the tag lines I hear about OpenStack is that it is ideal for organizations that have more time than they do money. While enterprises have scarce IT budget dollars, IT time is even more scarce. As a result, OpenStack is often quickly disqualified. Project Caspian promises to change that line of thinking by addressing the two key OpenStack stumbling blocks, complexity of configuration and the underlying storage infrastructure.

Addressing the Hyper-Converged Stumbling Blocks

When Caspian becomes available the solution promises to deliver a turnkey, hyper-converged infrastructure like VxRack but built on OpenStack. This will allow for more rapid implementation, and from what I saw the Caspian GUI should simplify operation and upgrades significantly. During the keynote EMC demonstrated, brining online a new workload and then scaling that workload across more servers in a matter of minutes.

The second stumbling block, storage,  is addressed via the integration of ScaleIO and EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) technologies into the hyper-converged stack. Doing so brings a professional grade block and object storage foundation. The combination allows Caspian to address both high performance needs and high capacity needs. The solution will automatically adapt nodes to the workload by adjusting RAM, SSD and HDD utilization based on what EMC calls workload personalities.

StorageSwiss Take

For most enterprises, time to deploy is the biggest concern that Caspian addresses. The ability to use a turnkey private cloud solution based on OpenStack should broaden the appeal of the infrastructure. While there are other storage solutions like CEPH and SwiftStack that can also strengthen OpenStack’s storage foundation, ScaleIO and ECS can certainly hold their own against these. In the end the winner should be the customer who will be able to realize value from their OpenStack investment faster than doing it on their own.

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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