Cloudscaling Allies with Juniper On SDN

Juniper approach to SDN based on a central controller, acquired with Contrail acquisition last December.
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Cloudscaling has released its 2.5 version of its Open Cloud System, giving enterprise implementers of the private cloud an opportunity to test its network virtualization concepts, first announced last April.

With Release 2.5, Cloudscaling has joined the competition between VMware and Cisco Systems to supply virtualized networking to the future software-defined data center and private-enterprise cloud. Cloudscaling is inside the OpenStack cloud software camp, but its alliance with Juniper Networks on software-defined networking puts it ahead of other participants on the SDN front.

Asked if that meant Cloudscaling was forking the OpenStack networking component, dubbed Neutron (formerly Quantum), CTO Randy Bias said no, Cloudscaling's approach capitalized on Juniper Networks' ability to plug SDN into the Neutron platform, using OpenStack APIs.

"Neutron is an API interface to networking as a service... We don't ever change that, if we don't have to," said Bias in an interview. The Neutron approach to virtual networking is to provide a platform with standard APIs into which different companies may plug their products. The platform provides a software framework, sitting atop network hardware, that allows a network application to configure and reconfigure network devices as needed.

[ Want more on private clouds? See Why IT Is Struggling To Build Private Clouds. ]

The Juniper approach is to provide a master controller that knows what devices are on the network and is capable of sending them new instructions. It derived its JunosV Contrail Controller through its acquisition of Contrail Systems last December. Juniper purchased Contrail for $176 million shortly after the startup came out of stealth mode as a software-defined networking vendor. That purchase followed by five months VMware's acquisition of Nicira, one of the primary SDN brain trusts, for $1.26 billion.

Bias said Cloudscaling likes the Juniper approach to virtual networking because it's based on "well known, standard protocols," such as MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). It can overlay and make use of existing network equipment. The alternative is to accept new protocols, such as OpenFlow, which remains "unproven and incomplete. Early implementers have been forced to extend it in proprietary ways," Bias said.

Bias acknowledged that Cloudscaling has adopted "a little bit more prescriptive approach" than some Open Stack vendors, who leave it to customers to combine the open-source code with the plug-ins that they want.

Cloudscaling also certifies servers and other hardware from Dell and Cisco to work with its Open Cloud System, rather than letting customers choose whatever servers they want. It is trying to offer the greatest assurance possible that Open Cloud System will work as advertised, once customers put the recommended pieces together, Bias said.

Open Cloud System is based on the Grizzly release of OpenStack. It includes support for volumes of snapshots in OCS's object storage, which allows the aggregation of low-cost backups for OCS' Block Storage volumes. A backup of a virtual machine instance can be booted from the persistent Block Storage volume.

OCS is also distinguished by its support of both OpenStack and Amazon Web Services APIs. Implementors theoretically may conduct hybrid operations with either an OpenStack public cloud provider or with Amazon.

Bias termed the 2.5 release "the most advanced product" in the OpenStack space, and the only one designed to work with Amazon Web Services.

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