OpenStack And Storage -- Flowing Downstream With Openness - InformationWeek

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6/20/2016
10:32 AM
Daniel Gilfix
Daniel Gilfix
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OpenStack And Storage -- Flowing Downstream With Openness

Building your IT future with OpenStack and software-defined storage opens you to a new world of innovation and locks you in and out of nothing.

Locked. It’s just not a good feeling.

Nobody likes being locked out. Locked out of their home, locked out of their car, locked out of their corporate network. It feels helpless.

Nobody likes being locked in either. Locked into a contract, locked into a relationship, locked in by a proprietary network operating system or a particular platform. Can’t take advantage of great new developments from other platform companies. It feels helpless.

Open For Business

This is why more and more IT professionals are adopting an open source environment, including OpenStack. You’re seldom locked out and never locked in.

OpenStack was created to respond to the needs of the emerging cloud-computing environment. Armed with a new level of flexibility, OpenStack users find efficiency in migrating workloads to their own clouds and driving the best possible performance from them.

One of the greatest needs of OpenStack users is increasingly responsive and flexible storage designed specifically for the cloud. With upstream support from companies such as Red Hat, these solutions are driven to support block, file, object, and other emerging data structures. They must respond to the scalability requirements of an exploding world of “big data” and be flexible enough to support the intricacies of an ever more interactive Internet of Things. And in the spirit of OpenStack, they must also be open.

OpenStack projects with open, software-defined storage enjoy participation from most every corner of the IT world. Software developers, platform providers, hardware manufacturers, and academia are all happily contributing to the development of open standards, open source, and the OpenStack movement.

OpenStack’s popularity can also be directly attributed to the advance of the Internet of Things. As we move from 4.3 billion addressable devices in IPv4 addressing to 32 undecillion in IPv6, the requirement that everything be fully interoperable becomes not only critical, it becomes essential. With operating and interconnectivity standards developed by the OpenStack community, the ability to become fully interoperable is all but guaranteed.

Ready For The Mainstream

IT professionals prefer solutions based on OpenStack because they’re derived from the open source community with the goal of being and remaining open and interoperable.

Yet much of corporate America still feels uneasy making their biggest bets on community-developed software and standards. The unfortunate concept of needing “one throat to choke” remains a grim reality of corporate life. In short, when something sold by a manufacturer fails, a corporation has the option to sue the manufacturer. When the platform software was developed by the entire village, who is there to sue?

Even more critical is the concept of a product lifecycle and the availability of constant support. Since nobody owns a community, there is nobody to offer such assurances. For a corporation deploying an OpenStack solution, all the developers and contributors upstream in the open world are wonderful -- and the value of the technology they provide is undeniable -- but there is still nowhere to turn for the kind of regularity and certainty that corporations have traditionally relied upon in mainstream production.

These corporate users increasingly turn downstream to Red Hat, an organization committed to the open source community and to delivering hardened open source solutions in a way that corporations can deploy in their enterprise. As a primary participant in OpenStack and Ceph projects, for example, Red Hat distinguishes itself technically in the development and growth of enterprise open source solutions. Red Hat has also established itself as a reliable partner for the growing ecosystem of OpenStack solutions in which open software-defined storage plays a critical role. None of this would really work, however, without the availability of enterprise solution “features” available downstream in all of these solutions.

Building your IT future with OpenStack and software-defined storage from the open source community opens you to a new world of innovation and locks you in and out of nothing. Relying on someone like Red Hat as your partner for delivery, service, support, and solution ecosystem can bridge that world to one in which you might sleep better at night. 

Daniel Gilfix is part of the emerging storage business unit at Red Hat, responsible for Red Hat Ceph Storage marketing. His career has spanned over two decades, heavily focused on leading-edge technologies and integrated software solutions aimed at the enterprise. He was most ... View Full Bio
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