Your OpenStack Cloud Is Only As Good As The Linux You Install It On - InformationWeek
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Jeff Jameson
Jeff Jameson
Partner Perspectives

Your OpenStack Cloud Is Only As Good As The Linux You Install It On

OpenStack services and drivers require a robust and integrated Linux operating system for top-performing functionality.

OpenStack is not (just) an operating system; it’s cloud infrastructure.

Open source developers and technologists from around the world collaborate on OpenStack to create infrastructure and tools for building and managing public and private clouds. According to the overview provided by the OpenStack Foundation, OpenStack is a “cloud operating system” that is designed to control and manage large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources.

In more practical terms, OpenStack is a framework of at least 10 independent core services that all function together as the foundation for cloud infrastructure. At its very basic level, OpenStack is a set of services provided via a group of Python-written scripts that work in conjunction with another. Like any script, service, or plugin, they require an operating system (OS) to run, function, and perform. In OpenStack’s case, the OS of choice is Linux.

Why the OS?

Reliance on the operating system creates obvious dependencies for function, integration (e.g. 3rd party drivers), security, long-term stability, performance, and access to hardware resources, such as storage, network, and processing power. In other words, your OpenStack cloud is only as good as the Linux you install it on. You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari that has an engine from a minivan – it’s the same principle here. OpenStack services and drivers require a robust and integrated Linux operating system for top-performing functionality. They require things like:

  • Virtualization: While OpenStack is hypervisor-agnostic, KVM is its most deployed hypervisor, offering the flexibility of deploying Linux or Windows environments equally. KVM is a component of the Linux kernel, making it an ideal choice of hypervisor.
  • Security: Providing data security features across the virtual machines and applications is a function of the underlying Linux and hypervisor, not OpenStack.
  • Network: Software-defined-networking improves performance and optimization which brings significantly increased value to customers requiring network-intensive workloads, such as virtualized network functions. These network drivers and plugins working with OpenStack rely on the operating system for function and support.
  • Storage: A successful scale-out cloud deployment requires a reliable scale-out software-defined-storage system to match the flexibility, architectural, and component services demands for ephemeral and persistent storage. Ceph is consistently the overwhelmingly preferred block and object storage solution for OpenStack.
  • Integration: As organizations embark on their own digital transformation journey, it’s critical that their OpenStack cloud participate in and ultimate join with modern cloud solutions, such as containers, automation, and management.
  • Ecosystem – certification of hardware, software, and services: As businesses embark on their cloud journey, the classic “fork lift” replacement of existing infrastructure investments is simply not acceptable. Integration with a supported and certified ecosystem of existing and future infrastructure and technology components has become critical. This may include services partners, as well as hardware, storage, networking, monitoring, and even management tools.

How Red Hat Can Help!

With over 15 years of open source software leadership and experience, Red Hat has assembled an industry-leading portfolio of cloud infrastructure that supports the digital transformation journey pursued by modern businesses. As top contributors to the Linux Kernel, OpenStack, KVM, Ceph Storage, and emerging technologies like containers and Kubernetes, Red Hat is uniquely positioned to help organizations meet the demands of a growing business, at their own pace.

Red Hat offers a broad ecosystem of certified partners and providers of hardware, software, plug-ins, drivers, and other components that contribute to creating an ideal Linux environment on which to run OpenStack. Not only has Red Hat managed the painstaking process of identifying, certifying, and integrating support for the entire ecosystem on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but it also provides customers “one-hand-to-shake” when requiring support for your entire environment.

And, with more businesses trusting Red Hat Enterprise Linux as their #1 choice within their datacenter, this makes an ideal platform to build an OpenStack-based cloud. Red Hat pioneered the co-engineering of Linux and OpenStack together, offers OpenStack expert professional consulting and services, and contributes upstream to help further the advancement of open source solutions, while bringing community projects to hardened products to help your business achieve success.

Jeff Jameson manages product marketing and strategy for Red Hat's OpenStack and virtualization solutions products, offering over 15 years of experience in the high-tech software and cloud computing industry. Jeff concentrates on increasing awareness and furthering adoption of ... View Full Bio
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