EMC Continues Open Source Momentum with New RackHD Hardware M&O Layer

IT infrastructure architectures are evolving quickly, fueled by the rapid innovation of the specific hardware and software that provide infrastructure services. We are realizing the first generation of Software-Defined infrastructure services is still overly dependent on the underlying hardware, rendering it exceedingly difficult to fully automate and quickly leverage new functionality. We believe a new layer of abstraction between the hardware and infrastructure software is needed, which is why EMC has kicked off a new open source community project called RackHD™.

This new layer of abstraction between the IT infrastructure hardware and software will enable both to evolve independently. In 2016 it is expected that hardware innovations will create new density and performance capabilities. Software innovation will increase the flexibility of services, and become even more automated. This will enable a whole new set of IT infrastructure services.

Today we announced the RackHD project to provide this new layer of abstraction. RackHD allows configuration of heterogeneous hardware infrastructure as a fungible pool of resources that infrastructure software (storage, network, compute) will consume to provide services to multiple operating environments. RackHD is derived from the hardware M&O innovation initially developed and launched in the VCE VxRack product. We decided to open source this, as we believe this will accelerate the development of RackHD. Operating under the Apache 2.0 license, vendors can easily extend the functionality of RackHD and include support for their infrastructure products.

This abstraction capability is incredibly important to next-generation data center architectures. Application workloads and the corresponding IT infrastructure requirements are becoming more diverse. The abstraction layer enabled by RackHD will allow pools of hardware resources to be able to support the growing diversity of traditional and next-generation application workloads. IT infrastructure software will be able to provide composable services for all types of workloads.

The release of RackHD as an open source project is an important milestone for the industry. Next-generation data designs leveraging pools of industry-standard hardware presented as pools of compute, network, and storage capacity to next-generation infrastructure service software is dependent on an open abstraction layer that is supported by all industry vendors. This is why EMC made the decision to move our work into the open source community. We are committing development resources to extend the RackHD functionality. The EMC RackHD development team will work directly in the open, continuously committing code directly to the RackHD public GitHub repository. Our invitation is open for anyone to engage with the project through our developer advocate team EMC {code} and help the industry accelerate the introduction of next generation data center architectures.

About the Author: John Roese