EMC Customers Can Choose Any Cloud

Our leaders have time and time again emphasized a core aspect of the EMC Federation strategy and functioning model: “(we) offer best-of-breed, integrated, technology while preserving customers’ ability to choose…” In this blog, I reflect upon how this strategy applies to allowing customers the ability to choose Open Source Cloud OS – OpenStack.

Our customers are free to choose any Open Source Cloud OS

OpenStack is making rapid strides in both private and public cloud markets. The earlier skepticism on hype is waning as we see the momentum translate to tangible deployments. Let’s go over some numbers if you need convincing. A recent OpenStack user survey showed 512 total deployments; 209 of these being production deployments. This momentum seems even more impactful within the EMC customer base. A recent EMC pre-sales/field survey has revealed that 50% of customers are running OpenStack today; 53% of those are in production. So it is not surprising that EMC’s strategy of ‘providing of our customers with choice’ resulted in OpenStack being a viable option across our federated family. Let me explain this in more detail.

Pivotal Customers Can Choose OpenStack

Pivotal offers a comprehensive set of application and data services that run on top of PaaS (platform-as-a-service) called Cloud Foundry®. Cloud Foundry is an open source platform that can run on any cloud infrastructure like VMware, OpenStack, or Amazon Web Services. Even though the Pivotal distribution of Cloud Foundry runs on VMware vSphere, there are many prominent members of the Cloud Foundry community who offer Cloud Foundry PaaS on OpenStack. Piston Cloud, which had originally contributed Cloud Foundry interface for OpenStack, now offers PaaS on Piston Cloud, which is based on OpenStack. IBM, with BlueMix PaaS cloud, and HP, with Cloud Application PaaS, have recently announced Cloud Foundry running on OpenStack infrastructure. Not only is it being offered by many prominent vendors, you can also choose to run Pivotal applications and big data services on any of these multi-cloud platforms. Watch out for the inevitable open source progression: OpenStack to Cloud Foundry!

VMware Customers Can Choose OpenStack

Many are perplexed by the complex relationship between VMware and OpenStack. I think the relationship is largely complementary; OpenStack is an open and flexible framework to pull all the cloud IaaS components together, whereas VMware provides the best-of-breed cloud components. As we see a rising number of OpenStack production deployments, there is also a broad demand for the integration of the two for Enterprise class solutions and use cases. It is for this reason that VMware is heavily investing in the integration, giving its customers the choice of having an open framework with best-of-breed cloud components. VMware is now the fifth largest contributor of OpenStack code in the current IceHouse release.

Many immediately get network virtualization as an integration point, as VMware NSX is one of the founders of OpenStack networking, but the integration points are far more pervasive than just networking. You can now trigger complex vCenter functions like vMotion off the OpenStack compute module, Nova. vSphere storage policies and advanced vSAN capabilities can be facilitated through the OpenStack storage module, Cinder. vCOPs integration allows monitoring and troubleshooting through OpenStack. There are many more, and you can be rest assured that the roadmap will continue to get richer with time.

EMC Customers Can Choose OpenStack

EMC’s strategy for OpenStack is twofold:

  1. OpenStack projects allow vendors to add capabilities through “plugin” architecture. Every storage business unit at EMC is committed to providing direct plugins for OpenStack. We currently offer plugins for VNX, VMAX, and ViPR; plugins from Isilon, ScaleIO, and XtremIO are already available to customers for beta evaluation. OpenStack’s roots were with object storage over commodity hardware. However, as deployments mature, we now see it running a broad mix of production workloads. Plugins give customers the choice of a variety of EMC storage with appropriate service levels to run their workloads.
  2. ViPR is EMC’s software-defined storage platform and hence complements OpenStack by providing rich automation features, as well as integrated management of objects, blocks, and later files. In other words, you will get integrated access to EMC (what you get from direct plugins) and non-EMC storage, and on top of that you should be able to get enhanced automation features like provisioning, masking/zoning, FAST and VPLEX volumes, as well as rich data services. You can check-out my blog on ‘ViPR in the stack’ for more details.

Returning to my original point, EMC customers can choose any cloud. I hope to have shown you that OpenStack represents as a viable choice across each of the EMC federation’s horizontal stacks.

Nikhil Sharma

About the Author: Nikhil Sharma