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April 27, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 10:45am

IBM strives to improve cloud interoperability as containers break into OpenStack: 5 take-aways from the OpenStack Summit

List: IBM, HPE and CoreOS all reveal big developments around the open source cloud.

By James Nunns

OpenStack’s summer conference in Austin, Texas raced into its second day without any sign of slowing down as vendors revealed more about their strategies.

With the conference taking an approach of highlighting use cases during the second day keynote, several vendors took the opportunity to update their OpenStack product portfolios. CBR highlights the big talking points.


1. IBM doubles down on OpenStack

IBM, which has been a community member of OpenStack since its founding 12 years ago, has boosted its support to the open source cloud’s RefStack project in order to advance a common language between clouds.

RefStack, which was created as part of the community’s effort to drive interoperability across clouds, has been upgraded with releases by IBM.

The upgrades include user functionality and usability enhancements that will allow for more streamlined visibility into test data for OpenStack release compatibility. Tempest plug-in enablement has also been added in order to allow users to expand existing test suites to include external test cases.

The final addition comes in the form of stability enhancements that are designed to expand the availability of the RefStack service, and support RefStack users.

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The idea behind this is to increase interoperability between clouds through sustained collaboration across the open community.


2. Rackspace manages scale and performance

OpenStack users that are managed by Rackspace will be able to use AppFormix’s real-time monitoring and analytics software.

The partnership makes Rackspace the first cloud service provider to deliver cloud optimisation by offering workload isolation with the Intel Resource Director technology, the company said.

Essentially the partnership will help to enhance operational support and will see Rackspace license AppFormix software in addition to integrating it as part of its OpenStack private cloud.

Users will have access to an interactive dashboard in order to monitor performance and establish dynamic rules for workload allocation to infrastructure resources capable of tuning performance to predefined service levels.


3. HPE Helion OpenStack 3.0

HPE kept this one quiet, opting not to send out mass releases and the company only just made a nod to it in a blog post.
That’s not to say it is unimportant, just that HPE is focused on advancing OpenStack in its own way.

The company said that in this latest release it has focused on key areas of configurability, control, scalability, and operations.
HPE has expanded hypervisor support to include RHEL KVM support for compute nodes as well as adding the ability to run multiple hypervisors in the same cloud. It has also added Boot from SAN support to let customers leverage existing investment in blade environments.

The latest release also includes tighter administrative controls with improvements to PCI readiness and encrypting communications between internal and externa APIs as the data is in transit.

Another area that HPE has worked on is scalability. The work here has seen the company double its out-of-the box scalability to 200 compute nodes per region.


4. Running OpenStack in containers

CoreOS introduced Stackanetes, a technology that brings together OpenStack and Kubernetes, Google’s open source container management service.

The project will allow users to take Kubernetes and manage OpenStack. CoreOS showed off the capabilities during the second day keynote, where the company showed that in addition to running OpenStack, the technology could also kill instances and let the system automatically restart them.

Stackanetes on Tectonic, which is a technology stack for deploying containers in production, will allow enterprises to create consistent deployments of OpenStack together with the lifecycle management capabilities of Kubernetes.

The underlying purpose is to help businesses to achieve Google’s Infrastructure for Everyone Else, a hyperscale, application-focused style of managing infrastructure that focuses on distributed systems, security and availability.


5. Use cases on the increase

Something that has become increasingly apparent over the first two days of the conference is that use cases are on the rise.
The second day keynote was full of use cases from the Internet of Things to Big Data and with the advancement of containers in OpenStack, there should be more use cases appearing.

Containers may be one of the big ticket wins for OpenStack but its ability to appeal to a wider range of users will help to move it away from being pigeonholed as suitable for only some workloads.

The open source cloud technology is already proving itself a success with telcos with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and China Mobile already adopting it. Highlighting the ability to use IoT devices with OpenStack could provide a boost to business, while big data on premise will be a valid alternative for those that don’t want to move their data into a public cloud.

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