I was listening to the recent Packet Pushers podcast Show 138. HP, who sponsored the show, spoke about HP Cloud, a public cloud that is built on OpenStack. It was launched in May 2012 and made generally available in December. HP is taking Amazon head on in the cloud provider space (at least when it comes to SLAs) as the GM of HP Cloud Services puts it. HP Cloud comprises multiple availability zones, identity management, account management, block storage (ala AWS S2). Compare that with the Cisco Edition of OpenStack, which is just a validated deployment, tested on Cisco’s UCS servers and Nexus switches only. In other words, Cisco does not offer an Enterprise-grade cloud like HP or Amazon do.
And now you can throw IBM’s name into that hat. This week IBM unveiled a new cloud offering based on open cloud standards, including OpenStack, that significantly speeds and simplifies managing an enterprise-grade cloud. IBM, like HP, is one of the founding members of OpenStack and is launching this OpenStack-based public cloud offering in beta mode about one year after HP did with general availability expected later this year. Amazon is famous for it’s low price structure and it will be a challenge for HP and IBM to compete.
Mirantis, a 13-year old company with a history of strong professional services has immersed itself into OpenStack consulting and training in the last couple of years. They help service providers and enterprises build and deploy OpenStack cloud infrastructure. Some of their customers include NASA, Dell, AT&T, and Cisco. Another customer, Internap, launched its OpenStack-based public cloud service back in October 2011 and was assisted by Mirantis. I installed OpenStack in a personal lab at home and encountered several obstacles along the way. It is not easy to set up. For simple lab installations, DevStack is a good option. However, for production deployments, there is a lot of complexity that needs to be understood and overcome for enterprises to deploy clouds. Companies like Mirantis help bridge that gap.