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Dell unveils OpenStack cloud solution

Jul 26, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Dell is rolling out an open-source cloud-computing IaaS (infrastructure as a service) offering built around the Linux-based OpenStack cloud software and its own PowerEdge C servers. The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution also leans heavily on Dell's open source Crowbar technology, said to simplify OpenStack deployments and management.

Dell's new IaaS (infrastructure as a service) offering — called the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution — was announced July 26.

Along with the use of the OpenStack cloud platform, the Dell solution includes its "Crowbar" OpenStack installer, which manages the deployment of OpenStack from when the server initially boots all the way through configuration. As part of Dell's open source IaaS strategy, Dell officials also announced that they are releasing Crowbar to the open source community, with hopes of making it a project within the OpenStack initiative.

The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution also includes Dell's cloud-optimized PowerEdge C servers, as well as services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders. The rollout comes four months after Dell, Rackspace, and Opscode demonstrated what officials said was the first fully automated provisioning of a multi-node OpenStack cloud. The companies gave the demonstration during the Cloud Connect conference in March.

Rackspace and NASA launched the OpenStack project in July 2010, and the project now has 92 companies and almost 2,000 people as members, according to its website. The project's goal is to create an open and standard cloud operating environment.

Dell's OpenStack Cloud Solution — which uses the current OpenStack release, dubbed "Cactus" — is designed to give businesses a fast and cost-effective way to get their IaaS infrastructure up and running, says the company.

Dell wields open source Crowbar

Dell's Crowbar technology is a key part of the equation, according to company officials. The technology is said to enable users to launch a bare-metal deployment of OpenStack clouds in a matter of hours rather than days. Crowbar then helps businesses maintain the cloud and grow it through such capabilities as BIOS configuration, RAID configuration, network discovery, status monitoring, performance data gathering, and alerting.

Dell's OpenStack Cloud Solution supports public compute cloud application programming interfaces from Amazon and Rackspace, as well as virtualization technologies from Citrix Systems, Microsoft, and VMware.

Dell's PowerEdge C systems are touted for offering high performance in small, energy-efficient form factors, features that are said to meet the demands of cloud environments and Web 2.0 data centers. Designed by Dell's Data Center Solutions Group, the initial PowerEdge C systems were custom-built for large data centers. Later releases were aimed at more mainstream customers.

In May of this year Canonical announced OpenStack would be the core technology in its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud package, which allows organizations to launch Linux-based clouds. OpenStack was first supported in the most recent Ubuntu 11.04. Meanwhile, a new Ubuntu-based Linux distribution called StackOps has arrived with an aim of simplifying OpenStack deployments.

"Dell is an active participant in the OpenStack community because it brings our customers open APIs, capable practices for cloud operations and affordable infrastructure," stated Mark Linebaugh, vice president of Dell's Next Generation Computing Solutions group. "The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution enables users to go from unboxing servers to running a usable OpenStack cloud in mere hours. The ability to quickly develop, deploy and deliver open-source cloud services can translate not only to lower costs, but also the flexibility to rapidly add new features and meet customer needs on demand."

Jeffrey Burt is a writer for eWEEK.

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