Dell Launches OpenStack Cloud Platform Solution

By Sean Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Jul 27, 2011


OpenStack is getting a big vote of confidence from Dell. Dell set to offer commercial support for OpenStack Cloud solution and announces new open source Crowbar for installation.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) is launching new commercial support and services for the open source cloud computing platform. OpenStack started a year ago with code contributions from NASA and Rackspace and has since grown to more than 88 member companies, including Dell.

The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution includes a reference architecture based on Dell PowerEdge C Series servers and is intended to help rapidly deploy a cloud infrastructure.

"This continues to reinforce Dell's commitment to OpenStack," John Igoe, Executive Director for Dell Cloud Solutions told InternetNews.com. "OpenStack provides companies with an alternative software architecture to build private and public clouds."

Igoe noted that the Dell solution is based on the recent OpenStack Cactus release that debuted in April. Dell is also going a step further and contributing new code into the open source base.

"Dell has taken the core open source code, and we've wrapped around that a piece of technology that we developed called Crowbar, which is an installation tool," Igoe said.

Igoe noted Dell built crowbar because it saw a real need for an installer technology. As to why it is making crowbar available as open source, instead of keeping it as a proprietary competitive advantage, Igoe said it as an issue of credibility.

"My experience in open source is that if you don't contribute code, you're credibility is not at the same level as those that do contribute code," Igoe said.

The initial crowbar release, however, has been specifically designed to work with Dell's PowerEdge C servers. That said, the system has been designed to be configurable. Joseph George, Director of Marketing for Dell Cloud Solutions explained to InternetNews.com that crowbar has a feature called barclamps that allow for configuration and extensibility.

"We're expecting the community to pick this up and write a barclamp for whatever their need might be," George said. "The way we have developed it is that we've given users everything they need to deploy on Dell, but we expect the community will pick it up for whatever their needs are."

OpenStack itself still needs an operating system, and to that end Dell's solution will be using Ubuntu Linux. George stressed that customers are buying a solution from Dell, and if there is any support requirement, that will come first from Dell.

"What we'll be selling does not require a support agreement with any partners, but Dell has the opportunity to resell Ubuntu support if that is something that customers want," George said.

Overall, Dell isn't aiming to deliver a single box solution for OpenStack; rather, the goal is to have a flexible model.

"Customers can purchase a solution based on a reference architecture or on a custom tweaked version," George said. "We not building an appliance around OpenStack."

George noted that in Dell's view, the market is focused on specific needs that vary by customer.

"So we start with the reference architecture and then customers will give us their feedback, and we'll be flexible," George said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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