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SUSE Linux Building Commercial Open Source OpenStack Offering

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted June 21, 2012


The OpenStack open source cloud platform has emerged as a leading technology choice for Linux vendors like SUSE Linux. And in addition to being one of the founding members of the nascent OpenStack Foundation, alongside Rackspace, Canonical and Red Hat, SUSE has now released a beta Private Cloud edition of OpenStack.

Pete Chadwick, senior product manager for cloud at SUSE Linux, explained to InternetNews that his company's private cloud offering is based on the recent OpenStack Essex release.

In addition to the core OpenStack components, SUSE has re-packaged the software to be easier to install as well as to better leverage SUSE's package management and installation tools. SUSE is also utilizing technology from the Dell open source Crowbar effort, which is an OpenStack installer project. Chadwich noted that SUSE developers have been working with Dell to help automate the OpenStack installation process.OpenStack Open Source

"The feedback we got is that OpenStack is hard to install and set up, so we thought that Crowbar would be a good basis to start from," Chadwick said. "But we were able to pull in some of our other installation tools like YAST and Zipper as well."

SUSE is also using its own tools, including the SUSE Build Service, to actually build its version of the OpenStack packages. The Build Service is a SUSE technology that literally builds Linux packages.

SUSE Studio is a tool for creating Linux virtual appliances that can be leveraged as a way to build a virtual machine image capable of running on OpenStack. Chadwick noted that further levels of integration with SUSE Studio are on the SUSE OpenStack roadmap, as is integration with the SUSE Manager management platform.

Unlike SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which has a longer development cycle for enterprise stability, OpenStack iterates every six months. From a commercial support perspective, the plan at SUSE is to update the cloud offering as OpenStack updates the platform.

The next major release of OpenStack is the Fulsom release, targeted for availability in September of this year. Chadwick stressed that SUSE will not force customers to migrate from Essex to Fulsom when the latter becomes available.

"We will focus to make sure the upgrade is as seamless as possible," Chadwick said. "Going from Diablo (the previous release of OpenStack) to Essex was not straightforward."

The SUSE OpenStack platform is on track for general availability some time this summer, and Chadwick sees no major technical challenges at this point that will still need to be overcome.

"There are no real huge challenges — Essex is stable and it's a solid release," Chadwick said. "The challenges are more a question of talking with customers/partners and getting a sense of how they want to see the final product come to market."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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