Trying to implement raw open source bits and using a distribution of something that has been packaged up so that it’s consumable by the average enterprise present two totally different experiences. In much the same way that Linux did not see mainstream adoption until vendors started making different distributions available, the open source OpenStack cloud management framework is being packaged into various distributions that make OpenStack technologies more accessible to enterprise IT organizations.
One of the latest iterations of those distributions is version 3.0 of Piston OpenStack, a distribution of OpenStack from Piston Computing that now includes support for software-defined networks (SDN) and a Moxie Runtime Environment to orchestrate services in a way that makes them highly available across an implementation of OpenStack.
Piston CTO Joshua McKenty says that what distinguishes the Piston Cloud distribution is that it reduces the amount of time it takes to deploy OpenStack by 90 percent. Whether it’s in the form of OpenStack or some other proprietary cloud management approach, IT organizations have been struggling with the complexity of deploying cloud management software. McKenty says Piston OpenStack has been optimized to eliminate most of that complexity in a way that still allows IT organizations to mix and match any IT infrastructure they choose. In fact, McKenty goes so far as to say we now live in an era of “dumb hardware and smart software.”
While more than a few IT infrastructure vendors would take exception to that characterization, the fact remains that enterprise IT is heading in a direction where the management of IT infrastructure is abstracted away using application programming interfaces (APIs) that are exposed using frameworks such as OpenStack. The implications of those capabilities not only makes it easier for IT organizations to mix and match IT infrastructure, it also means that IT infrastructure can be managed at levels of unprecedented scale. For example, instead of having one administrator per one hundred servers, it will soon be common to have one administrator handling a thousand or more virtual and physical servers.
A lot of debate these days involves whether OpenStack is ready for the enterprise, but we’re entering a new era of IT management where most of the capabilities needed to manage enterprise IT environments are becoming highly automated.