IBM Picks OpenStack To Control Future SmartClouds
March 11, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Big Blue’s Systems and Technology Group was working on clouds many, many years ago, and because there were no open source alternatives out there, it came up with its own SmartCloud Entry cloud controller, a program that can wrestle with X86 and Power servers and their hypervisors and boss them around as they move workloads around a pool of servers. But now that OpenStack, an open source cloud controller created initially by NASA and Rackspace Hosting more than two years ago is mature, IBM has decided it is time to put that tool at the heart of its future clouds.
IBM made the announcement that it would be adopting OpenStack as the controller for both its SmartCloud public cloud and the private clouds it wants to help customers build using the same technology at the Pulse 2013 event for Tivoli systems management products in Las Vegas last week. Drew Flaada, director of cloud solutions and OpenStack development at IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, explained to me that this wasn’t about abandoning SmartCloud Entry, which is bundled with PureFlex systems and available on Power Systems machines. IBM will continue to sell and support SmartCloud Entry on both X86 iron and Power machines because it fits in a gap between basic virtualization and full-on cloud.
You may recognize that name if you have been in i-Land for a long time, and Flaada was program manager for the AS/400 many years ago and still lives in Rochester, Minnesota, in fact, even if he is working on cloudy technology that spans the globe these days. And because of that AS/400 heritage. Flaada and the team that is commercializing OpenStack for use within IBM and its customer base is not putting IBM i out in the cold.
IBM has over 500 people working on OpenStack-related projects now, and sees OpenStack as a kernel technology, much as the Apache Web server and the Tomcat Java server were the genesis of the original WebSphere, which has morphed and grown more sophisticated since it debuted in 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Just like WebSphere was available for all IBM strategic platforms, IBM’s future SmartCloud Orchestrator, which will add policy-based management and runbook automation to OpenStack as well as the “patterns of expertise” that come with PureSystems to speed up configuration, will run on Power and X86 systems and eventually in conjunction with IBM mainframes, too. And just to be specific, IBM’s gussied up implementation of OpenStack will run on Power Systems and Flex server nodes based on Power processors running IBM i, AIX, or Linux as well as X86 servers running Windows or Linux.
SmartCloud Orchestrator will be available later this year, probably after IBM puts it through the paces at key customers and portions of the public version of the SmartCloud. We’ll keep you posted. Flaada says that the initial code is based on the “Folsom” release of OpenStack, which came out last September, but that it will be deployed in production on the “Grizzly” version, which is expected to come out in April.