Over the past several months there have been some excellent posts on this blog that highlight Dell EMC build vs. buy options as it relates to OpenStack.  Dell EMC offers a range of OpenStack solutions starting with enabling technologies for customers who want a do-it-yourself (DIY) cloud and ending with turnkey solutions like VxRack System with Neutrino.

The goal for VxRack Neutrino is to bring the benefits of turnkey deployment and integrated lifecycle management to an open source software stack –  a stack that has its roots firmly planted in the DIY world.

OpenStack started life as a DIY alternative to public cloud offerings.  Its popularity has extended to customers that want the benefits of an open source platform without having to hire the expertise to assemble and operate the platform themselves (i.e. non-DIY) – hence VxRack Neutrino.  So what have we learned from customers using or considering VxRack Neutrino?

  • Customers want products that make it easier to deploy open source software stacks – products that pre-integrate disparate software components and ensure they will work on a stable hardware platform.  This need is not just limited to initial installation and deployment, but also support for day 2 and beyond in order to successfully monitor and manage the system and establish a clear way to upgrade the various software components that must stay in synch (life cycle management).
  • VxRack Neutrino is a turnkey solution – which means that the customer gives up a degree of flexibility to get the benefit of operational efficiency.  While in many cases this is a tradeoff customers are willing to make, early customer feedback indicates customers want more flexibility in hardware options than VxRack Neutrino – the turnkey solution – offers.
  • Customers also indicate that support and training on the OpenStack distribution itself is critical. Customers have expressed interest in getting these services from Dell EMC partner companies (e.g. Red Hat).

So what does all this mean?  Dell EMC has made the strategic decision to meet this customer demand for OpenStack private clouds with our Reference Architecture and Validated System portfolio and end of life VxRack Neutrino.

DELL EMC has the following solutions for customers looking to build OpenStack private clouds:

  • Red Hat OpenStack Solution – A validated solution using Dell servers and switches delivered via our strategic partnership with Red Hat and jointly engineered by Dell EMC and Red Hat
  • ScaleIO OpenStack Reference Architectures – Validated building block of ScaleIO software defined block storage and Dell servers. As a heterogeneous software defined storage offering; ScaleIO supports Red Hat, Mirantis and Canonical OpenStack environments.

These options provide outstanding hardware flexibility.  They also leverage partner relationships (e.g. Red Hat) to provide customers the OpenStack support and training experience they are seeking, while using a combination of up front engineering and validation along with services to provide a turnkey experience.

Dell EMC remains strongly committed to supporting the OpenStack ecosystem as demonstrated by the breadth of our offerings.   Some areas of particular focus:

  • OpenStack community engagement: This includes community participation and contributions to enhance OpenStack, development and support of plug-ins for all of our products, and development of reference architectures with multiple partners.
  • OpenStack committers: Steady increasing level of commits and committers release over release, and broad support for integrating Dell EMC storage products into an OpenStack based cloud.

In summary we remain committed to listening to our customer’s and offering choice across a broad range of OpenStack deployment options – from best in class components for those looking to “build” and validated solutions and reference architectures  for  those looking for more.

Doug Bowers

VP of Engineering, Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell EMC

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