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VMware Integrated OpenStack: The Case for a Managed OpenStack Environment

OpenStack has become a popular way to provide automated, on-demand, self-service Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to developers, and many vAdmins are faced with users who are demanding this kind of functionality or worse, they are side-stepping IT and using public cloud services from Amazon or Google instead.  If this is the case for you, then delivering this type of service in-house may be very desirable.  But let’s face it, for most vAdmins, learning to install, configure and manage an OpenStack environment may range from very difficult to near impossible!

OpenStack consists of a number of integrated components used in concert to enable a self-service private cloud computing environment for on premise use.  While this sounds terrific, it’s not without its problems and challenges.  For starters, OpenStack is developed as an open source project – well really a set of open stack projects – where you as an organization can choose to use some combination of these projects to construct your cloud.  The difficulty begins here because you must decide what features and functionality your cloud users need or want.  Then you have to figure out what your compute, network and storage capacity requirements are so that you can acquire the physical hardware to support this infrastructure.  Once you’ve done that, you then download the “free like a puppy” software bits and try to figure out what services to run; where to run them; how to provide load balancing and high availability for them; and incorporate basic data center services like user authentication, domain name services and more.  All of this sound fun yet?  It can become a really big science project and remember, you’re a vAdmin – you know VMware and how easy it is to provide virtual resources to your constituent user community, quickly and easily through vCenter!

Enter VIO or VMware Integrated OpenStack.

VMware Integrated OpenStack provides a well-crafted easy button for deploying OpenStack on an existing vSphere environment.  It’s designed to allow vAdmins to deliver OpenStack functionality, without all the fuss.  The VIO software is kept up to date by VMware engineers and is designed with high availability and load balancing built in from the start.  The current release is based on the Mitaka OpenStack release.  It’s also super easy to install with a single OVA that you deploy onto your existing vCenter.  Once you've deployed the VIO OVA and power it on, you can then fill out a configuration panel where you can decide how many resources you’d like to allocate to OpenStack, press the install button and come back a little while later to a fully functioning OpenStack environment.  VIO automatically installs and configures all of the OpenStack components.

VIO leverages VMware’s best of breed Software-defined Data Center (SDDC) components including vSphere, NSX and vSAN.  vSphere provides the industry standard hypervisor for security, stability and reliability.  NSX provides advanced networking and security features like micro-segmentation, switching, routing, load-balancing, firewalls and more.  vSAN works with any validated vSphere storage, enables advanced storage policies, and can leverage commodity hyper-converged storage nodes.  For networking, VMware Integrated OpenStack can be installed with the standard Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS) or with NSX to provide true software-defined networking features.  And, because you are running OpenStack on vSphere, you get to take advantage of VMware goodies like DRS, HA, and vMotion.  When it comes time to upgrade OpenStack, VIO automates this process too.  When VIO upgrades OpenStack, all of your tenant VM’s continue to run as if nothing has changed, but the underlying control plane for OpenStack gets updated to the latest code.  You can even use blue-green deployment testing to make sure the new control plane is fully functional before abandoning the old version.

VMware Integrated OpenStack

If you’re being asked (prodded) to deliver on-demand, self-service IaaS for your users you should definitely consider VIO.  It’s a production ready, rock solid OpenStack experience.

At August Schell, emerging technologies are a key practice area, and staying one step ahead of global digital transformation is no exception. If your agency or business is interested in discovering how VMware SDDC Infrastructure can enhance your security posture and optimize business processes, contact an August Schell specialist, or call us at (301)-838-9470.