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Dell Delivers OpenStack Cloud Solution

Dell is delivering an Infrastructure as a Service cloud solution based on the open source OpenStack platform.

Called the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, it consists of a reference architecture that outlines how to integrate the OpenStack operating system, Dell PowerEdge C servers and a component to install the software on bare metal systems called Crowbar. Also available are services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.

OpenStack appears to be emerging as a key open source option for deploying cloud services, and Dell's newest release is a notable milestone. The OpenStack Project, kicked off a year ago, is based on a cloud operating system developed by NASA and Rackspace that was contributed to the open source community under the Apache 2.0 license.

Dell was among 25 member companies that said they would contribute to the OpenStack project when it launched last year. Now there are more than 90 member companies which include Cisco, Citrix, Equinix, Intel, Opscode and RightScale. And Dell's largest rival, Hewlett-Packard, just became the latest member company to join the project.

"Since day one we investigated the code, started looking at reference architectures, figuring out how we can get a solution together to enable our customers to move on OpenStack," said Joseph George, director of marketing for Dell Cloud solutions.

While Dell engineers tweaked the code provided by NASA and Rackspace, getting an OpenStack instance up and running in a physical environment was problematic, George explained.

"It's not trivial to actually install a cloud, and it's not trivial to install an OpenStack cloud and so we decided we should automate that," he said, hence the development of Crowbar. "Crowbar is a software framework that allows users to deploy a multi-node OpenStack cloud on bare metal server technology in a matter of hours and even minutes, in some cases, as opposed to a couple of days that it would take if you were to do it manually."

Crowbar allows operators to set up BIOS, update RAID and it performs some level of network discovery and monitoring. "At the heart of it, it's a nice, simple automated way to be able to get an OpenStack cloud environment running on your servers very quickly," he said.

Dell is releasing the code for Crowbar to the open source community with the hope that it will become a key project within the OpenStack initiative.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 27, 2011


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