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Rackspace, Dell push OpenStack cloud OS

Dell to contribute its first OpenStack open source code to automate server configuration.

By , Network World
March 08, 2011 10:23 AM ET

Network World - Rackspace will help enterprises build private clouds using the OpenStack cloud operating system, the company announced Tuesday. Meanwhile, Dell is seeking enterprises and service providers for proof-of-concept OpenStack trials with its Dell PowerEdge C family of servers.

"Last year was a year of big companies backing OpenStack, and this is the year of deployments and production, where we have multiple enterprises and service providers in tests," says Mark Collier, vice president of marketing and business development for the new Rackspace division called Cloud Builders. "For instance, we're helping the Canadian Government deploy right now. In eight months we've seen OpenStack go from support to active engagements."

STRONG START: Is OpenStack Taking Over the Cloud? 

OpenStack now boasts 53 companies that have either formally joined the organization or have generally pledged support. "What LAMP was to the data center, Open Stack will be to the cloud," said Alan Shimel, managing partner at The CISO Group and a Network World blogger. There is one big difference. OpenStack's early supporters are technology vendors that are already lining up their for-profit strategies.

Dell's involvement with OpenStack should not be confused with Dell's own cloud services, Dell Virtual Services. These range from applications as a service, such as e-mail, to a full-fledged virtual data center (infrastructure as a service). 

Rather, Dell is building reference architecture for running OpenStack on its PowerEdge C servers. To that end, Dell will also be making its first open source contribution to OpenStack. It has created an "OpenStack installer" that takes a server to its bare-metal state, automatically configures it, installs OpenStack and can then lay an operating system on top.

READ MORE: Servers preloaded with Amazon-friendly cloud software 

"Dell is making it easy to turn bare-metal servers into OpenStack Clouds with a new software installer, which the company expects to contribute to the OpenStack community after field tests," says Barton George, Dell cloud computing and scale-out evangelist.

Rackspace's Collier made it clear that customers deploying OpenStack can use their choice of hardware. But Dell's early involvement with OpenStack, and its work to fine-tune servers for the cloud OS, make the PowerEdge C a good choice, he said.

RackSpace's services will include the whole shebang: deployment help, long-term support, even an OpenStack training certification program for enterprises. Collier didn't reveal costs on long-term support, but said certification programs will cost on par with others in the industry, such as Red Hat's Certified Engineer.

Dell is gearing its services at those building large green-field data centers, particularly hosting providers rolling out thousands of new servers at once. Enterprises or service providers interested in learning more about the call for proof-of-concept sites can e-mail Dell

"The time is right for people to try this out. We've been working on OpenStack for the last eight months, since July 2010, building reference architectures," says Joseph George, senior strategist at Dell.

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