VMware Rolls Out Integrated OpenStack Cloud Offering

After months of beta testing, VMware's OpenStack platform is now generally available.

VMware Integrated OpenStack

VMware today is delivering on its promise of providing an integrated OpenStack cloud offering. VMware first announced the VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) product at its VMworld conference in August, as the company's full embrace of the OpenStack platform.

VMware has been actively involved in the OpenStack community since at least 2012 and has been a leading contributor to multiple projects, including the OpenStack Neutron networking effort. With VIO, VMware is providing its customers with a full OpenStack cloud platform that integrates with existing VMware technologies, including vSphere server virtualization.

"We've now completed the VIO beta period and had really good feedback," Dan Wendlandt, director of product management for OpenStack at VMware, told eWEEK.

Wendlandt helps lead VMware's OpenStack efforts and is well-known in the OpenStack community from his time as the first project technical leader of the OpenStack Quantum project in 2011. The general availability of VMware's Integrated OpenStack offering is part of a larger set of announcements Feb. 2 by VMware around new vSphere server virtualization and vSAN storage virtualization technologies.

VMware is basing its OpenStack platform on the OpenStack Icehouse release that first debuted in April 2014. In addition to beta customers, VMware has been running the OpenStack code internally, Wendlandt said.

The OpenStack platform is composed of multiple projects, including Nova compute, Horizon dashboard, Glance image and Neutron network among others. Not every OpenStack distribution vendor includes support for every single OpenStack project, and the Heat orchestration project is one example of that. However, VMware is including Heat in its OpenStack distribution after getting feedback from customers that wanted it to be included, Wendlandt explained.

"Our core use case with VMware Integrated OpenStack is giving our customers' development teams access to the OpenStack APIs," Wendlandt said. "Whether customers want to use Heat, or code against the APIs, or use a third-party tool that is compatible with the APIs, is up to them."

VMware's goal with its integrated offering is to enable its existing customers to use OpenStack's framework with tools they are already using and understand. OpenStack as a high-level platform provides an API framework into which technologies can plug in. For example, the OpenStack Nova compute project enables server virtualization, but it's up to the individual OpenStack distribution or user to decide which server virtualization technology will be used. VMware wants the server virtualization technology of choice to be its vSphere product.

"We want to make it easy for an existing vSphere administrator to essentially carve off a chunk of capacity within their data center to deliver that capacity as OpenStack," Wendlandt said.

Customers download a VMware Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) that includes the VMWare Integrated OpenStack Manager. From there, a user will import the OpenStack OVA into their existing VMware vCenter dashboard. The OVA includes a wizard-type interface that will enable users to deploy an OpenStack control plane.

"We take all of the guesswork out of deploying a full production-grade OpenStack deployment," Wendlandt said. "This is the same control plane that we have proved out in our own internal cloud."

Once OpenStack is running, an enterprise can determine which vSphere capacity will be allocated for OpenStack tenant virtual machines. The enterprise is able to manage the OpenStack deployment using standard VMware tools that administrators already understand from their existing vSphere deployments.

"Cloud developers get to use OpenStack Horizon or Heat or the command-line interface to automate deployment if they choose," Wendlandt said.

VMware already has a large customer base with vSphere and vCenter installed that knows how to operate and troubleshoot that technology, Wendlandt said. The purpose of VMware Integrated OpenStack is to deliver the fastest way to get OpenStack into production. As part of the rapid deployment promise, VMware is also making sure that cost isn't a barrier either.

"The OpenStack integration requires vSphere Enterprise Plus to work," Wendlandt explained. "So any customers that have VMware OpenStack-compatible infrastructure get VIO for free."

Wendlandt added that there is what he referred to as a "nominal" $200 per CPU support fee if a customer wants to be able to call VMware for support on the OpenStack layer itself.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.