Cumulus, Dell, Red Hat Use Open-Source DevOps for an OpenStack Cluster

The three vendors were able to use such open DevOps tools as Git and Ansible to install and deploy a 300-plus-node OpenStack cluster in six hours.

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Officials with Dell, Cumulus Networks and Red Hat say the companies have demonstrated that large-scale OpenStack deployments can be easy to manage and deploy using open-source DevOps tools and open networking offerings.

The companies created a 300-plus-node OpenStack cluster that used server and networking switches from Dell, Red Hat's OpenStack distribution and Cumulus' Linux network operating system. Using the open-source DevOps tools, such as Ansible and Git, the vendors were able to install and provision the cluster in 6 hours.

The proof-of-concept (PoC) was an important step, according to Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat.

"With the increase in production rollouts of OpenStack, customers want the ability to scale without compromising on performance and manageability," Balakrishnan said in a statement, adding that the three vendors "have demonstrated the ability to scale with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and we're looking forward to bringing this powerful solution to our customers."

OpenStack clusters traditionally are created by teams of network engineers and system administrators that are separated into siloed environments with few ways to collaborate, which officials with the companies said can increase complexity to the work. DevOps methodologies are designed to increase collaboration and efficiency to the process.

Dell provided not only the PowerEdge servers to the cluster, but also the switches from the company's Open Networking portfolio. More than two years ago, Dell began introducing branded switches that can run a variety of operating systems and other software from the likes of Cumulus, Big Switch Networks, Midokura and Pluribus Networks. It was Dell's response to the movement in the industry toward such technologies as software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) that called for greater openness in the network and helped drive sales of white-box switches.

The OpenStack cluster contained the Dell rack-mount servers in nine racks that were interconnected by 24 open Dell switches, and included dual attached 10 Gigabit Ethernet server connections and 8.6TB of bandwidth. It also leveraged Ansible, Git and Red Hat's OpenStack platform to create a development tool chain and a virtual environment that were used for prototyping and testing of components. In addition, there was an all-IP VXLAN networking topology in the cluster that used Cumulus Linux and the OpenStack Neutron networking technology, officials with the companies said.

The open VXLAN architecture enabled more than 1,000 tenant networks to run without the need for IPv4 and VLAN bookkeeping or proprietary SDN controllers, they said.

"It's powerful to witness the software-defined data center at work," JR Rivers, co-founder and CTO of Cumulus, said in a statement. "This project tied together automation, virtual testing environments, tight deployment schedules, and 'Linux all the way down' to deliver a production-ready OpenStack pod."