OpenStack is a constantly evolving deployment tool, its evolutionary properties sometimes proving a hindrance to adoption in cloud services. There are hundreds of contributors and it has $ 10 million funding, both resulting in a lot of activities as well as increasing complexities as it keeps on mutating and evolving. An IT manager would need to have specific staff devoted to keeping track were he to go the OpenStack way.
Automation of the deployment process is the only way to overcome this barrier according to Boris Renski of Mirantis, an OpenStack consulting firm. Mirantis has put together a library of OpenStack components known as “Fuel”. The company keeps on updating and testing these components for compatibility. Fuel is now Open Source under an Apache 2.0 License. Mirantis is very active in OpenStack projects. Its Fuel is unlike other Linux distributions. It has been designed to integrate seamlessly with all mainstream distributors. With Fuel, a new Openstack user cuts short time to deployment since Fuel handles configuration managing through the use of cookbooks that include compatible codes. A good thing about it is that Python or Cobbler scripts automatically handle the assembly of packages in the right sequences in the background.
Renski’s purpose in making Fuel open source is to show the world the expertise of Mirantis in OpenStack deployments and to spread its usage. In this case Mirantis is likely to receive consultation offers new clients once they are satisfied with Fuel.
The very complexity and features of OpenStack, calls for thorough understanding, from basic to advanced, which Mirantis possesses in order to build robust clouds. A prime example is PayPal that is using Fuel to build an IT infrastructure within Ebay based on a private cloud. Fuel is expected to transform PayPal’s global infrastructure into an agile cloud platform. Saran Mandair, senior director of platform engineering and operations of PayPal has credited Fuel with helping him accelerate OpenStack deployment in its 9000 servers.
Renski of Mirantis claims that their consultants train customers in utilizing Fuel in the OpenStack environment and by doing so the effort is reduced. Should this become a regular thing and if Fuel keeps on powering OpenStack deployments, it could very well come the default private cloud standard.
Piston is another OpenStack based developer adopting a different distribution system. It relies on a Piston loaded memory device plugging into a switch at the top of the server rack, a sort of quick to deploy version.
Mirantis’ Fuel is more extended and offers more features even as it is being constantly updated each month to make it flexible for mainstream deployments.
The other alternatives to Fuel are Chef and Juju. Mirantis has promised to keep its Fuel open source and if people adapt to OpenStack, they will become dependent on it to keep its promise. Mirantis, however, is committed to Fuel and open source and wishes to speed up adoption of OpenStack on its way to becoming a leader in enterprise private cloud architecture.
OpenStack is a cloud operating system, competing with the likes of VMWare, and it can control large conglomerations of systems, storage and networking resources from a single dashboard for administrator and a web interface for users.
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