IBM Embraces OpenStack For Cloud Offerings


At its Pulse conference in Las Vegas IBM announced it will shift all its future cloud products to code based on open standards and open source

Looking to push open standards in the cloud computing world, IBM on Monday said it will use the open source OpenStack platform as the basis for its future cloud products, including the new SmartCloud Orchestrator service.

SmartCloud Orchestrator, launched at the IBM Pulse conference in Las Vegas, allows companies to quickly build new cloud services through automated application deployment and lifecycle management, including compute, storage and network configuration, human task automation and integration with third-party tools, IBM said.

Open source

Based on open standards and open source code including OpenStack, the service uses an integrated user interface, eliminating the need for companies to develop interfaces for different cloud services.

IBM believes customers will ultimately end up using a mix of public and private cloud resources, and this is partly what is behind the shift to OpenStack. Open source tools such as OpenStack are necessary for integrating resources across public and private clouds, IBM said.

OpenStack LogoThe company said it sees open standards and open source playing a role in the cloud similar to that which it has played on the web and in the server world.

“IBM has been at the forefront of championing standards and open source for years, and we are doing it again for cloud computing,” said Robert LeBlanc, IBM senior vice president of software, in a statement.

Aside from its involvement with OpenStack, of which it is a platinum member, IBM also founded the Cloud Standards Customer Council and has helped drive cloud standards such as the Open Service for Lifecycle Collaboration, Linked Data in the W3C and the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) in OASIS. The company said it has dedicated more than 500 developers to open cloud projects.

Journey toward open source

LeBlanc admitted that IBM’s core SmartCloud offering is not yet running on OpenStack, but said that moving SmartCloud to the open source platform is part of IBM’s “continual journey”. SmartCloud was developed before OpenStack was founded in July 2010.

SmartCloud Orchestrator is available now in a beta-test form and is scheduled for general release later in 2013.

OpenStack, launched in 2012, is a cloud computing project based on free and open source software released under the terms of the Apache License. Last month storage maker Seagate said it would join the community of more than 150 organisations as a corporate sponsor member in order to “define and promote open source standards for cloud computing”. Other members of the OpenStack Foundation and Open Compute include Rackspace, Red Hat, Cisco, HP and Dell.

Rackspace, which co-developed OpenStack along with NASA, in February debuted a more direct path for large, full-service IT providers to deploy the open source software in large-scale private cloud projects, releasing three new blueprints, called Private Cloud Open Reference Architectures.

OpenStack’s next code release is set for April.

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