EMC and OpenStack firm Mirantis have delivered a reference architecture for OpenStack clouds certified for use with EMC's VNX, XtremIO and ScaleIO arrays, offering customers a simpler way to build an OpenStack cloud based on these enterprise storage platforms.
Announced to coincide with the EMC World show in Las Vegas, the partnership demonstrates the growing interest in OpenStack, but also the fact that new technology has to accommodate existing IT infrastructure investments at organisations.
Mirantis claimed that it is among the first publish under EMC's OpenStack Reference Architecture Programme. It contains guidance for customers on how to use EMC storage systems, Mirantis OpenStack and Cinder block storage drivers together in an OpenStack environment.
Writing on the Mirantis blog, the firm's OpenStack architect, Paul Roberts, explained that this is important because OpenStack's openness can make it complex to deploy and configure, and a reliable storage layer is vital to building a private cloud.
"OpenStack has lots of knobs and dials, and a reputation for being difficult to deploy on your own. Adding in specific hardware with specific drivers can make it even more complicated, but a reference architecture helps with this," he said.
"While every situation is different, of course, a reference architecture tells you exactly how to configure a specific environment, in this case EMC storage on Mirantis OpenStack, showing you precisely what configurations should look like."
The reference architecture demonstrates how users can configure OpenStack to operate with the different EMC storage platforms they may have deployed, whether this is VNX arrays, flash-based high-performance XtremIO storage, or a ScaleIO software-defined storage platform.
Roberts said that there is a natural bias in the OpenStack community towards open source software-defined storage solutions such as Ceph and Swift, which pool direct attached storage inside clusters of nodes.
However, traditional enterprise storage platforms using technologies like RAID can still offer an advantage when it comes to high availability.
"While Ceph and Swift offer reliable high availability using replication, you're typically looking at anywhere between three and 13 times the amount of storage you actually need," he wrote.
"Enterprise-grade storage arrays can get efficiency ratings of up to 80 percent (versus eight to 33 percent for replication), leading to much smaller costs."
Fortunately, OpenStack makes it relatively easy to reuse enterprise storage assets, according to Roberts.
"OpenStack can be set up with a separate network to handle storage-related traffic - called, not surprisingly, the storage network - and it's possible to simply designate the existing storage area network as that storage network," he said.
The Mirantis/EMC OpenStack Reference Architecture currently certifies EMC's storage with with Mirantis OpenStack 6.0, which is based on the Juno release of OpenStack. However, the open source community recently released its successor, Kilo.
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