AUSTIN: OpenStack may still be the new kid on the block as far as some in the IT industry are concerned, but companies including Intel are already casting a critical eye over the cloud computing framework to see whether it can be overhauled to better meet the needs of customers, while CoreOS is trying to make it function more like Google's public cloud platform.
Imad Sousou, vice president of Intel's Software and Services Group and general manager of the Intel Open Source Technology Centre, explained during the second-day keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Texas that OpenStack seems to have come to a crossroads and the community has to decide which way to go.
"There are times when, faced with great change, you can adapt and flourish or do nothing and go into decline," Sousou said, paraphrasing former Intel chief executive Andy Grove who famously said that companies had to adapt or die.
"OpenStack is at one of those moments now. When you look at areas like orchestration and scheduling, and how we now have not just virtual machines but things like containers, you have to ask whether we would have built what we have now."
In response, a small group of Intel engineers spoke to customers and were given a brief look at the OpenStack code to see how they could reimagine the platform to better suit emerging requirements, such as the need for greater agility in deploying infrastructure and the ability to scale more easily.
"They came back with effectively a redesign and re-implementation of the schedulers and a few other key pieces, all developed in the GO programming language," Sousou explained.
These changes all revolved around a handful of key requirements, the most notable of which is that all instances should be treated equally. Currently, there are separate ways of provisioning and handling virtual machines, containers and bare metal servers through modules such as Nova, Magnum and Ironic in the case of bare metal.
Other key requirements are that OpenStack should support building to scale, be easier to deploy, and secure by design, Sousou said.
Intel's project, dubbed Cloud Integrated Advanced Orchestrator, enables an OpenStack cloud to deploy 10,000 containers in just 24 seconds onto a 100-node cluster, while 5,000 virtual machines would take around 40 seconds, according to Sousou.
"That is an order of magnitude better than we can do today," he said. However, it faces some challenges in being adopted into the mainstream OpenStack code, principally "the dogma that everything must be in Python", Sousou added.
Meanwhile, CoreOS chief executive Alex Polvi demonstrated how his firm has developed a way to deploy and manage OpenStack with Kubernetes. This uses CoreOS' Tectonic, a commercial implementation of Kubernetes, which is Google's framework for orchestrating collections of containers to form a scalable, distributed application.
This may sound like an odd thing to do, but OpenStack itself is just a distributed application, Polvi said, so using Tectonic to launch it in containers on bare metal servers makes it much simpler to deploy and manage, he claimed.
The project is part of an initiative that CoreOS calls Google's Infrastructure For Everyone Else, an attempt to allow organisations to operate infrastructure in the same way as Google's cloud.
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