OpenStack Support Included in Arrival of CloudForms 3

CloudForms 3 has arrived! There are plenty of new features, including deeper integration with Amazon Web Services EC2 and enhanced service catalog definitions. Along with those, one major new capability is support of OpenStack as a cloud provider. This is a big step forward in bringing the same cloud management capabilities users have come to expect from CloudForms across VMware vSphere, AWS EC2, and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to OpenStack. Before diving directly to the capabilities CloudForms provides for OpenStack providers it’s important to know that Red Hat is working on enabling OpenStack for Enterprises in a number of ways. Here are three key areas:

Enabling Red Hat Enterprise Linux to be the most stable, secure, and best performing platform for OpenStack powered clouds.
This is being accomplished in Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform – a stable, reliable, and secure base, and the hardware and application support needed to run in demanding OpenStack environments.

Enabling instrumentation and APIs within OpenStack.
This occurs upstream within the OpenStack project itself. Red Hat works with the community on projects such as TripleO, an installation and operations tool for OpenStack. It has also led by initiating Tuskar – a stateful API and UI for managing the deployment of OpenStack, which is now a part of the TripleO project.

Supporting OpenStack within CloudForms Red Hat’s Hybrid Cloud Management Platform.
Most IT organizations are already virtualizing and building cloud like capabilities on top of datacenter virtualization (self-service, chargeback, etc). These organizations recognize that building a private cloud using OpenStack will provide new advantages such as reducing costs, increasing scale, and fundamentally changing the way developers and operations teams work together. However, IT organizations don’t want to build yet another silo. They’d like to solve the fundamental problem of IT complexity while simultaneously building their next generation IT architecture. CloudForms allows organizations to operationally manage their existing platforms alongside their next generation IT architectures, including OpenStack.

With the OpenStack management background out of the way let’s look at some highlights of what CloudForms 3 brings to OpenStack management in more detail.

Manage New and Existing OpenStack Clouds

CloudForms 3 allows users to manage new and existing OpenStack Environments. As I mentioned in an earlier post infrastructure providers such as VMware and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) have been separated from Cloud Providers such as Amazon Web Services and OpenStack within the user interface. Within the Cloud Providers screen it’s possible to add a new cloud provider.

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After providing the credentials of an OpenStack keystone user CloudForms 3 will discover the Availability Zones, Flavors, Security Groups, Instances, and Images associated with the OpenStack user.

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Each of these discovered properties of the OpenStack provider can be inspected further. With instances in particular, the CloudForms user can begin viewing in depth information about the instances running on top of OpenStack.

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Users can dive into capacity and utilization data of their openstack instances.

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Since CloudForms is also pulling events from the OpenStack message bus it is possible to correlate performance information on instances with events that are taking place.

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All of this performance and utilization data is also available for reporting purposes in the CloudForms reporting engine.

Chargeback for Workloads on OpenStack

CloudForms 3 adds OpenStack to a growing list of providers for which chargeback reports can be centrally managed. Using the rate table and tagging functions that already exist in CloudForms users can create rate tables and assign them to their OpenStack environments.

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The tagging system continues to provide a flexible and dynamic approach to chargeback which is becoming even more critical as IT organizations build more dynamic platforms with higher rates of change. Chargeback reports can be limited to only show instances or can be combined with virtual machine chargeback.

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Provision workloads via self-service catalogs to OpenStack clouds

Finally, CloudForms 3 provides access to instances in OpenStack providers via self-service in it’s service catalog. While self-service of images is a native feature of Horizon within Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform the inclusion of self-service via CloudForms helps organizations looking to implement enterprise class self-service that ties into their existing environments. CloudForms self-service capabilities are integrated with it’s automation engine which bring capabilities such as the abilities to:

  • Combine multiple instances or combined instances with virtual machines and other atomic services into a single service catalog bundle for ordering
  • Integrate with existing IT Operations Management solutions, such as CMDBs, CMS, monitoring, or eventing tools
  • Enforce quotas, workflow, and approval
  • Provide best fit placement of instances on particular OpenStack providers

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CloudForms 3 is a big step forward for enterprises looking to manage their OpenStack private clouds through a cloud management platform that also supports their existing investments in datacenter virtualization and public clouds. If you are attending OpenStack Summit I hope you can join Oleg Barenboim, Senior Director of Software Engineering for CloudForms, and myself as we present on how CloudForms Unifies the management of OpenStack, Datacenter Virtualization, and Public Clouds.

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