Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The recently launched OpenStack project aims to provide an open source stack for cloud computing service providers. The project's backers include NASA and Rackspace, along with Citrix, Dell, NTT Data, Peer1, Intel, AMD and a number of other companies.

The OpenStack project is focused on the tools needed to manage and deploy cloud services on a large scale. By creating an ecosystem of service providers sharing common standards and open source tools, the project aims to create an environment that increases acceptance of cloud computing by eliminating the threat of vendor or service provider lock in. The project is hypervisor agnostic, targeting KVM, Xen and XenServer with the initial release.

A previous blog entry described the  Xen Cloud Platform. The Open Stack and Xen Cloud Platform projects are largely complementary and since both projects share a number of major contributors, the efforts should be well coordinated. For example, a critical part of any cloud computing architecture is the virtualization and isolation of networking among tenants in the cloud. The Xen Cloud Platform has already adopted the Open vSwitch since it provides the open, standards-based, visibility and control needed to manage cloud networking. Based on comments from Citrix (a participant in both projects), it appears that OpenStack project will also incorporate the Open vSwitch as part of its networking stack.

The Open vSwitch supports the sFlow standard, extending the network visibility provided by most switch vendors into the virtualization layer. The sFlow standard is uniquely placed to become the standard of choice for cloud performance monitoring. The scalability of sFlow monitoring allows all the physical and virtual switches in a large cloud data center to be centrally monitored, providing the visibility needed to manage performance and account for network usage.

The recent extension of sFlow into server monitoring (see server) delivers the "single pane of glass" visibility into the network, storage and system resources that cloud service providers need to optimize service, reduce costs and charge for metered services.

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