Dell to go Partner route for public cloud

May 20, 2013

As you may be aware Dell has been offering and hosting a public, multi-tentant IaaS cloud offering.  After getting that business off the ground and many customer conversations,  we’ve come to realize that the greatest way we can provide value for our customers is to focus our investments on more strategic components of the cloud and provide our customers with maximum choice and flexibility.

As a result, rather than building out and supporting our own multi-tenant public cloud, we will partner with companies in order to provide customers access to the cloud(s) of their choice.

Enter Enstratius

A sampling of some of the public clouds Enstratius provides access to.

A sampling of some of the public clouds Enstratius provides access to.

With our recent acquisition of Enstratius not only are we are able to provide our customers with the ability to manage and govern a multi-cloud environment but we are now able to offer access to over 20 prominent clouds from Amazon to Rackspace, to Google, to AT&T.

A new Partner Program

Beyond the partners that Enstratius provides access to, today we are also kicking off today a partner program to provide access to IaaS through an ecosystem of options.  The first three partners we are announcing are:  Joyent, Scale Matrix, Zero Lag:

  • Joyent: An IaaS provider for real-time web and mobile applications. Joyent has out-of-the-box compatibility with Enstratius’ multi-cloud management.
  • ScaleMatrix: Cloud hosting platform, Services are offered from proprietary world-class data centers, and leverage enterprise hardware, storage and cutting-edge security and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation services.
  • ZeroLag: Combines VMware-powered on-demand cloud infrastructure with professional services and custom-designed solutions.

Customers will be able to purchase products from these partners through their Dell sales representatives and you can find out more information at dell.com/cloud-partner-program.

Private Cloud and Project Sputnik

On the Private Cloud front nothing has changed.   We are still huge supporters of OpenStack OpenStack_200.jpg-2f65a9098a7b1dd1and will continue offering our Open Stack-based private clouds.  Additionally  we will continue to provide cloud-to-on-premise connectivity via Boomi.

On the Project Sputnik front the cloud launcher that we continue to work on is being designed to provide access to a host of clouds.

Extra-credit reading

  • Dell to Deliver Public Cloud through Partner Ecosystem – Press Release

Pau for now..


Dell announces availability of OpenStack solution; Open sources “Crowbar” software framework

July 26, 2011

Today at OSCON we are announcing the availability of the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution along with the open sourcing of the code behind our Crowbar software framework.

The Solution

Dell has been a part of the OpenStack community since day one a little over a year ago and today’s news represents the first available cloud solution based on the OpenStack platform.  This Infrastructure-as-a-service solution includes a reference architecture based on Dell PowerEdge C servers, OpenStack open source software, the Dell-developed Crowbar software and services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.

Crowbar, keeping things short and sweet

Bringing up a cloud can be no mean feat, as a result a couple of our guys began working on a software framework that could be used to quickly (typically before coffee break!) bring up a multi-node OpenStack cloud on bare metal.   That framework became Crowbar.  What Crowbar does is manage the OpenStack deployment from the initial server boot to the configuration of the primary OpenStack components, allowing users to complete bare metal deployment of multi-node OpenStack clouds in a matter of hours (or even minutes) instead of days.

Once the initial deployment is complete, Crowbar can be used to maintain, expand, and architect the complete solution, including BIOS configuration, network discovery, status monitoring, performance data gathering, and alerting.

Code to the Community

As mentioned above, today Dell has released Crowbar to the community as open source code (you can get access to it the project’s GitHub site).  The idea is allow  users to build functionality to address their specific system needs.  Additionally we are working with the community to submit Crowbar as a core project in the OpenStack initiative.

Included in the Crowbar code contribution is the barclamp list, UI and remote API’s, automated testing scripts, build scripts, switch discovery, open source Chef server.  We are currently working with our legal team to determine how to release the BIOS and RAID which leverage third party components.  In the meantime since it is free (as in beer) software, although Dell cannot distribute it, users can directly go the vendors and download the components for free to get that functionality.

More Crowbar detail

For those who want some more detail, here are some bullets I’ve grabbed from Rob “Mr. Crowbar” Hirschfeld’s blog:

Important notes:

  • Crowbar uses Chef as it’s database and relies on cookbooks for node deployments
  • Crowbar has a modular architecture so individual components can be removed, extended, and added. These components are known individually as “barclamps.”
  • Each barclamp has it’s own Chef configuration, UI subcomponent, deployment configuration, and documentation.

On the roadmap:

  • Hadoop support
  • Additional operating system support
  • Barclamp version repository
  • Network configuration
  • We’d like suggestions!  Please comment on Rob’s blog!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Structure: Learning about DevOps & Crowbar from Jesse Robbins

June 27, 2011

Last week on Day two of Structure the morning sessions ended with an  interesting discussion moderated by James Urquhart.  The session was entitled “DevOps – Reinventing the Developers Role in the Cloud Age” and featured Luke Kanies – CEO, Puppet Labs and Jesse Robbins – Co-Founder and CEO, Opscode.

After lunch I ran into Jesse and got him to sit down with me and provide some more insight into DevOps as well as explain what Opscode was doing with project Crowbar.

Some of the ground Jesse covers

  • (0:21) What is DevOps
  • (1:00) The shift that happens between developers and operations.  Writing code and getting it into production faster and how it shifts responsibilities between the two groups.
  • (2:52) Who are the prime targets for DevOps and how has this changed over time.
  • How DevOps began in web shops who needed to do things differently than legacy-bound enterprises.
  • How enterprises faced with greenfield opportunities are now embracing devops
  • (5:36) The crowbar installer which employs Opscode’s Chef and allows the rapid provisioning of an OpenStack cloud.

Extra-credit reading:


Ubuntu cloud update — OpenStack, Eucalyptus, Ensemble & Orchestra

June 7, 2011

Today when I was walking the floor at the Cloud Expo here in New York, I ran into fellow Austinite Dustin Kirkland.  Dustin is the manager for systems integration team for Ubuntu.  I got Dustin to give me the low down on the most recent UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) that concluded a few weeks ago in Budapest:

Some of the ground that Dustin covers

  • The big areas of focus on the server side coming out of Budapest
  • Getting behind OpenStack as the Ubuntu IaaS platform
  • [1:09] The pioneering work they’ve done with Eucalyptus and how its use case differs from that of OpenStack
  • [2:05] The Ensemble project, a service orchestration framework for the cloud which is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth.
  • [3:59] Ubuntu Orchestra for cloud installation, provisioning and configuration management (using Puppet)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Dell’s Billion Dollar Baby

April 7, 2011

Today Dell is announcing that it is continuing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to its transformation into a solutions provider, this time to the tune of $1 Billion.  The goal of this investment, which is being made this year, is to provide customers with a complete set of resources and services to enable business agility, efficiencies and competitive advantage.

Specifically Dell is announcing:

  • Cloud Data Centers:  The building of multiple cloud data centers around the world that will allow customers to take advantage of such offerings as Infrastructure as a Service, Desktop as a Service, Storage as a Service and IT outsourcing.
  • Global Solutions Centers:  The creation of a network of global solutions centers to help customers architect, validate and build the efficient enterprise from the data center to the edge of the network.
  • New Solutions: New open, capable and affordable solutions for data management, client virtualization and data center virtualization:
    • Dell vStart: a single unit infrastructure solution that runs 100 to 200 vm’s and comes racked and cabled from the Dell factory.
    • Dell|Microsoft management and virtualization solutions partnership  to deliver integrated management solutions made up of Dell’s Virtual Integrated System, our Advanced Infrastructure Manager and Microsoft’s System Center.
    • Dell Email and File Archive Solutions
    • Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions

A little more detail:

Next generation cloud data centers

Over the next 24 months Dell is building out a host of cloud data centers around the world.  Rather than old-school, giant raised-floor data centers these cloud data centers will be much smaller (approximately 10,000 square feet), more efficient and designed to take advantage of modular, hyper-scale and high-density principles.  Dell’s modular strategy will let the company quickly expand capabilities as demand grows.

These data centers will feature private, public and hybrid cloud options.  They will provide the foundation for Dell’s next generation services and solutions and offer IaaS, and SaaS capabilities as well as IT outsourcing for customers.

Global solutions center network

This year Dell will open 12 Global Solutions centers and is planning ten more over the next 18 months.  These centers are customer facing facilities that will act as a “living lab” providing an environment and the support for customers to architect, build and test proof of concepts involving Dell products, services and solutions.  The centers will also support solution integration, technical briefings and validation and ISV certification to meet regional requirements.

Starting with the upgrading of the existing Austin, Limerick and Frankfurt centers, further facilities will be opened this year in the Americas (Washington DC, Chicago, Northern California and Brazil), APJ (Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney) and EMEA (Paris).

With today’s announcement Dell his taken its evolution into a services and solutions company and kicked it up a notch.  In the “Virtual Era” technology is rapidly changing and it along with new delivery models such as cloud are changing the way businesses operate and create advantage.   Through its cloud and solution centers and new solution offerings Dell is bringing new ways to help customers harness and leverage these changes.

Pau for now…


Dell provides Ubuntu-powered IaaS-in-a-box

February 3, 2011

Yesterday, the announcement went out that the Dell | Canonical Enterprise Cloud, Standard Edition was out and ready for consumption.  What this cloud-in-a-box allows folks to do is to set-up affordable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas)-style private clouds in their computer labs or data centers.  The cool thing is that, because the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) software  is compatible with Amazon Web Services EC2 and S3 services, it enables IT admins and developers to move workloads between public and private clouds.

Who cares?

Application developers and IT service providers and admins who are setting up cloud POC’s are perfect candidates for this pre-configured testing and development environment.  With regards to industries, areas where there is a lot of software development work like Hosters, Telco & Communications, Media & Entertainment and Web 2.0 businesses are prime markets for the Dell UEC solution.

So what’s in it?

The solutions’ basic components are Dell PowerEdge C systems plus a Dell-specific download of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (made up of the Ubuntu operating system and the Eucalyptus platform for private cloud computing).  To simplify getting the whole shebang up and running Dell and Canonical are providing the following:

Here’s a peak at the hardware that supports it:

The Dell UEC cloud solution pod.

  • Cloud Compute Server – PowerEdge C6100 that embeds four discrete compute nodes in a single enclosure
  • Cloud Front-end Server – PowerEdge C2100 server that acts as an all-in-controller and runs all shared UEC-related services
  • Infrastructure Server – PowerEdge C2100 that runs two components of the cloud infrastructure:
    • Cloud Deployment and Landscape Management
    • Cloud Storage
  • Network switch – PowerConnect 6248

And on the software side…

The architecture looks something like this:

The Dell UEC cloud solution architecture

The software components are:

  • Cloud Controller (CLC) – the cloud portal
  • Walrus Controller (W) – the cloud’s storage repository
  • Cluster Controller (CC) – the controller for a up to 1024 compute cores grouped together as a cluster
  • Storage Controller (SC) – the controller for cluster’s storage repository
  • Compute Node (CN) – cloud’s compute node

And on the support side…

If you’re looking for systems management and support services with your order, you are in luck.  Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has put together UEC Assist, a support service built specifically for Dell customers deploying SE Edition and which is delivered by Canonical’s Global Services and Support team.

Its all about efficiency

From a Dell DCS (the group at Dell behind this) point of view, this offering fits in well with our strategy of bringing total solutions to market that optimize efficiency at every layer, from code to servers to storage.  The open source Dell UEC solution is tailor made to deliver a ready to go IaaS solution.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now..


NASA’s chief cloud architect talks OpenStack

July 16, 2010

At the inaugural design summit for OpenStack, an open source set of technologies for building clouds, Nebula’s chief architect Josh McKenty played a prominent role in leading the assembled folks.  I caught Josh during a break and chatted with him about Nebula and NASA’s role in the newly announced OpenStack project.  Here’s what he had to say:

Some of the topics Josh tackles:

  • What is Nebula (hint: NASA’s, primarily IaaS, cloud computing platform)
  • The history of Nebula and how it morphed from nasa.net.
  • Why NASA wants a cloud – and the importance of having an elastic set of resources.
  • NASA and Nebula’s use of open source and how it has evolved (they don’t simply fling tarballs over the wall anymore and they can use licenses other than the “NASA open source agreement”)
  • A match made in heaven:  NASA has put together a strong compute platform and was looking to building a real object store,  Rackspace had a strong object store and work looking for a new compute platform.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


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