Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Sunday, June 25, 2017
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IBM Leverages OpenStack for Hybrid Workloads 

IBM said during this week's OpenStack Summit it would shift those open-source services to its SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure, allowing customers to move OpenStack workloads across hybrid clouds.

IBM said its OpenStack Cloud Services would allow developers to launch applications on-premises as well as on public clouds hosted on SoftLayer platforms. Those applications would be scalable on the public cloud to handle, for example, usage spikes and big data workloads. Moreover, IBM said it was leveraging the interoperability of OpenStack to enable developers to build and test applications in a public cloud and then deploy applications and data across hybrid clouds.

By expanding access to its SoftLayer public cloud via OpenStack services, IBM said it could provide hybrid services across public, dedicated and "local" clouds. Those services were previously available only to its private and hosted cloud customers. The shift will help speed the deployment of applications from days to minutes, it claimed.

Along with expanding access to public clouds, IBM said it would manage and host its OpenStack infrastructure on a network of cloud datacenters. "This will allow developers and clients to better manage workloads including hosted enterprise applications, analytics, and web and mobile applications," the company said.

The public cloud services can run on either SoftLayer infrastructure or IBM's Bluemix cloud application development platform. IBM said its new public cloud services are in the beta stage until later this year.

"For OpenStack, over the past several years, it really has been about focusing that aperture," on enterprise hybrid cloud implementations, Angel Diaz, vice president of IBM Cloud Technology, told the summit.

IBM began basing all of its infrastructure-as-a-service offerings on OpenStack beginning in 2013. Last year, it invested nearly $1 billion to leverage the Cloud Foundry platform to develop the Bluemix platform-as-a-service as an implementation of its Open Cloud Architecture.

The cloud initiatives announced this week reflect a trend toward applying OpenStack interoperability across physical and virtual infrastructure as well as private and public clouds. Most cloud infrastructure vendors and OpenStack code contributors at the foundation's summit described their implementations of OpenStack as a way of advancing open hybrid clouds and other features like application portability.

William Franklin, vice president of OpenStack at HP Cloud, told the summit that customers want "no vendor lock-in and they are striving for portability of their workloads."

Vendors like Hewlett-Packard are trying leverage OpenStack interoperability to meet the growing demand for hybrid cloud computing. "You're going to have hybrid workloads" running on Linux servers, the web, even older mainframes. Some but not all of these workloads will shift to the cloud, but vendors like HP and IBM realize they must account for existing workloads and come up with ways to shift them and applications among different platforms. Hence, most have turned to OpenStack infrastructure while, in the case of IBM, pouring money into platforms like Cloud Foundry.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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