What's the Difference Between OpenStack & A Cloud Management Platform?

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1 What's the Difference Between OpenStack & A Cloud Management Platform? White Paper Zefflin Systems LLC

2 Table of Contents 1. Introduction What is a Cloud Management Platform? What is OpenStack and What Does it Do? Comparing Business Processes Architecture Showing How OpenStack and a CMP Work Together Leading Cloud Management Platforms Additional Perspective About Zefflin... 12

3 1. Introduction Any company that is moving toward cloud technologies, whether public, private or hybrid, will have to examine options in order to choose the most cost effective, resource-efficient, methods, processes and products. Options will certainly include OpenStack as well as a Cloud Management platforms. Many people mistakenly believe that OpenStack is a Cloud Management Platform (CMP). The misconception stems from several sources, including confusion from research analysts (http://buff.ly/1mlgqtm) and the media (http://buff.ly/1mlgucx ), who often refer to OpenStack as a Cloud Management Platform. The misunderstanding is also symptomatic of the general lack of education about OpenStack that exists today. The truth of the matter is that while OpenStack has some characteristics of a CMP, to properly manage public, private or hybrid cloud environments, you have to look to a true CMP. In this publication we will help define what OpenStack is, how it differs from a Cloud Management Platform, and compare/contrast OpenStack with leading CMPs on the market today. We will also examine the differences, overlapping functionality and how OpenStack can and should be used on conjunction with a CMP. Together, OpenStack and a CMP can be effectively utilized to automate the entire lifecycle of complex, cloud-based computing environments, from the time they are requested to the time they are torn down, and everything in between. 2. What is a Cloud Management Platform? In today s global enterprise, the necessity for a single point of entry and management to highly diverse and complicated IT resources throughout the enterprise (from top to bottom) creates the requirement for one tool to manage a fleet of other tools. The Cloud Management Platform in the context of an IT organization with a Lights out Datacenter takes on the candidacy to be this single point. A platform is just that a conglomeration of multiple tools, in this case used to manage everything within the catchall term Cloud. The Cloud potentially includes bare metal servers, power to actual racks and all of the functions of any application running in that datacenter. The Internet of Things includes a CMP having scope over everything from applications to infrastructure. The concept of a CMP is relatively new, but the idea of automating the provisioning and lifecycle of computing environments is not. Over the last 10 years, individual solutions have evolved in the form of a single, integrated software tool that applies automation to management of the entire computing, P a g e Zefflin Systems. All rights reserved

4 network and storage systems lifecycle. As IT environments have become increasingly complex with the adoption of public and private cloud architectures, IT organizations are looking to manage that immense complexity with a single management console. The integrated Cloud Management Platform is that single point of management, representing the first step in the journey to the lights out data center. Figure 1. The evolution of the Cloud Management Platform. It evolved in phases that came together. The first integrated Cloud Management Platform appeared in the mid-2000 s, although it was not known as a CMP at that time. It was targeted at what was to become the largest segment of the public cloud market, customers who are trying to manage cloud environments on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Most modern CMPs have appeared since 2010, and many new ones continue to enter the market today, making it a crowded vendor landscape, full of variation in approach and buyer. For example, some CMPs target the application development organization which uses a virtualized environment, but does a significant amount of development on AWS. Others stress integration with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or target IT Operations as their ideal buyer. Aside from the variations, they all have one thing in common: automating the lifecycle of development and production computing environments as shown in Figure 2 below, enabling efficient management of complex cloud environments with minimal resources. P a g e 2

5 Figure 2. Cloud Management Platforms automate these processes. Orchestration functionality is usually embedded into the CMP, although the level of functionality varies greatly. Orchestration is key to automating the processes described in Figure 2. This is due to the complex nature of the tasks, the wide variety of systems from which input must be collected, error handling, sequencing and enunciation. In most cases, a third party orchestration tool can be used to make up any shortfall in a CMP s native orchestration functionality. Cloud Management Platforms are designed to abstract away the supervisory management function from the lower level operations like provisioning of OS, storage and networking. As a result, they are ideally suited to a hybrid cloud environment and can manage compute loads running on the following platforms all under a single console, with a single set of processes and governing policies: P a g e 3

6 Cloud Management Platforms can manage all these environments simultaneously. Public Amazon Web Services RackSpace Cloud vcloud Air IBM SoftLayer Google Cloud MicroSoft Azure Private OpenStack VMware Cloudstack 3. What is OpenStack and What Does it Do? OpenStack is an open source, public domain software suite licensed under Apache 2.0. It is constantly evolving but has a set of core projects, specifically designed to manage the provisioning of cloud infrastructure, including compute (OS), storage and networking. P a g e 4

7 Figure 3. Layered view of OpenStack projects. Note that since this diagram, Marconi was renamed to Zaqar and Ironic was promoted from incubator status in the Kilo release of OpenStack. OpenStack is divided into specific modules, or projects, that perform specific functions like compute (OS), storage and networking. The breakdown and classifications are outlined in Figures 3 (above) and 4 (below). A list of core OpenStack projects and their associated functions is shown below. P a g e 5

8 Figure 4. OpenStack core projects and their associated function. In contrast to a Cloud Management Platform, OpenStack is focused primarily on the lifecycle of infrastructure, including compute, storage and networking. Its architecture is designed to be modular, so users can pick and choose which projects to implement according to business needs and have minimal concerns about dependencies. OpenStack is also designed so third party technologies can be bolted on easily via APIs. For example, Software Defined Networking (SDN) products like VMWare NSX or PlumGrid can be integrated to Neutron via a plugin without changing or writing code. OpenStack adoption is gaining momentum across the world, with both large and small companies. It s reliability, scalability and security have been established by enterprise companies like Walmart (http://buff.ly/1mlh2j6 ), AT&T (http://buff.ly/1mlh5ex ), Bank of America, ebay, Comcast, DirecTV and others running it in production. Walmart used OpenStack to manage its production environment for the entire 2014 holiday season. A summary of key OpenStack adoption metrics is shown in Figure 5. P a g e 6

9 Figure 5. OpenStack adoption summary statistics. 4. Comparing Business Processes There are distinct differences between Cloud Management Platforms and OpenStack with respect to which business processes are automated. OpenStack is infrastructure-centric, while CMPs provide supervisory functions over management of infrastructure. In addition, CMPs typically manage application provisioning and configuration, provide general purpose orchestration and handle multiple cloud platforms simultaneously to support hybrid cloud environments. P a g e 7

10 Figure 6. OpenStack versus CMP and which business processes are automated by each. As OpenStack has evolved, some overlap has developed, as shown below in Figure 7. For example, the OpenStack community has added an application and service catalog. Although technically overlapping, some of the other functions illustrated vary in approach compared to a CMP. For instance, the monitoring capability of OpenStack (the Ceilometer project handles this) is more focused on infrastructure involving the status of the OpenStack deployment itself. Cloud Management Platforms will integrate with Ceilometer, but also to other network, log, application or systems monitoring tools to provide a complete picture of the health of the entire stack and ecosystem. P a g e 8

11 Figure 7. OpenStack and Cloud Management Platforms common functions. 5. Architecture Showing How OpenStack and a CMP Work Together Cloud Management Platforms are intended to provide supervisory control over many environments, including OpenStack. This means that a CMP could be controlling an AWS or Azure public cloud at the same time it is controlling an OpenStack private cloud environment, using one set of processes, and governing policies. As a result, a CMP is aware of OpenStack, but not the other way around. Because of this, it is common to implement architectures as shown in Figure 8 below, where a CMP and OpenStack work together in a complimentary way. P a g e 9

12 Figure 8. Architecture diagram showing co-existence and coordination between OpenStack and a Cloud Management Platform. 6. Leading Cloud Management Platforms The list of leading Cloud Management Platforms shown in Figure 9 is not a complete list. New CMPs appear regularly, with large degrees of specialization, by vertical market or buyer (Application Development versus IT Operations). We have endeavored to list the top providers in the market today and highlighted several factors that we think are important when choosing or evaluating a Cloud Management Platform. P a g e 1 0

13 Figure 9. Important items to consider when evaluating leading Cloud Management Platform providers. 7. Additional Perspective Cloud Management Platforms serve a unique and ever more critical function in enabling a small number of resources to manage a highly complex computing environment. In fact, at a certain scale, the ROI of cloud computing cannot be fully realized without the adoption of a Cloud Management Platform and its associated policies, procedures and processes. OpenStack is simply one of the critical technologies that CMPs can manage and automate. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is being adopted by many application development organizations. PaaS can also be integrated into a CMP, where provisioning and management of application development environments can be performed in a policy-based, consistent and automated manner. PaaS cannot be implemented into OpenStack. PaaS can run on top (in addition to and consume) OpenStack, but is not an integrated functional part of OpenStack. Other functions within OpenStack, like Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) can be implemented in OpenStack without a CMP. If you need to manage those functions across multiple OpenStack instances or other cloud environments like VMWare, Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM SoftLayer, you will need a CMP. P a g e 1 1

14 We hope that this white paper will clear up common misconceptions about OpenStack and Cloud Management Platforms. Please send comments or feedback to or through our blog at 8. About Zefflin Zefflin is focused exclusively on Data Center Automation and Cloud Management solutions implementation and integration. As a worldclass, agile, center of excellence, our aim is to work with best of breed software, combined with the industry's top technical consulting and integration talent. We provide consulting services in data center strategy, DevOps Transformation, DevOps automation, Cloud Management, OpenStack consulting and software implementation. We cut through the hype, identifying which tools can be implemented and integrated to effectively automate application development and IT operations. We offer high quality, cost effective solutions addressing the automation of the entire lifecycle of complex computing environments, from request/catalog management, automated provisioning (OS, application, database, storage, network), to policy governance and compliance. Our vision is to bring to market solutions that enable the lights-out data center. This will allow our customers to implement fully automated private, public and hybrid cloud systems, delivering low cost, high quality services to their customers while minimizing cost. Our current software resale and implementation portfolio includes Scalr and Red Hat CloudForms for cloud management and Cloudify for cloud orchestration, as well as support for all major OpenStack distributions. P a g e 1 2

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