In the race for vendor dominance in enterprise cloud computing, IBM Corp. is placing its bet behind open architectures, and in particular the OpenStack operating system for creating and managing public and private clouds.
The company said Monday that from now on its cloud services and software will be based on OpenStack and not proprietary technology.
IBM has been an early backer of OpenStack as it developed: this announcement means the technology will increasingly be found in IBM software.
“We have made the decision to fully adopt OpenStack in our products and services,” Robert Leblanc, senior vice-president of IBM Software, told reporters in a conference call. IBM “will be sitting here on top of set of OpenStack standards” with various tools and services.
The technology has reached “a level of maturity and innovation” to base new cloud products on.
IT departments work in a world of interoperability is important, he explained, and cloud innovation will rely on the ability to bring various public and private services together. To do that, he said, organizations will want “plug and play” solutions.
As proof of its word IBM released SmartCloud Orchestrator, which it says lets companies deploy workloads across public and private clouds. Because it is built on OpenStack any hypervisor can be used for the compute, storage or networking stack.
Orchestrator also supports emerging standards like TOSCA, a topology and orchestration specification for cloud apps that enable the creation of workload “patterns” that work across public and private clouds.
SmartCloud Orchestrator lets IT build new cloud services “in minutes,” IBM said, by automating application deployment and lifecycle management in the cloud, including compute, storage and network configuration, human task automation and integration with third party tools. SmartCloud Orchestrator will also include the ability to measure the cost of cloud services with metering and charge-back capabilities.
“Having an organization like IBM get very deeply involved in OpenStack and make it a core part of their cloud strategy is a huge thing for our community,” OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce told reporters of IBM’s decision. IBM is a founding partner of the foundation, along with Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat Inc., SUSE Linux, service provider Rackspace, U.S. carrier AT&T and Canonical (sponsor of Ubuntu Linux).
As an “operating system,” OpenStack alone won’t give an enterprise business value, he said. Other tools and applications running on top of it have to do that, he said, some of which will come from IBM.
Leblanc noted that IBM already the Open Standard for Lifecyle Collaboration, a Cloud Standards Customer Council (which now has 400 members) as well as open standards like Linked Data in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and TOSCA in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), to enhance cloud application portability.