The chips are down

IBM goes all-in on OpenStack

Chris Mayer

Big Blue feels it’s time to open up their cloud architecture ahead of OpenStack’s Grizzly release.

OpenStack, the collaborative cloud infrastructure project,
has received a huge boost with the news that IBM will be basing its
entire cloud architecture on the open source

With the company having
joined the OpenStack Foundation
as a
Platinum Member in April 2012, the move should hardly come as a
. However, until now Big Blue
were extremely coy on where OpenStack would fit into their

That is, until yesterday’s
Pulse Conference
, where they revealed the first
step would be to offer a new private cloud based on OpenStack,
before moving the rest of the portfolio across. This is good news
for IBM’s customers,
who are now able to mix and match
between OpenStack software and hardware vendors
effectively eliminating vendor lock-in.

Alongside the announcement, IBM revealed two
proprietary tools for managing OpenStack instances. The first
SmartCloud Orchestrator, used to
control applications across public and private clouds. Users
monitor the lifecycle of the
, while being shown the configurations of
compute, storage and networking resources in a graphical interface.
In addition, IBM have unveiled SmartCloud Monitoring Application
Insight for monitoring applications in real-time, and two further
beta programs surrounding analytics, which are currently

The company say the move “will ensure that innovation in
cloud computing is not hampered by locking businesses into
proprietary islands”.

“History has shown that open source and standards are hugely
beneficial to end customers and are a major catalyst for
innovation,” said Robert LeBlanc, IBM senior vice president of
software. “Just as standards and open source revolutionized the Web
and Linux, they will also have a tremendous impact on cloud

OpenStack Executive Director, Jonathan Bryce told

IT World Canada
that IBM’s
decision to “make it a core part of their cloud strategy” is “huge”
for the OpenStack community.

While IBM isn’t one of the biggest cloud names out there,
going all-in on OpenStack alongside other aspiring companies could
help give them at least a tilt at undisputed champion Amazon Web
Services. In turn, Big Blue’s backing of the infrastructure project
does help cement its maturity – a constant stumbling block in
OpenStack’s three years of existence.

As a founding member of the OpenStack
Foundation, IBM were almost certainly going to open up their
architecture once a number of major releases had been met. The
seventh, Grizzly, is scheduled for April and IBM feel the time is
right to put their enterprise weight behind it just prior to its
arrival. The question is – which other foundation vendors will be
following their lead?

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