In many of my blogs, I have put an emphasis on EMC and the EMC Federation’s continued commitment to OpenStack. However, most of the blogs and talks have focused on current offerings, which are primarily drivers. This time I will give some insights on EMC’s strategy for the future. As with any discussions about the future, it is hard to unravel the specifics of the plan of action, so I will talk about broad areas of EMC’s focus. Since we have already contributed to Juno, which is the next release of OpenStack, I will be able to give examples and specifics citing our Juno contributions.
Drivers will continue to be our core output, providing the gateway for OpenStack users to consume EMC storage. As stated in my previous blog, all EMC business units are committed to providing cadence of driver releases. In Juno, we introduced a new member of our family to the community: we released the driver for XtremIO. This comes on top of refreshes from VMAX and VNX. The VMAX driver added the ‘Create volume from snapshot’ and ‘extend volume’ functionalities, which were previously missing. VMAX also added additional functionalities on storage groups, striped volumes, and FAST policies. VNX added a slew of new functionalities on top of core functionalities required by OpenStack.
The key to delivering drivers is not just protocol conversion, but also exposing underlying capabilities of storage arrays. This is the reason drivers are developed by individual storage business units at EMC, rather than a separate centralized organization. The VNX direct driver, for example, added security and high availability features support listed above. Expect this to be part of our driver strategy moving forward.
Advanced Data Services
Data services are arguably where EMC has the most to offer, starting with the secret sauces on Data Protection. I believe that EMC’s leadership and contributions in this area are going to be a key part to the adoption of OpenStack in Enterprise. Starting in Juno, EMC’s Xing Yang proposed and led an initiative within Cinder to develop Consistency Groups. Consistency Groups are a grouping mechanism used to track interdependencies between VMs, for disaster recovery and the ability to capture and validate application (VM) requirements. If and when the contributions get accepted, it will immediately allow us to create dependencies for snapshots. In the future, we will be able to use it for other activities like backup, restore, and possibly replication.
Another data service that EMC, along with NetApp, have been actively working on is a File Service called Manila. Manila is a multitenant, secure file share as a service, and it has NFS and CIFS protocol support for right now. EMC had shown a demo prototype of the service, on VNX, at the last OpenStack summit and at EMC World. EMC has also contributed Manila driver for VNX. We just got the exciting news that Manila has been accepted as an incubation project for Juno, which means that it will likely be an integrated project in the K release.
Lastly, my personal favorite is going to be the focus on Solutions. We have hired Kenneth Hui, a prominent member of the OpenStack community, to help in creating EMC’s enterprise grade OpenStack solutions strategy. EMC is committed to helping our customer be successful with the deployment and operations of their OpenStack cloud. Stay tuned for information on this topic in the next few months. To start with, I had mentioned in my earlier blog that EMC is working on fixing Nova (compute) bugs on block volume backed Live Migration solution. We have fixed those bugs and contributed them back to the community, and the fixes have been reviewed and accepted. Yes – you can now do live migration using block volumes, while using standard iSCSI or Fibre Channel protocols.
That was a brief glimpse of what you can expect from EMC on OpenStack, in the near future. Drop in a note if you want to discuss details. Hopefully you are as excited as I am on the Solutionization of OpenStack. Go stackers!