Dell and Red Hat’s OpenStack journey to the enterprise 

What do 2 leading IT companies do with a partnership that goes back 15 years? For Red Hat and Dell, the answer is to cultivate an integrated OpenStack solution specifically for enterprise private cloud deployment.

Dell’s Arkady Kanevsky, director of software development, and Randy Perryman, network and solution architect, joined Red Hat senior principal software engineer Steven Reichard to describe how the solution has come together over the last 18 months.

So why the partnership?

“We have 15+ years of joint experience working closely together to make things customers actually want, not just what we want to sell,” said Reichard. “This partnership uses the best hardware for OpenStack with Dell’s servers and switches and the best software for OpenStack, with Red Hat’s complete stack co-engineered to work together.”

Working closely together might be an understatement–Dell engineers were embedded within Red Hat for better collaboration from the start. Initially created as a reference architecture, the solution now has several deployments across multiple enterprise customers.

“We made the reference architecture as flexible as possible,” said Perryman, “So you can choose how many virtual machines you want, plus their sizes, tenants, data, and performance.” The solution is now on version 5, and deployment time has been reduced by half with each release.

Perryman walked the crowd through a demo of a highly available solution for Neutron (OpenStack’s networking project), inducing failure in a server to show how long it took to recover. The screen doesn’t lie: Once one went down, the solution load-balanced between the 2 controllers in seconds.

“OpenStack is constantly changing, so we don’t want to give you bleeding edge when you install. It’s stable from the start,” said Reichard.

Each release generally mirrors OpenStack’s 6-month release schedule, though Dell and Red Hat engineers take a little extra time to do some bug finding and fixing before shipping out the joint solution. The next release is coming soon and will be based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7, which is, in turn, based on Kilo.

Future versions will include more hardware options for each component (servers, network, storage), and will integrate more OpenStack and partner components “when we think they’re mature enough and ready,” according to Reichard.