AMD and Canonical create OpenStack in a rack

Want to use OpenStack for your private cloud, but don't want the headaches of setting it up? AMD and Canonical have a deal for you.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

A few months ago, Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, had an unexpected hit on its hands: the Ubuntu Orange Box. This OpenStack cloud in a box, although made from consumer-grade components, was the star of May's OpenStack Summit.

AMD and Canonical partner up to deliver a ready-to-run OpenStack private cloud for the enterprise.

Months later, Canonical is partnering with AMD to upgrade the OpenStack cloud in the box idea to an OpenStack cloud on a rack. Here, the notion is taken to enterprise levels with much higher-end hardware: AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 server. This set of rack-mounted servers comes with Ubuntu LTS 14.04 and OpenStack. To make it easy to set up and manage, the package comes with Canonical's Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Juju DevOps program.

First impressions: Canonical Orange Box and Juju (Gallery)

This package's point is to give big business its own OpenStack private cloud on a rack. In a statement, Dhiraj Mallick, AMD's corporate vice president and general manager of datacenter server solutions said, “AMD and Canonical have dedicated a tremendous amount of engineering resources to ensure an integrated solution that removes the complexity of an OpenStack technology deployment. The SM15000 server, Ubuntu LTS 14.04 and OpenStack is … filling a need in the industry for an OpenStack solution that can be deployed easily without spending a fortune on professional services or hiring teams of people.”

The SeaMicro SM15000 server used in this package is not for the the faint of heart or those with shallow wallets. The system comes in 10 rack units, it links 512 CPU cores, has 160 gigabits of I/O networking, and has more than five petabytes of storage with a 1.28 terabyte high-performance Freedom fabric.

Of course, as AMD is quick to remind would-be buyers, “The SM15000 server eliminates top-of-rack switches, terminal servers, hundreds of cables and thousands of unnecessary components for a more efficient and simple operational environment.” In other words, the SM15000 may not be cheaper, but it's still cheaper than the alternative. 

With this low cost and ease of deployment, AMD and Canonical hope to make this package attractive to CIOs and cloud and datacenter managers. By drastically reducing the cost and time needed to get up and running OpenStack, they believe that they can attract a large commercial audience.

That's quite a challenge with so many other companies, such as HP, Red Hat, and VMware all betting on OpenStack. Still, since Ubuntu is easily OpenStack's most popular operating system, and there are so many OpenStack-experienced architects and administrators out there, I expect this offering will find many interested corporate buyers.

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