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THIS JUST IN: Dell Announces ARM Server Ecosystem and Acceleration Programs

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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Dell's "Copper" ARM server

If you’ve followed some of the technology advances in the processor space, you’ve no doubt heard of the ARM architecture. We’ve seen ARM processors in a number of client devices, but they’ve not been widely adopted for server use due to additional feature needs, performance, and limited software ecosystem.

Well, today, Dell (the company I work for) announced some of the work we are doing behind ARM and ARM-based servers.

ARM, which stands for “advanced RISC machine,” is a 32-bit RISC instruction set architecture developed by ARM Holdings. In the server context, it can allow systems to be deployed at the chip level to reduce space, power consumption and cost.

Dell has been testing with ARM since 2010, and has been working with customers to understand how they could benefit from the ARM architecture, as well as what their expectations were regarding ARM-based servers.

Dell “Copper” ARM-based server

DellToday, we announced development of “Copper”, an ARM-based microserver, optimized for the current maturity of the ARM server market, which is primarily focused on test / dev and ARM-based technology to test and optimize code. And for this predominant use case, the Copper server is a great fit in terms of size and costwith its lightweight design, low-power-consumption and excellent density.

Dell’s Copper server is specifically designed for this market, with a small acquisition size and price, lower power consumption, and ease of use, and if you’ve followed our open source solution to date, you know that enabling open source development is important to us.

Enabling customers and the ecosystem

Testing to date has found compelling performance per dollar and performance per watt advantages for workloads like LAMP stack based web front ends and Hadoop applications. In that vein, we’ve partnered with TACC, the Texas Advanced Computing Center to help work through workloads, use cases, etc. We are also working with key open source partners like Canonical and Cloudera to help drive this space as well.

And for those who follow our Cloud and Big Data solutions (like the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solutions, the Dell Cloudera Hadoop Solution, and Crowbar), you’ll be happy to know what our team intends to enable ARM in Crowbar as well. It has proven to be a great tool in deploying our solutions on bare metal and managing the overall solutions that we see a great fit for it in the ARM use case.

We’re obviously very excited about this announcement, so I’d welcome you to check out the links on the ARM / Copper announcement at the end of this blog and in the video below.

Until next time,

JBGeorge
@jbgeorge

Dell Announces ARM Enablement

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THIS JUST IN: Dell Announces the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution

July 26, 2011 6 comments

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On the heels of the one year anniversary of the OpenStack open source cloud operating system – here’s some awesome news…

Dell (the company I work for) announces the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, the market’s first hardware + software + services OpenStack solution for customers seeking to build out their own OpenStack clouds!

Let’s take a look under the hood, shall we?
  

Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution

Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution

Hardware (Dell PowerEdge C cloud optimized servers)

 Built on a reference architecture honed since DAY ONE of the OpenStack movement, the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution offers a hardware configuration featuring cloud optimized Dell PowerEdge C servers.  Dell has built cloud infrastructure for some of the biggest names in the world, like Facebook and Microsoft Azure, and have used those learnings to develop the highly dense, power-efficient PowerEdge C servers that the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution has been architected with.

  

Software (Dell Crowbar deploying and managing the OpenStack cloud platform)

When Dell began testing OpenStack in mid 2010, we were installing it, testing it, blowing it away, reinstalling it, tweaking it, blowing it away, reinstalling it… you get the picture.  And it wasn’t trivial.  These deployments took considerable time, effort, and expertise, so we developed the Dell Crowbar software framework extending Opscode’s Chef automation, which can deploy MULTI-NODE OpenStack clouds in hours or even minutes, rather than days when done manually.   (Anyone remember our team deploying a 6 node Nova and Swift OpenStack deployment in 29 minutes at CloudConnect?)   Crowbar enables BIOS and RAID setup and configuration, network setup, deploys open source tools like Nagios and Ganglia for monitoring, and much more.  

And hey, we’re a community here, right?  So here’s what the OpenStack community has been waiting to hear – Dell has now open sourced Crowbar!  We’ve made it available to the open source community via our Github site, which is linked below.   My partner in crime, Rob Hirschfeld, goes into Crowbar deep on his blog, so I’ve provided a link to his site below as well.  (FYI – we are still working through some of the legal aspects of BIOS and RAID capabilities, but decided to open source the rest of Crowbar while we work it out.)

And speaking of support…

    

Services (Dell Services + Rackspace Cloud Builders)

After a year of being in OpenStack, we’ve built up some expertise, so Dell Services, along with our partner Rackspace Cloud Builders, will be offering a plethora of services to help you make your OpenStack cloud a reality.

  • Consulting
  • Deployment
  • Training
  • Support for the entire solution – HW, Crowbar, OpenStack, etc
  • And a host of other services direct from Dell Services

When you get the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, you can call Dell for support on any aspect of the solution, and we’ll help you figure it out, with our crack support teams, our OpenStack engineers, and our OpenStack partners.

And those are the basics. 

  

Fast. Easy. Now.  The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution

Fast. Easy. Now. The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution

A few more comments….

Let me just say – I am proud that we’ve delivered this solution to market, but even PROUDER to be part of a company had the vision to see the potential of OpenStack on Day One.  Yes, that’s a big deal to me.

I’d like to call out a number of partners we’ve worked with to get to this point – Rackspace, Citrix, Opscode, Canonical, Intel, and others – the community is a big deal in OpenStack, and it’s great to have their support in this announcement.   I’m also very happy that one of our first Dell OpenStack customers, DreamHost, is a part of this announcement as well with a full case study on how they’re doing OpenStack with Dell.  (HINT: they’re neck deep in Crowbar and loving it!) 

We plan to celebrate the announcement big time at OSCON, so if you’re here, come by the Dell booth – demos, gear, giveaways, etc.   And our breakout session will be on Thursday (10:40am in room E-141) – “Prying Open the Cloud with Dell Crowbar and OpenStack” – Rob will present the deep down details on Crowbar. 
(And if you want to get in on the celebration, feel free to tweet the news and your thoughts – be sure to use hashtags #Dell, #OpenStack and #Crowbar…)

 

So What’s Next?

Time for YOU to start using this.  The Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, Crowbar, all of it.   Talk to your Dell rep, emaial us at OpenStack@Dell.com, download Crowbar, start building Crowbar barclamps, discuss it in the forums, etc…  and get started building OpenStack clouds with Dell.
  

More info:

Until next time,

JBG
@jbgeorge

OpenStack’s First Year: How a Committed Community Made a Difference

July 23, 2011 Leave a comment

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You know the saying:  “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

This week has been a crazy one, so I didn’t get to chime in on Tuesday with my thoughts on the one year anniversary of OpenStack.

So today, I took some time to think back over the last year, and I realized how far we’ve come as a technology and as a community.  

In addition to the solid OpenStack technology that is being guided by market requirements and pushing the envelope, I believe that the unique set of OpenStack developers, partners, and users has helped get it to where it is. 

Pardon me, while I stroll through memory lane…
  

Design Summits

  • Austin Design Summit (July 13 – 14, 2010) – I’m not sure if we could have called this one a design summit as it was more of a meeting of minds, lots of ideas, and a ton of excitement about this new platform called OpenStack.  Got to hear from both Rackspace and NASA on the code bases, and how this could change the market.  I specifically recall our group of cloud solution attendees from Dell (the company I work for) talking about how much potential this technology had.  (And besides, this meeting was in our home town!)
      
    OpenStack was announced publicly for the first time a few days later on the 19th.  Dell was among a handful of companies who believed in the initiative back then – it was early – and we had to have vision.
      
  • San Antonio Design Summit (Nov 9 – 12, 2010) – This was held at the Weston Centre in San Antonio, and I remember thinking “where did all these people come from???”   We had a lot of international presence there from the UK, France, Japan, and other parts of the world.  It was exciting to think that in just four months, we’d already started going global. I also recall we started talking to the business of OpenStack – licenses, brands, etc, which was a good sign of progress.
      
    Dell did our part as well – Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus, a couple of Dell OpenStack rockstars, each spoke on OpenStack deployment, reference architectures, and operational models. We also contributed gear for the InstallFest later that week, made up of PowerEdge C6100s and C2100s  (I also remember giving quite a few tours of the “server room” to see what Austin release was running on.)  
        
  • Santa Clara Design Summit (Apr 26 – 29, 2011)– Our first design summit on the west coast!  This one is still pretty fresh in my mind, but what blew me away was again, the growth!  The community grew and became more sophisticated.  Those that were learning at the first two design summits were blossoming experts at this design summit, having lived through the evolution of OpenStack.  Though I’m sure it was logistically nuts for the organizers as they greatly exceeded capacity, it was a great indicator that we were on to something special.
      
    The Dell team gave it our all here as well – Rob gave a session on what Dell was doing with OpenStack and Crowbar, and my favorite – daily live demos of Crowbar deploying multi-node OpenStack clouds on bare metal servers! (I’d time our guys – the best time was 29 min minutes for a 6 node OpenStack cloud running on Dell PowerEdge C 6100’s – not too shabby! 
      
    (Anyone remember the Crowbar bunny shirts?)
     

Year One Partners

I just checked the OpenStack.org site, and at THIS MOMENT, there are 91 partners in the community.  (Depending on when you read this, there could / will be more.)

You’ll find a number of key industry players there – Rackspace, Dell, Citrix, Intel, AMD, Cisco, Canonical, Brocade, Arista, Opscode, and more.  And this group has done a lot to further the intiative over the last year. 

Here are a list of a few examples. 

  • Rackspace announcing the creation of Rackspace Cloud Builders, who’s purpose in life is to service customers on OpenStack deployment, training, support, and consulting.
  • Citrix announcing Project Olympus and a distribution of OpenStack to come soon
  • Dell announces the Crowbar deployment software for OpenStack, and our intention to release an OpenStack solution to market
  • Canonical announces their intention to make OpenStack the default cloud platform in the Ubuntu operating system
  • Equinix’s sponsoring of a live OpenStack demo enviornment w support from Dell, Rackspace, and Citrix
  • Real live production usage by companies like Internap

What a year. 

I’d venture to say those of us who were there on Day 1 believed this was going to be big, but we’re excited that it has been adopted by the cloud community as much as it has.

And to all the partners, develeopers, and users who have made the first year amazing – I salute you.

We’re on to something big.   🙂
      

If you want to learn more about what Dell has done with OpenStack over the last year, and see if what we’re building is a fit for you, email us at OpenStack@Dell.com.
   

More info on OpenStack and the one year anniversary:

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge