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March 11, 2011

Appliance Deployment: Dell Powers PowerEdge-C Servers Using OpenStack

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor


Rackspace Hosting, which in partnership with NASA started the OpenStack cloud management solution last July, has maintained a heavy focus on deployment, support, and training services for the open source cloud platform, and Dell, a longtime OpenStack partner, want some of the action too.

The Dell PowerEdge-C servers are a mixture in between the general purpose PowerEdge machines you can purchase through Dell's online store and the machinery that its Data Center Solution (DCS) unit creates--for the top 30 data centers in the world.

Dell commercialized the PowerEdge-C machines last March, providing customers with a product that was similar to what an SMB shop might buy in rack servers, and the tens of thousands of units that a Microsoft or a Facebook buys for their respective Web applications. These machines are, as Joseph George, senior strategist for cloud solutions at the DCS unit, said, for "the next 1,000 customers."

Even though the Nova compute cloud from NASA and Swift (News - Alert) compute cloud from Rackspace are relatively new, they are offering a great amount when speaking about openness and scalability—compared to alternatives from VMware, Eucalyptus Systems, and Citrix Systems (News - Alert). Dell has recently began to offer its own expertise to help customers put together proof of concept clouds; based on the combination of the OpenStack code and the PowerEdge-C iron, an article stated. "The code base has evolved enough for telcos, managed service providers, and hosters to start testing," says George.

The PowerEdge-C hardware includes various tray servers rack machine, using either Intel Xeon or Advanced Micro Devices (News - Alert) Opteron processors.

In order to give its PowerEdge-C machines an edge over other boxes that can run on OpenStack-based cloudy infrastructure - Dell's software engineers designed a new installer that can fluff OpenStack onto bare-metal PowerEdge-C machines.

On a six-node test cloud that previously took days to configure with OpenStack, George says that Dell can now have the whole thing up and running in a matter of hours. This includes BIOS configuration on the machines, network setup, and installing add-on software needed for the cloud; such as Nagios for system monitoring, and Ganglia for cluster monitoring.

Dell finally started shipping clouds based on Canonical's Ubuntu (News - Alert) Enterprise Cloud, a combination of the widely used Linux operating system and the Eucalyptus cloud framework, back in early February. Dell said last March when the PowerEdge-C machines were launched, that it would fluff up UEC clouds on its quasi-custom servers, as well as data analytics appliances from Aster Data and Greenplum.


Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein


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