Sunday, April 24, 2016

Blueprint: Top 10 Use Cases for OpenStack SDN

by Wendy Cartee, VP of Product Management and Marketing at PLUMgrid

Years ago, Linux opened up the data center and made it programmable, uncorking a Genie’s bottle of previously unimagined use cases, wealth and possibilities that became known as the cloud. For years after the data center became a software-programmable cloud, networking remained the bottleneck in an otherwise programmable environment. Today, we’re seeing a similar transformation with the advent of SDN and NFV. Launching in 2010, a free and open-source software infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform for cloud computing, OpenStack, made it easier to configure cloud infrastructure by linking compute, storage, and networking resources to support a range of use cases. Now, SDN is not just supporting but driving some of the biggest innovations in cloud services. Enabling users to easily deploy and manage resources from a single pane of glass, production services that used to take months to provision are now live in mere minutes.

To illustrate this evolution, here are 10 top use cases that have emerged for OpenStack SDN including both as-a-services and vertical examples:

XaaS Use Cases

Infrastructure as a Service – OpenStack’s compute, storage, and networking services were built to provide IaaS and through its 13 releases OpenStack has evolved to enable much more than IaaS.

IaaS enables achievement of strategic business objectives including faster time to revenue for customers, Opex and CapEx efficiency, and scale while overcoming the challenges of traditional provisioning with rapid time to revenue and the ability to address complex change management.

Platform as a Service – PaaS offers a ready-to-consume development environment, with databases, tools and libraries. Delivering similar business benefits to IaaS, PaaS enables application developers to immediately start writing code, significantly reducing time to production and speeding time to market for new applications.

Communications as a Service – Service providers who offer voice, video, and data services are now delivering more than just connectively and bandwidth. With Communications as a Service, OpenStack enables cloud-based delivery of unified communications, multi-site collaboration, and video conferencing without truck rolls.  

Streaming content and media services – Content providers are leveraging OpenStack to deliver streaming content and media such as movies, live television, videos, music, photographs, and more. The technology delivers on key business objectives such as increased service velocity to reduce churn and attract new subscribers with high application performance and the ability to control infrastructure costs while achieving scale.

Hadoop as a Service – Big data analysis requires the elasticity and resources provided by cloud infrastructures. With OpenStack, Hadoop as a Service offers easy to access big data services to scientists, and businesses alike to accelerate research and data analysis.

Container as a Service – As microservices drive application development for mobile and IoT, containers are providing rapid, lightweight resources for developers. Through several container projects, OpenStack is enabling container deployment and orchestration models including Docker, Mesos, and Kubernetes.

Vertical Use Cases

Financial cloud solution – Financial services require data center resources in highly secure, reliable, and compliant cloud environments. Through OpenStack’s Neutron project, the community is building firewalls with vendor plug-ins that add micro-segmentation, encryption, analytics, and enhanced high availability for resiliency.

Retail/ecommerce solution – Micro-segmentation, policy-based security, flexible workloads, and simplified installers are driving adoption for retailers. Retailers are increasingly leveraging OpenStack to build private clouds for ecommerce that reduce costs while increasing online revenues by enabling the agility required to accommodate rapidly changing consumer and client tastes.

Pharmaceutical/life sciences solution – Pharmaceuticals and life sciences are deploying OpenStack clouds for telemedicine, mobile applications, and research to enhance care and deliver private data center resources for security and compliance. Through micro-segmentation, OpenStack enables strict isolation of clients, data and applications that must be implemented at every level of the service architecture to comply with strict security and privacy rules and guidelines.

Government – Public sector groups including government, research, and education are deploying OpenStack clouds for enhanced research, collaboration, and online services. Private virtual domains that provide policy-based security and traffic isolation are key to enabling multi-tenancy that meet regulatory compliance.

According to the most recent OpenStack User Survey, the number one business driver for choosing OpenStack is the ability to accelerate innovation and better compete by deploying applications faster. Avoiding vendor lock-in and increasing operational efficiency were a close second. Of the seven drivers presented in this study, from the 67 percent of users surveyed who listed “Save money over alternative infrastructure choices” as a motivating factor—all of them listed it as their number one reason.

Top business drivers of OpenStack

Which industries use OpenStack and how?
The IT industry continues to dominate OpenStack users who took their survey, making up nearly two-thirds of all response. The top industry segments after IT were telecommunications (12 percent), academic/research (10 percent), and 2 percent each for film/media, finance, and manufacturing/industrial. However, IT supports a variety of uses with the cloud. As part of the top 10 use cases listed above, the IT services and uses provided by OpenStack include:  big data, call center, cable TV and ISP, data center/co-location, government identity and security, high-performance computing, online video games, professional services/IT consulting, public/private/hosting cloud services, software development/DevOps/delivery, storage solutions, system integrators, telco and networking and Web hosting and email hosting.



In just a few years, SDN has evolved networking to significantly impact the cloud, enabling it to continue apace with its accelerating rate of innovation. As illustrated above, the combination of SDN and OpenStack delivers agility and simplicity across a diverse range of use cases, from several instances of XaaS to a number of vertical industry-specific examples. As open source adoption has taken hold, the cloud and a large global community of open source contributors have made building out new use cases almost instantaneous. Although it took a decade for the cloud to find mainstream appeal, OpenStack was founded in 2010 and there are already 20+ million lines of code, 38,000 contributors from 178 countries and 583 companies supporting the community. Who knows what use cases and profitable new services have yet to be imagined?

Stay tuned and follow the OpenStack community or come to an OpenStack Summit near you to find out. The pace of innovative disruption is much faster now, so you won’t have to wait long.

About the Author

Wendy Cartee is VP of Product Management and Marketing at PLUMgrid, Inc., the leading innovator of secure cloud infrastructure for enterprises building private and public clouds.  With over 15 years of product management and marketing experience at prior companies such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, and HP Cloud, Wendy has defined solutions for data centers, WAN, Internet, and mobile infrastructure that generated billions in revenue. An avid technology and customer advocate, Wendy has 8 U.S. patents in networking technologies, all of which are deployed in some of the largest networks.  Wendy is listed in the CCIE Hall of Fame as the first 100 CCIEs in the world.  She has a BSEE from Cal Poly, MBA from Santa Clara University, and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program from the Graduate School of Business.

About PLUMgrid

PLUMgrid is the leader of secure and scalable virtual network infrastructure solutions for OpenStack clouds. PLUMgrid delivers industry leading software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions that enable modern data centers to connect tenants, applications and workloads efficiently across hypervisors, virtualized, container and bare metal architectures. PLUMgrid is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. and is funded by venture capital and strategic investors. Visit

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Akanda Updates its OpenStack Astara

Akanda announced its new Mitaka release for open source network orchestration and virtualization.

Akanda is the major contributor to OpenStack Astara, which is a vendor-agnostic solution for open source network orchestration and virtualization. Astara does not require an SDN controller.

DreamHost, which is a web and cloud hosting provider based in Los Angeles, is using Astara to support more than 2,000 customers with thousands of virtual machines (VMs).

New features in OpenStack Astara include:

  • Over-the-Top Network Functions - OpenStack operators can bring their own network function to any Layer 2 network. 
  • Advanced Features for High Network Availability - higher levels of reliability and scalability for Layer 3 services, such as routing, load-balancing, and application performance management.
  • Lightweight IPV6 VPNaaS - Astara can now support up to 16 million IPV6 VPNs over VXLAN. IPV6 VPNs are a lightweight alternative to more expensive MPLS-based VPNs, which can't be decoupled from network hardware without significant vendor support. Many network experts consider IPV6 VPNs to be foundational for hybrid cloud and IOT use cases.

"The Mitaka release of OpenStack Astara introduces web-scale to virtualized network services," said Henrik Rosendahl, CEO of Akanda. "It's all about software defined hardware choices; new features that allows cloud operators to scale up and out, and radically simple OpenStack Neutron deployment. We're also excited about new services such as IPV6 VPNs, which are elemental for hybrid cloud and IOT applications."

University of Cambridge Builds OpenStack with Mellanox

The University of Cambridge has selected Mellanox End-to-End Ethernet interconnect solution including Spectrum SN2700 Ethernet switches, ConnectX-4 Lx NICs and LinkX cables for its OpenStack-based scientific research cloud.

“The new generation of analytics-based research, with access to unprecedented volumes of data, coupled with the need to provide quick and secure access to computing and storage resources to the research community in and beyond UoC, have fueled the momentum behind an OpenStack cloud tailor-made for scientific research,” said Chole Jian Ma, Senior Director of Cloud Market Development, Mellanox. “Mellanox Ethernet interconnect solution enables UoC to deploy a high-throughput, low-latency cloud network fabric and leverage advanced offload and acceleration capabilities such as SR-IOV, RDMA, and VXLAN Offload that mitigate virtualization penalties.”

AT&T Teams with Globecomm for IoT Satellite Connectivity

AT&T is teaming up with Globecomm to launch a new service that allows satellite connectivity to work seamlessly with its cellular network.

The Globecomm satellite connectivity will help businesses connect their IoT assets all over the world.

“We’re offering a one-stop shop for IoT connectivity,” said Mike Troiano, vice president, AT&T IoT Solutions. “Our customers now have a flexible, reliable and highly secure service to monitor their assets nearly anywhere. They don’t have to choose one connectivity solution over the other – they can have the full package.”

“Businesses want more real-time visibility into their assets on a global scale,” said Jon Kirchner, senior vice president, Products and Corporate Strategy, Globecomm.  “We’re working with AT&T to offer seamless connectivity over a single platform. We’re helping businesses collect and analyze critical information wherever their assets are – to generate operational improvements and hard ROI – on land or at sea.”