Can I have OpenStack with Open Compute?

On January 29th, I logged onto the Open Compute Project Summit V live stream just in time to catch two technology titans, Mark Andreessen, a venture capitalist who had co-founded the Mosaic web browser and Netscape, and Andy Bechtolsheim, Chairman of Arista and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Andy noted that, just ten years ago, hardware was too expensive for a service like Facebook to be feasible. Today, it is possible and Facebook has opened their technology to the world via the Open Compute Project. Together, Andy and Mark talked about the combination of open hardware and open source as a disruptive force that will radically reduce the costs of hardware and enable innovate cloud services.

Later in the summit, a panelist brought up the pairing of Open Compute hardware with OpenStack management software. To express how much of a fit Open Compute and OpenStack were, someone used an analogy that the combination was like peanut butter and jelly. It is an analogy which likely makes more sense those of us who grew up in the USA. Coupling OpenStack and Open Compute sounded compelling so I did a quick search and found a blog post by Rob Ober, “AIS: Open Compute and OpenStack – “peanut butter and jelly”. In that post, Rob talks about his experience moderating a panel discussion about the two open source initiatives.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

After reading Rob’s blog post and watching part of the Open Compute Project Summit, it definitely feels that we should expect significant change in data centers and that those changes will happen faster than we might think. Here is an excerpt from Rob’s post.

Open Compute and OpenStack are changing the datacenter world that we know and love. I thought they were having impact. Changing our OEMs and ODM products, changing what we expect from our vendors, changing the interoperability of managing infrastructure from different vendors. Changing our ability to deploy and manage grid and scale-out infrastructure. And changing how quickly and at what high level we can be innovating. I was wrong. It’s happening much more quickly than I thought.

On November 20-21 we hosted LSI AIS 2013. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to moderate a panel about Open Compute and OpenStack – “the perfect storm.” Truthfully? It felt more like sitting with two friends talking about our industry over beer.

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