More advances in open cloud architecture

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Open cloud momentum continues! As the demand for cloud increases, so does the demand for interoperability. There are more advancements everyday than I can cover here. But for all you looking ahead at “what’s coming next,” here’s some news about the next turn of the crank.

Juniper just announced integration with IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator, which as many of you know, leverages the great work of the OpenStack community for Cloud Infrastructures. You can read the details in the announcement here and here. But basically, Juniper’s announcing the availability of Juniper Contrail Networks — an SDN controller that virtualizes the network to enable automation and orchestration of hybrid cloud environments, elastic service chaining of network and security services — and with it, a new partnership with IBM that integrates Juniper Networks Contrail with IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator (SCO). This is a preview to the next phase of open cloud development — extending cloud through open Software Defined Environments (SDN).

SmartCloud Orchestrator (SCO) is where we combine the flexibility of an OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) with end-to-end orchestration and a self-service catalog of cloud applications. In a SmartCloud Orchestrator enabled cloud with Juniper’s SDN technology, we’re enabling people to drag and drop assemble entire cloud-hosted applications from the infrastructure, to the network services and all the way to installation of application code. Many of you understand the power of “scripting” the way the data center is managed. In many environments, getting an application quickly deployed and connected to the Internet involves a complex collaboration of many operations teams managing a host of independently designed physical servers, switches and other devices.

The crossroads we’re at right now in the industry is how we simplify all the complexity we’ve built into the data center, and in particular, the network. Complexity that is preventing us from building and changing applications at the speed required by the businesses we work for.  The integration of cloud and SDN technology is making the data center programmable again, and connects the lifecycle of this programmable, virtual infrastructure directly to the lifecycle of the application.

When I think of our opportunity here, we’re going to need to keep helping businesses leverage an Open Cloud Architecture to make these benefits universally achievable in every data center.  Consider the potential value in reaching the goal line:

· Save time and money building applications and environments from drag and drop templates

· Increase service reliability and reuse by providing flexible application blueprints to standardize workloads

· Preserve the investment already made in data center equipment and network infrastructure

· Change what applications can connect to each other by with scripts or click-button policy changes to networks without changing application code or physical infrastructure

· Eliminate the tedious process of agreeing on the network infrastructure and protocols for workloads spread across domains and clouds

· Increase flexibility be enabling workflow migration in hybrid (public/private) cloud solutions.

What we’ve announced today by integrating cloud and SDN is a huge step toward the goal. But we can’t stop there. Enterprises looking for a more efficient way to build private, public and hybrid clouds and to create more agile application deployment—and seek to do all of this in a heterogeneous environment—are the big winners when Software Defined Networks meet their needs.

You may recall that when we announced the IBM Open Cloud Architecture ( in March of 2013, we made a statement of direction relative to identifying open SDN as an integral part of the IBM development team’s activities.  SDN enables users to program network layers, separating the control plane—how the network map is built—and data plane—how the user information is carried and forwarded through the network. This enables users to even further optimize their network resources, increase their network agility, their service innovation, as well as accelerate service time-to-market and extract business intelligence. Ultimately, we’ll enable dynamic, service-driven virtual networks.  With this announcement, we see the continuation on the development of that architecture, again leveraging the OpenStack community code to integrate the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator with Juniper’s Contrail.

Let’s drill down on that point for a minute.  The integration work that led to this announcement was clearly accelerated by OpenStack.  The work between IBM and Juniper took only weeks.  Before OpenStack, it would have taken months of development to integrate a custom network management solution for cloud. But because IBM and Juniper agreed on OpenStack as the cloud API, the partnership is able to quickly provide an integrated solution, centered around open APIs, and that translates to faster results for end users.

What’s next?  Expect further collaboration in the open networking space. Imagine combining network functions and services hosted on the Internet with applications hosted in your own data center. You would also be able to subscribe to intrusion detection as a service, caching at the edge of the network close to your customers for better response times, or re-routing whole portions of your network in response the ever-changing demands of mobile employees.  IBM and Juniper joined OpenDaylight as Platinum members. It’s obvious to us that programmable networks are one of the next hotbeds of innovation.  From where I sit, I see an open network architecture emerging through OpenDaylight, OpenStack and OpenFlow that enables the programming of SDN to span enterprises and span clouds, and enabling the next generation of responsive, interactive mobile applications.  This only emerges if we continue to innovate in the open.  I’m particularly interested in seeing some of the SDN techniques we’ve integrated as part of this work, such as the use of Internet protocols for connecting SDNs over a multi-site network, to find their way into the OpenDaylight and OpenStack community code.

I hope, like me, you find all of this pretty exciting. I’m pleased IBM has had the opportunity to be instrumental in initiating and building an industry consortium around the goal of advancing open SDN technology and accelerating client adoption. I know many of you will be at the upcoming OpenStack Summit. My thanks to everyone who made this initiative possible and for the great work you do all do to help enterprises benefit from an Open Cloud Architecture.

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