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27 July 2011, 12:27

Dell crowbars open its OpenStack solution

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Dell has announced its Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution at OSCON and open sourced Crowbar, its "cloud unboxer", as part of the announcement. Dell has been an OpenStack community member since it launched, and has been working with OpenStack's Infrastructure-as-a-service architecture to gain experience of the open source platform and understand customer needs.

Dell has now used that experience and formalised its OpenStack offering for customers. Using Dell's PowerEdge C systems, running OpenStack and Crowbar, Dell plans to offer services, backed up by Rackspace, to make it simple to deploy a multi-node cloud system. The cloud optimised PowerEdge C systems have been used by Dell to build cloud infrastructure for companies such as Facebook and Microsoft.

Crowbar is software developed by Dell, based on and tightly integrated with Opscode's Chef cloud automation system, which has been enhanced to allow cloud systems to be deployed quickly. Crowbar began life as an OpenStack Installer, but, writes Dell engineer Rob Hirschfield, grew beyond that scope and can now work with other vendors' hardware and solutions. Crowbar uses Chef Server as a database from which it can pull cookbooks of configurations for nodes as they are discovered.

Dell's own version of Crowbar includes the ability to configure BIOS+RAID systems, but Dell is currently unable to distribute that component under Crowbar's Apache 2 licence; the company is working on addressing that problem. Crowbar is available to download from the Dell Cloud Edge github repository. More information about Dell's OpenStack offering is available on its site.


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