Today is a monumental day in ARM server history! TryStack.org, the hosted cloud sandbox for OpenStack, now has an ARM-based OpenStack zone in addition to the x86 zone. (This is, to our knowledge, the first OpenStack cluster made publicly available on an ARM-based system!)
For those of you not familiar with TryStack, it’s a community maintained OpenStack cloud made possible by the donations of a handful of IT hardware and service providers. This new zone is free by the generous contributions from Calxeda, Canonical, CoreNAP and HP.
So what’s the big deal? Besides providing free access to ARM-based servers via the OpenStack APIs, today is a first step in demonstrating a concept I talked about in a blog posted last May:
“People are pretty baffled when we use the words “Cloud” and “ARM” in the same sentence. Understandably so. But let me explain for a minute a possible future in which those two words become extremely synergistic. Intoday’s cloud architectures, virtualization is used as a means to provide elasticity, dynamic workload management, and multi-tenant security, all while sharing the same underlying physical systems (which tend to be very large servers). What if, however, we took an opposite approach and were able to provide the same benefits through the use of many smaller servers – a phrase some have coined as physicalization. Suddenly, we move back to a model of dedicated hosting and guaranteed performance, but with the same on-demand access and cloud-based pricing customers are accustomed to. As long as the end-user gets access to a compute resource, and the economics of the infrastructure make sense for the cloud provider, this could ultimately be a win-win for the future of cloud computing.”
While we are currently standing up a separate OpenStack cluster for this new ARM zone, we have every intention of working with the TryStack volunteers to merge these into a single large, heterogeneous cluster. We want to use OpenStack as the first example of what a multi-architecture cloud could look like and the opportunities it presents to both service providers (different pricing models) and enterprises (workload targeted job scheduling) alike.
Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Yep – completely 100% free for you to try, but please do keep in mind that your compute instances will be wiped every 24 hours and reclaimed for others to use. It’s simple to get started. Join the TryStack group on Facebook and you’ll instantly have access to the original x86-based cluster. To get access to the ARM-based cluster, look for instructions inside the Facebook group to request access specifically to the new zone. (We’re working on streamlining this process and hope to have Facebook single sign-on integration soon.) Once accepted, you’ll have logincredentials to the OpenStack dashboard where you can launch a new instance of Ubuntu 12.04 just like you would with any other cloud platforms.
So jump on in and come try it out! And if you’re interested in helping out, we’re always looking for a few extra hands – find us on the TryStack Facebook group. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with the OpenStack community on shaping the future of cloud computing!