Red Hat OpenStack Architecture on Cisco UCS Platform = Awesomeness

Today we wanted to talk about a recently released Cisco Validated Design (CVD) around Red Hat Openstack (RHO) and on the Cisco UCS platform that we’re really psyched about.  We believe the Cisco UCS is the ideal platform for the OpenStack architecture so lets dig in.


We are seeing more and more enterprises from SMB to the enterprise who are now executing on building their own private clouds / IaaS utilizing RHO.  It enables enterprises to offer on-demand computing resources by provisioning and managing large networks of virtual machines. The Red Hat OpenStack technology uses upstream OpenStack open source architecture and enhances it for Enterprise and service provider customers with better support structure and certifications. The Cisco Unified Computing System is a next-generation data center platform that unites computing, network, storage access, and virtualization into a single cohesive system.  The combination of Cisco UCS platform and Red Hat OpenStack architecture accelerates your IT Transformation by enabling faster deployments, greater flexibility of choice, efficiency, and lower risk.


Today OpenStack boasts a massively scalable architecture that can control compute, storage, and networking resources through a unified web interface. The OpenStack development community operates on a six-month release cycle with frequent milestones. Their code base is composed of many loosely coupled projects supporting storage, compute, image management, identity, and networking services. OpenStack’s rapid development cycle and architectural complexity create unique challenges for enterprise customers adding OpenStack to their traditional IT portfolios.


Red Hat OpenStack technology addresses these challenges. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL OSP) 3, Red Hat’s third OpenStack release, delivers a stable code base for production deployments backed by Red Hat’s open source software expertise. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 3 adopters enjoy immediate access to bug fixes and critical security patches, tight integration with Red Hat’s enterprise security features including SELinux, and a steady release cadence between OpenStack versions. This allows Red Hat customers to adopt OpenStack with confidence, at their own pace, and on their own terms.


Virtualization is a key and critical strategic deployment model for reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and achieving better utilization of the platform components like hardware, software, network and storage. However choosing the appropriate platform for virtualization can be a tricky task. Platform should be flexible, reliable and cost effective to facilitate the virtualization platform to deploy various enterprise applications. Also ability to slice and dice the underlying platform to size the application requirement is essential for a virtualization platform to utilize compute, network and storage resources effectively. In this regard, Cisco UCS solution implementing Red Hat OpenStack provides a very simplistic yet fully integrated and validated infrastructure for you to deploy VMs in various sizes to suite your application needs.


Red Hat OpenStack Architecture on Cisco UCS Platform


This solution provides an end-to-end architecture with Cisco, Red Hat, and OpenStack technologies that demonstrate high availability and server redundancy along with ease of deployment and use. The following are the components used for the design and deployment:


Cisco Unified Compute System (UCS)


Cisco C-Series Unified Computing System servers for compute and storage needs


Cisco UCS VIC adapters


Red Hat OpenStack 3.0 architecture


The solution is designed to host scalable, mixed application workloads. The scope of this CVD is limited to the infrastructure pieces of the solution, the CVD does not address the vast area of OpenStack components and multiple configuration choices available there.


Reference Architecture


Red Hat OpenStack Architecture on Cisco UCS Platform




The diagram above highlights the high level design points of Red Hat OpenStack architecture on UCS Platform:


Redundant UCS FIs, Fabric Extenders and multiple cables provide network high availability


Multiple hard disks per storage node combined with multiple storage nodes provide storage high availability through Red Hat Storage Cluster module.


Infrastructure network is on a separate 1GE network. Out of band UCS management and other legacy infrastructure components, such as Syslog server, are connected to infrastructure network.


Cisco UCS Bill of Materials


  • 6 x Cisco UCS C220M3 Rack Servers – UCSC-C220-M3S
  • 2 x Cisco UCS C240M3 Rack Servers
  • CPU for C220M3 Rack Servers (2 per server) – UCS-CPU-E5-2650
  • CPU for C240M3 Rack Servers (2 per server)
  • Memory for C220M3/ C240M3 Rack Servers (8 per server) – UCS-MR-1X162RY
  • Cisco UCS 1225 VIC Adapter (1 per server) – UCSC-PCIE-CSC-02
  • UCS 2232PP Fabric Extenders (2) – N2K-C2232PP-10GE
  • UCS 6248UP Fabric Interconnects (2) – UCS-FI-6248UP
  • 10 Gbps SFP+ multifiber mode SFP-10G-SR


As a Cisco Premier Partner and the 2014 Red Hat Partner of the Year, there is no integrator better equipped to help your organization take the first step to building and deploying Red Hat OpenStack architecture on the Cisco UCS platform. For more information, download the entire Cisco Validated Design (CVD) download here – Red Hat OpenStack Architecture on Cisco UCS Platform or you can always reach us via our website.

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