Our leaders have time and time again emphasized a core aspect of the EMC Federation strategy and functioning model: “(we) offer best-of-breed, integrated, technology while preserving customers’ ability to choose…” In this blog, I reflect upon how this strategy applies to allowing customers the ability to choose Open Source Cloud OS – OpenStack.OpenStack is making rapid strides in both private and public cloud markets. The earlier skepticism on hype is waning as we see the momentum translate to tangible deployments. Let’s go over some numbers if you need convincing. A recent OpenStack user survey showed 512 total deployments; 209 of these being production deployments. This momentum seems even more impactful within the EMC customer base. A recent EMC pre-sales/field survey has revealed that 50% of customers are running OpenStack today; 53% of those are in production. So it is not surprising that EMC’s strategy of ‘providing of our customers with choice’ resulted in OpenStack being a viable option across our federated family. Let me explain this in more detail.Pivotal Customers Can Choose OpenStackPivotal offers a comprehensive set of application and data services that run on top of PaaS (platform-as-a-service) called Cloud Foundry®. Cloud Foundry is an open source platform that can run on any cloud infrastructure like VMware, OpenStack, or Amazon Web Services. Even though the Pivotal distribution of Cloud Foundry runs on VMware vSphere, there are many prominent members of the Cloud Foundry community who offer Cloud Foundry PaaS on OpenStack. Piston Cloud, which had originally contributed Cloud Foundry interface for OpenStack, now offers PaaS on Piston Cloud, which is based on OpenStack. IBM, with BlueMix PaaS cloud, and HP, with Cloud Application PaaS, have recently announced Cloud Foundry running on OpenStack infrastructure. Not only is it being offered by many prominent vendors, you can also choose to run Pivotal applications and big data services on any of these multi-cloud platforms. Watch out for the inevitable open source progression: OpenStack to Cloud Foundry!VMware Customers Can Choose OpenStackMany are perplexed by the complex relationship between VMware and OpenStack. I think the relationship is largely complementary; OpenStack is an open and flexible framework to pull all the cloud IaaS components together, whereas VMware provides the best-of-breed cloud components. As we see a rising number of OpenStack production deployments, there is also a broad demand for the integration of the two for Enterprise class solutions and use cases. It is for this reason that VMware is heavily investing in the integration, giving its customers the choice of having an open framework with best-of-breed cloud components. VMware is now the fifth largest contributor of OpenStack code in the current IceHouse release.Many immediately get network virtualization as an integration point, as VMware NSX is one of the founders of OpenStack networking, but the integration points are far more pervasive than just networking. You can now trigger complex vCenter functions like vMotion off the OpenStack compute module, Nova. vSphere storage policies and advanced vSAN capabilities can be facilitated through the OpenStack storage module, Cinder. vCOPs integration allows monitoring and troubleshooting through OpenStack. There are many more, and you can be rest assured that the roadmap will continue to get richer with time.EMC Customers Can Choose OpenStackEMC’s strategy for OpenStack is twofold:OpenStack projects allow vendors to add capabilities through “plugin” architecture. Every storage business unit at EMC is committed to providing direct plugins for OpenStack. We currently offer plugins for VNX, VMAX, and ViPR; plugins from Isilon, ScaleIO, and XtremIO are already available to customers for beta evaluation. OpenStack’s roots were with object storage over commodity hardware. However, as deployments mature, we now see it running a broad mix of production workloads. Plugins give customers the choice of a variety of EMC storage with appropriate service levels to run their workloads.ViPR is EMC’s software-defined storage platform and hence complements OpenStack by providing rich automation features, as well as integrated management of objects, blocks, and later files. In other words, you will get integrated access to EMC (what you get from direct plugins) and non-EMC storage, and on top of that you should be able to get enhanced automation features like provisioning, masking/zoning, FAST and VPLEX volumes, as well as rich data services. You can check-out my blog on ‘ViPR in the stack’ for more details.Returning to my original point, EMC customers can choose any cloud. I hope to have shown you that OpenStack represents as a viable choice across each of the EMC federation’s horizontal stacks.
A petition has recently been circulating among members of the Notre Dame community online as a Google Doc. The petition, which is titled “Notre Dame Petition for an Online Semester and Student Safety,” calls on the University administration to take specific steps to ensure greater student safety and to allow students the option to, if they choose, return home and continue the remainder of the semester online. The petition, which has over 1,000 signatories, states that it is a collaborative effort of Notre Dame students, faculty, staff and alumni. “Students are being required to continue to live under the same unsafe conditions that endangered their lives and health in the first place,” the petition states. “If students are willing to take that risk, they can, but only if immediate steps are taken to make their lives safer. However, no student who does not wish to take that risk should be forced to do so.”The petition calls on the administration to mandate that all classes will remain available online, and give any student who wants permission to study online — including students who were previously denied accommodations to do so. The petition also calls on the University to, “begin systematic COVID-19 testing of the entire student population as part of a safe, staggered move-out process for students who elect to leave campus to study remotely.” The petition says that students should be able to return home once reliably testing negative for the coronavirus and that they should not be required to return for the rest of the semester. Finally, the petition calls on the University to make sure that all students are, “physically safe and financially able to withstand the dangers and burdens of this epidemic at Notre Dame.”Sierra Stinson, a sophomore who signed the petition, said she learned of it through a group chat she is a part of, and she added her name to the petition for various reasons.“I don’t want to put Notre Dame’s administration down at all, that’s not my intention,” Stinson said. “But I have seen a lot of unpreparedness from the administration with testing and how they’re handling it. I feel like the safety of the students has been compromised because of the motivations to stay open and I think the University has a moral obligation to go fully online for the South Bend community and their students.”However, Stinson said it is also important that the petition also stipulated that students should be able to choose to stay on campus and attend online instruction there if they wished.“There are a lot of students here who have bad family circumstances or they get more resources here than they do at home,” she said. “So I think it is important to allow the option for kids to remain on campus.”Stinson said she would have liked to see more testing in the first weeks of the semester, and would like to see more testing, especially surveillance testing, going forward.“First, I think everyone should have been tested when we first got here,” she said. “There definitely should have been surveillance testing like one to two times a week for every student.”Other schools around the country, such as Princeton or University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have outlined testing protocols which include required testing twice a week for on-campus undergraduates.Another student and signatory of the petition, junior Alexander Clay, said he would have liked to see the semester begin online from the start.“What I would have liked to see is them not opening at all and having the entire semester virtually and providing those kids who may not have had a very good environment the resources they needed to have a successful semester,” Clay said. “I thought that bringing us back in any capacity would be a big mistake.”One thing both Stinson and Clay mentioned was the lack of transparency and clear communication between students and the administration.“Of course I hoped it would work out, but in order for it to work out it would have needed to have transparency from the beginning between the student body and the administration and we didn’t have that when we needed it,” Stinson said. “Student government has been trying very hard to create that transparency, but I feel like it’s already too late.”Not all the signatories of the petition are Notre Dame students — signatures include those of staff, parents, community members and faculty. Sarah McKibben, an associate professor for Notre Dame’s department of Irish language and literature, is one such signatory. She said she learned of the petition early on through its authors. “I am friends with the main authors of the petition and I was invited to contribute to help edit and write it, though it was mostly done by the time I saw it,” McKibben said. “So I just heard about it because I’m part of a large group composed of faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduates who are kind of broadly interconnected by our shared concern over the University’s decision.”McKibben said she and other faculty members shared concerns about transparency on data and decision making from the administration. “The lack of transparency has been really terribly unfortunate. If you look into public health matters, people will tell you that one of the rules for public health is it has got to be transparent,” she said. “People don’t trust you if you’re not being transparent and if they can poke holes in what you say then they’re going to be filled with skepticism and the whole thing just falls apart.”McKibben said the faculty and staff have, by and large, been under-consulted by the administration regarding the plans and protocols for reopening for an in-person semester. “The faculty were not told of that ahead of time and at no point was the entire faculty or all employees consulted or surveyed to see what we felt, what we wanted, what we thought we were capable of, what we thought was safe,” McKibben said.McKibben also expressed she felt the University has failed to approach this problem collaboratively and failed to center-science and effectively utilize experts with relevant experience and their advice in the administration’s decision making process. “We all really earnestly hope that all the students and employees will be ok even if they do get COVID-19, but the disastrous fiasco with testing and contact tracing and quarantine was preceded by real problems with communication and consultation and the lack of a collaborative decision making process,” she said. “My experience of the University’s decision making is that it has been top-down, it has not been inclusive, and it has not been collaborative. I think that the appropriate thing to do is to default to let people teach online.”Notre Dame’s spokesman said the University has been listening to critiques from the public.“The University has acknowledged some missteps in the early going and worked quickly to improve the process,” University Spokesmen Dennis Brown said on the petition. “We also have listened to the many suggestions that have been offered and implemented several, such as additions to the daily dashboard. The suggestions in this petition will likewise be considered.”Tags: COVID-19, petition, testing transparency