Fidelity Investments joins the OpenStack crowd

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Session Name: OpenStack’s attack on the Enterprise

Joe Weinman
John Engates
Jim O’ Neil
Keith Shinn

Joe Weinman 00:00
As you know after a 20 year hiatus or so the Star Trek franchise has come back more than a live. First it was the Romulans then it was the Klingons, and now it’s OpenStack attacking the Enterprise – poor Captain James T Kirk. So to describe the strategy for the attack we have Rackspace CTO John Engates who’s going to start off with a presentation then we’ll have a little discussion with a distinguished group of CIOs. This will be a nice counter point to AWS, guess it should have been like either a gaged battle or some sort of on stage debate, but we’ve got this instead. So please join me in welcoming John.

John Engates 00:51
Thank you for having me. My name is John Engates – CTO at Rackspace, and I’m pleased to be here at structure today. We are going to be talking about obviously some OpenStack and hybrid cloud and the next cloud. Whenever Rackspace comes to this event we sort of – our goal it so challenge the conventional wisdom – and make sure we’re thinking differently and hopefully enlightening you on some of the thing that we’re working on. To help me in a few minutes I’m going to bring out a panel to chat with them, but I just sort of want to go through a few slides to give you a sense and set the stage for this.
John Engates 01:24
I think that we’ll sort of start with this and remind you – I think I clicked twice, can you go back one slide please? So, last year Lou Morman was up here on the stage and he spent time talking to you about how OpenStack – he predicted that OpenStack would become a core operating system – a platform upon which the cloud, I should say will be an operating system upon which lots of applications – the next generation of applications will be built. Like every operating system throughout history, like every platform throughout history they’ve often time started on a proprietary platform – a commercial platform. And in almost every case along comes an open source project, or an open source alternative, and you’re seeing this play out within the cloud as well. The OpenStack ecosystem is coming on very strong. We’ve seen a number of companies over the last two years get involved in OpenStack – join the community, and we’re seeing a tremendous amount of momentum in this ecosystem. We’re seeing all kinds of innovation start to make their way into the OpenStack platform.
John Engates 02:35
I could not be more pleased with the success of the OpenStack platform. I think it is a great counterpoint maybe to the big public cloud guys. One of the things that we’ve been seeing in this point, is this exponential growth

In features and the uses of OpenStack – the users of OpenStack have also been growing. We got really quite a bit of scrutiny around how many users you have – how many users are using OpenStack. I think at this last OpenStack summit about six weeks ago we saw a tremendous amount of user stories come out. These are real customers using OpenStack today; they are using it for all kinds of workloads. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of adoption by not only vendors, but also users of the cloud-computing platform, and we’re very excited about this. We think it’s happening for a number of reasons, obviously a lot of people do value open source. Open source is one of the things that – has been one of the key ingredients of innovation on the web and on the Internet for many, many years. I think it’s also going to be a very critical component of the cloud.
John Engates 03:55
This momentum is hard to deny. We’re seeing 100’s and 100’s of companies join OpenStack. Thousands of developers we saw a tremendous increase – a doubling of the attendees at the OpenStack conference recently. I think even more important than this ecosystem and the technology – the technologies evolved – but even more important than that it’s really just sort of this killer feature of OpenStack. The killer feature is the fact that OpenStack powers private and hybrid clouds. Basically, this is the idea that you can run a hybrid cloud using the same technology in the public cloud as you run in a private cloud – you can run it anywhere, you can run it optimized for your workload. Enterprises value this because they’re seeing a challenge in sort of making sense the move to cloud computing in the context of their private cloud an on premise kind of workloads. They want to make sure that they have a story to make that all work together.
John Engates 04:57
And OpenStack is really the foundation for that. So this killer feature of being able to run hybrid clouds is one of the things that we’re seeing, and it’s very important to how applications are going to get developed. If you think about why it’s so important you kind of have to go back and think about the public cloud and why it was so valuable. Why was public cloud such a compelling story for a developer, why did they value it so much? They saw it as a way to get an infrastructure very quickly. They could spit it up in three minutes instead of three days, and it was all because we took software. We put software on top of this multitenant and generalized platform.
John Engates 05:33
When I say generalized I mean sort of general purpose, it’s something that works for a lot of different kinds of applications – and it is all powered by software. It gave us tremendous benefits. It was something that was literary intoxicating to developers, they could the speed the pay for what you use, the low unit cost – it was intoxicating. But that doesn’t come without a trade and I think people are starting to wake up from a hangover- this is my hangover slide there – they’re sort of in a hangover at this point around this race to the public cloud. The public cloud was supposed to solve all of our problems, it was supposed to be this magical thing that made everything easier and better, but it did come with trades. Trades that were very difficult to solve sometimes in the public cloud. So when you think about it, if you have a platform that powers innovation you’re going to sort of use it, you’re going to take advantage of it. But you have to remember there are trades and you do lose certain things by going to a multitenant shared model. And you do gain a lot if you can get back to single tenant and control and sort of having the ability to customize.
John Engates 06:48
So let’s think about some of those trade-off for just a second. Some of them come in the form of– in the public cloud you start to see things like the per-unit, that’s a positive, that’s what people like, utility building and speed. But the private cloud has some very strong benefits, security is easy to solve for in a private context, or in a hybrid context. If you can put together the best of both, and you can get the benefits of the public cloud, and the private cloud together and you can build this idea of a hybrid cloud that is really what we believe the long-term end state. And yes there’s a lot of people in the room that would probably argue with me and say, Look, we can solve all of these problems in the public cloud. We can make it better. Yes you can, but you do a tremendous amount of over engineering and over provisioning to make that possible. You have to engineer a lot of software on top of the public cloud to make it as reliable as some of the private will see.
John Engates 07:46
And there’s another factor to this. We think on the surface that public cloud is cheap – it looks cheap because of that idea of per-unit cost that’s low. But when you spin up a whole lot of per-unit cost and aggregate it together you start to see things that the generalized platform isn’t really optimized for. And you actually span some better economics when you can blend these two things together. And we’re seeing companies every day that are telling us that they get to a certain point with public cloud span, even a Rackspace pubic cloud. They grow from their startup phase, they start to grow faster, and faster and they get to an inflection point or a crossover point where the dedicated servers that we used to use or the private cloud context that we used to use. It starts to make more sense than just a pure public cloud kind of a story by itself.
John Engates 08:32
So this idea of outgrowing the public cloud is not just Rackspace telling you this, we’re starting to hear that from customers. People telling us that it’s not all that it was cracked up to be. The public cloud was intoxicating, but we’re starting to see an alternative, and they hybrid is the end state. Hybrid is this blending of these form factors, these different types of infrastructure into a common coherent service. And that’s what we want to talk about. We want to set the stage for this conversation around hybrid cloud. And at this point I want to bring out a couple of folks that are going to discuss this with me. The first one is from a very large enterprise titan. His name is Keith Shinn, and he’s the VP of infrastructure at Fidelity. So Keith why don’t you come on out? And I’ll show you a slide with their logos. The other is– thanks Keith nice to see you. And the other is the CIO of HubSpot Jim O’Neil will be coming out. So Jim come on out and we’ll sit down and have a little chat about what we’re doing in the hybrid cloud. So welcome these guys to the stage please, give them a hand.

John Engates 09:43
Let’s start with Jim for just a second you’re on the other side of the couch from me. This is a funky chair– I have to adjust my… So Jim why don’t you– you’re an OpenStack user, you’re a big OpenStack shop at this point. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your OpenStack powered hybrid cloud, what you’re doing with it, how you got to where you are today?
Jim O’ Neil 10:04
HubSpot is a pure hybrid cloud I like to say where we run a good amount in rack spaces environment – it’s not about Rackspace it’s more about OpenStack. And we’re running everything we are a marketing services software company. And I don’t like to use the word big data because I think that’s overused, but we’ve got a lot of data. We’re processing about trillion data points a month about 250 billion net new every four weeks. We really found that OpenStack specificity – because we can tune the environments for the workloads – you actually really drive every single ounce of productivity out of these infrastructures. And that was a real big deal for us. So we’ve been in the public cloud – we love the public cloud. I think John touched a little bit on outgrowing it. I look at it a little bit of the right workload for the right infrastructure, and I think that’s kind of an emerging theme.
Jim O’ Neil 10:54
And for us we have a mix of web applications, API layers and then I don’t like to use the word high performance computer because I think people associate time and sensitivity to that. Where our product is very much a streaming product, so time sensitivity is hugely important. And that’s what I find very valuable about an OpenStack private environment where we can really get every ounce of energy out of these commodity servers for all intent and purposes.
John Engates 11:18
And Keith would you just give us a brief overview of what you’re doing – you’re with Fidelity a huge investment in OpenStack. You’ve been involved with OpenStack since the early days. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with it, what you’re planning to do in terms of what OpenStack solves for.
Keith Shinn 11:35
We’re clearing starting from the private cloud standpoint with the intent to grow to a hybrid cloud model to barest external. We feel like we have the scale right not to compete on the internal for the private cloud space. The OpenStack relationship is real important to us because we like the community behind it and the broad support from a number of different players within the space that we can contribute back to it. And clearly we think that even OpenStack needs to evolve some more, there’s some opportunities to add some enterprise sort of features. Right now it seems to be more geared towards the public cloud space, but we think there’s an opportunity to possibility collaborate with other enterprise to deliver on some of these capabilities that we all need. Like integration to backing common core systems.
John Engates 12:28
I think that is one of the valuable aspects of OpenStack is that community effort and the summits we all go to. You guys were both at the OpenStack summit, and you do see a lot of activity a lot– it’s a very vibrant community, very engaged community to build the features that we all need. And obviously we started with it in the public cloud because that’s where it sort of made its way first and that’s where we needed it first. But in a private cloud context – Jim you guys are running fairly sizable private cloud and does it solve your needs, does it– what about the OpenStack platform is making it work for you?
Jim O’ Neil 13:07
A big thing for HubSpot and I touched on wanting to be a real hybrid between public and private is really we look at it as a parody. So we can have the exact same application footprint, and we can run that. And OpenStack truly allowed us to unlock a common infrastructure to service, and I think a lot of people using public clouds get a little lost between what’s infrastructure as a service and platform as a service and how do you differentiate the two? What we really found with OpenStack is because it’s API model is mature and maturing every release honestly. It’s truly let us say we don’t need to worry about the plumping and the orchestration where we want software defined networks. We want software defined computing. We want software-defined storage. And it really makes building large-scale applications actually fairly easy. It takes a lot of the headaches out, and OpenStack I think is the open nature of it. And the community around it has been phenomenal, we’ve watched this thing for the last 18 to 24 months and I never would have guessed where it started compared where it is today. I think Keith touched on it – it needs some more features, but it’s pretty amazing where it is.
John Engates 14:11
You guys are actually involved to an extent in the community – you’re contributing. You’d mentioned big data, and you said you’re not a big data company, but you’re running a big data application as a part of your environment. And I think it’s Hadoop, H based, and some of those components. What are you doing specifically in OpenStack that’s – I know you’re working hard on a particular component- can you tell them a little bit about what you’re doing?
Jim O’ Neil 14:34
It’s almost an oxymoron we’re running OpenStack bare metal. And what that means is we’re using the OpenStack bare metal driver on 100’s of commodity servers. And what we really found – this back to squeezing that last inch out of the hardware – is that when you have these time sensitive big scale workloads, you need to run these servers at 95% throughput whether with a CPU or memory. So we do run hundreds of nodes, it’s thousands of cores; it’s approaching about two petabytes worth of data. And again it’s all API driven, and that’s the beauty I think of OpenStack. If a developer needs to add 20 more nodes they literary go to a web console, or they run a python script and literary in five minutes it’s in the network and it’s operational, and it’s doing its job.
Keith Shinn 15:19
We had similar kind of things where you’d have QA’d performance tests things going on, and people failed during the internal part of the test the undersized portions of the infrastructure and be able to turn around in a few minutes and resize the environment. And continue the test where in our business as usual models that’s probably a week delay in the project.
Jim O’ Neil 15:42
And I think that the key thing I would add an image of our parody in the OpenStack, bare minimum driver. It’s that same API between the least common denominator of bare mental and the most common denominator of very highly orchestrated cloud web app environment, and we see the parody between both.
John Engates 15:57
When you think about rack space, obviously we’re one of the founders of OpenStack. We’ve been involved in this platform. I’ll probably ask you Keith first. What does Rackspace give? What did you value in the relationship with rack space, or what did you gravitate to us for?
Keith Shinn 16:13
So we’ve been– early on we were at your site when you guys we’re talking about announcing and building a foundation and been involved with you guys from the start of that. But we found really valuable about the relationship with Rackspace is the experience you have in the back end of these tools. And clearly part of what we’re doing is we’re integrating into a private solution and so we’re taking piece parts of the OpenStack components. And you’re expertise in helping us take that on in that manner into tools has been very good. I’d say the other part of it is we like the way you guys have constructed the relationships. And I think you do this beyond for everybody and when you basically have really easy out within your agreements and other things within your product. So if we want to self-support or whatever within the product space we can.
John Engates 17:07
Jim you have any thoughts on that?
Jim O’ Neil 17:09
I would echo that and add for us as a late stage startup, it’s truly about getting the right service level for the right piece of infrastructure. So we don’t have data centers like Fidelity has massive resources. As a startup we’re still running a lot of infrastructure, but we can leverage Rackspace inherent knowledge of OpenStack – those founding principles. And create this private environment a managed environment or a public and truly have that integrated across the stack. And you guys service it the way that we need it to.
John Engates 17:42
And when you look down the road in just a few years where do you see HubSpot?
Jim O’ Neil 17:47
HubSpot wants to own the world of marketing, a shameless plug.
John Engates 17:52
You’re going to use the hybrid cloud to do it?
Jim O’ Neil 17:54
Yes we are.
John Engates 17:55
And Keith what are your plans for OpenStack down the road? Is it going to be a bigger part of your world?
Keith Shinn 18:00
Yeah. Clearly we’re building plans right now to take on broader parts of our compute, and the cloud computing and OpenStack’s a big part of that. That would be our direction there.
John Engates 18:12
I think we’ll leave it at that. I think we’re out of time, but I appreciate you guys coming up on stage and chatting with me for a few minutes. And thank you very much. Thank you everybody.