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openQRM 5.1 is available: OpenStack and Eucalyptus have a serious competitor

openQRM project manager Matt Rechenburg already told me some of the new features of openQRM 5.1 at the end of July. Now the final release has been released with additional functions. The overall picture looks really promising. Although the heading at first can suspect that openQRM is something completely new, which is trying to outstrip OpenStack or Eucalyptus. But this is not by a long shot. openQRM already exists since 2004 and has built up a wide range of functions over the years. The open source project from Cologne, Germany unfortunately lost a little in the crowd, because the marketing machines behind OpenStack and Eucalypts run at full speed and the loudspeakers are many times over. Certainly, openQRM must not hide from them. On the contrary, with version 5.1, Rechenburg’s team again has vigorously gain functions and particular enhances the user experience.

The new features in openQRM 5.1

openQRM-Enterprise sees in the hybrid cloud an important significance for the future of cloud as well. For this reason, openQRM 5.1 was extended with a plugin to span a hybrid cloud with the cloud infrastructures of the Amazon Web Services (AWS), Eucalyptus Cloud and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). Thus, openQRM is using AWS as well as Eucalyptus and UEC as a resource provider for more computing power and memory and is able to manage public cloud infrastructures as well as local virtual machines. This allows administrators, based on openQRM, to transparently provide their end-users Amazon AMIs via a cloud portal and to monitor the state of the virtual machines via Nagios.

Another new feature is the tight integration of Puppet. With that end-users can order virtual machines as well as public cloud infrastructures with personalized, managed software stacks. The best technical renovation is the consideration of the Amazon Web Services high-availability concept. Does an Amazon EC2 instance fail, automatically a new one starts. openQRM 5.1 is even able to offset the outage of an entire Amazon Availability Zone (AZ). Is an AZ not available anymore the correlate EC instance will be started in another Availability Zone of the same region.

According to CEO Matt Rechenburg, openQRM-Enterprise expands the open source solution openQRM consistently with cloud spanning management solutions in order to empower its customers to flexibility grow beyond the borders of their own IT capabilities.

In addition to technical enhancements much emphasis was placed on ease of use as well. In openQRM 5.1 the user interface for the administrator was completely revised. This ensures a better overview and user guide. Even the dashboard, as a central point has benefited greatly, by all of the information such as the status of the data center, are displayed at a glance.

New features have been introduced for the openQRM-Enterprise Edition, too. This includes a new plugin for role-based access rights management, which allows fine-grained setting permissions for administrators within the entire openQRM system. With that complete enterprise topologies can be mapped to openQRM roles in order to restrict administrators who are responsible only for virtualization in the enterprise to the management and provisioning of virtual machines.

Further renovations in openQRM 5.1 include an improved support for virtualization technology KVM, by now using it for KVM GlusterFS volumes as well. In addition, VMware technologies are better supported. This means that now even existing VMware ESX systems can be managed as well as local or over the network bootable VMware ESX machines and can be install and managed.

openQRM takes a big step forward

Although openQRM significantly longer exists on the market as OpenStack or Eucalyptus. Nevertheless, the level of awareness of both projects is larger. This is mainly due to the substantial marketing efforts of both the OpenStack community and of Eucalyptus. But technological and functional openQRM must not hide. On the contrary, openQRMs functions is many times more powerful than that of OpenStack or Eucalyptus. Where the two focus exclusively on the topic of cloud, openQRM also has a complete data center management solution included.

Due to the long history openQRM has received many new and important features in recent years. However, as a result it also lose track of what the solution is able to afford. But who has understood, that openQRM is composed of integrated building blocks such as “Data Center Management”, “Cloud Backend” and “Cloud Portal”, will recognize that the open source solution, especially in the construction of private clouds, provides an advantage over OpenStack and Eucalyptus. Especially the area of ​​data center management must not be neglected for building a cloud to keep track and control of its infrastructure.

With version 5.0, the structures already begun to sharpen and to summarize the individual functions into workflows. This was worked out by the 5.1 release once again. The new look and layout of the openQRM backend has been completely overhauled. It looks tidier and easier to use and will positive surprise all customers.

The extension with the hybrid cloud functionality is an important step for the future of openQRM. The result of the Rackspace 2013 Hybrid Cloud survey showed that 60 percent of IT decision-makers have the hybrid cloud as the main goal in mind. Here 60 percent will or have withdrawn their applications and workloads in the public cloud. 41 percent left the public cloud partially. 19 percent want to leave the public cloud even completely. The reasons for the use of a hybrid cloud rather than a public cloud are higher security (52 percent), more control (42 percent) and better performance and higher reliability (37 percent). The top benefits, which hybrid cloud users report, including more control (59 percent), a higher security (54 percent), a higher reliability (48 percent), cost savings (46 percent) and better performance (44 percent).

openQRM not surprisingly orientates at the current public cloud leader Amazon Web Services. Thus, in combination with Eucalyptus or other Amazon compatible cloud infrastructures, openQRM can also be used to build massively scalable hybrid cloud infrastructures. For this purpose openQRM focuses on its proven plugin-concept and integrates Amazon EC2, S3 and Eucalyptus exactly this way. Besides its own resources from a private openQRM Cloud, Amazon and Eucalyptus are used as further resource providers to get more computing power quickly and easily.

The absolute killer features include the automatic applications deployment using Puppet, with which the end-user to conveniently and automatically can provide EC2 instances with a complete software stack itself, as well as the consideration of the Amazon Availability Zone-wide high-availability functionality, which is neglected by many cloud users again and again due to ignorance. But even the improved integration of technologies such as VMware ESX systems should not be ignored. Finally, VMware is still the leading virtualization technology on the market. Thus openQRM also increases its attractiveness to be used as an open source solution for the management and control of VMware environments.

Technological and functional openQRM is on a very good path into the future. However, bigger investments in public relations and marketing are imperative.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.