OpenStack, the open-source infrastructure-as-a-service project that helps enterprises manage their on-premises data centers, was never known to be easy to install and operate. That meant that very few enterprises set up their own OpenStack deployments, working with third-party vendors and consultants instead, and that small-scale deployments weren’t really viable. With Sunbeam, Canonical (the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution) now promises to make it significantly easier to install OpenStack in small-scale environments, thanks to its Kubernetes-native architecture.
“More than 70% of OpenStack users also deploy Kubernetes, but Kubernetes is also increasingly used to manage OpenStack deployments themselves,” said Thierry Carrez, the general manager of the Open Infrastructure Foundation. “With more than 40 million compute cores of OpenStack now in production worldwide, the introduction of Sunbeam opens an exciting new way of deploying and operating OpenStack, from small labs to global scale deployments. We’re excited about the accessibility Canonical has brought to both OpenStack and Kubernetes through Sunbeam.”
The promise here is that developers and IT teams without OpenStack experience will be able to set up an OpenStack deployment within minutes, something that previously took a lot of in-depth technical knowledge. You are, after all, trying to set up a system that essentially provides the capabilities of the core services of AWS. To make this happen, Canonical is combining MicroStack, its OpenStack ‘flavor’ designed for edge and small-scale deployments, and Sunbeam, a project that leverages Kubernetes to enable OpenStack deployments and allows users to model, deploy and manage OpenStack just like any other cloud-native applications.
Sunbeam will ship with the latest version of OpenStack (2023.1 Antelope). Although it currently supports only the core OpenStack services—network, compute, and storage—it will get support for OpenStack Charms soon, too.
“Historically, commercial OpenStack deployments always used to come through paid consulting engagements and no vendor was an exception here,” said Canonical product manager Tytus Kurek. “In line with our mission to amplify open source, we are committed to delivering a production-grade platform to the community that everyone could just deploy themselves. Sunbeam emerged to remove numerous barriers around the initial adoption of OpenStack and is just the first step towards an autonomous private cloud.”
While Sunbeam is open-source, Canonical will offer commercial support to enterprise customers as part of its Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription offering.