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Democratizing service creation in OpenStack - Anything-as-a-Service with Murano

Ronen Kofman - May 19, 2015

The workload layer is user land, owned and controlled by users. At the workload layer, customers and end users expect to add new services and evolve them at a fast pace, while still maintaining full control of their destiny. To make these users successful, we need to arm them with a powerful framework that enables them to create and manage these services; a framework that give users full control, allowing them to innovate at their own pace, minimizing the dependency on the OpenStack upstream community to create and maintain those services. With the recent release of Murano in Kilo we are providing such a framework.

One recent example that highlights Murano’s capabilities in an enterprise environment is the ability to provision an Oracle Database on demand. The Oracle team created a Murano application that enables users to provision a Pluggable Database and use it from OpenStack.  This application can be used in any OpenStack deployment that uses Murano, so users can now go to their Murano catalog, press a button and have a database available to them.

Using the same method used by the Oracle team, users can now easily create additional database packages and offer them as Murano apps, creating a complete end to end Database-as-a-Service. The advantage of this approach for creating Database-as-a-Service is that it is completely under the control of the end user, with much less dependency on the OpenStack release cycle. This way, users can create a rich set of options for provisioning and lifecycle management, all controlled through Murano using an API or GUI. The Murano packages are simple and extendable, so users can maintain and extend their catalog. Murano can launch VMs, but as in the Oracle database example, it can also simply communicate with an external resource and perform the operations needed to configure, consume or manage that resource.

With the Database-as-a-Service example in mind, we can extend this approach to more services and on top of offering applications as catalog items, users can create any action and offer it as a catalog item. These actions can be virtually anything, from configuring/provisioning compute, storage or network on demand, to creating and configuring a virtualized network function, to running a virus scan in a particular VM -- or a set of them. Any action that the user needs to take can be packaged into a Murano catalog item and performed on demand.

We call this approach “Anything-as-a-Service.” Any action, any application and any operation can be programmed into one or more catalog items available through a GUI or an API and be made available to users. And all of those actions can be customized to specific needs, and tailored to fit compliance, best practices and special requirements, all under full control of the OpenStack user and on their terms and timeline.

With the new release of Murano, we now have the right framework in place, and we hope to see many users taking control and creating their own services.

You can find more information about Murano and how to create Murano applications here:

Murano kicks AaaS!

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