Google open source hybrid cloud gets new OpenStack backup driver

The Cinder driver, which allows Google Cloud Platform to be used as a backup target by OpenStack, is an important addition to the company's hybrid cloud

Google kicked up its plans for creating a hybrid cloud based on open standards -- namely OpenStack -- another notch this week.

The company announced in a blog post the release of a small but strategic software component that allows instances of OpenStack's new Mitaka edition to back up data to Google Cloud Storage.

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Google's Cinder OpenStack block storage abstraction layer uses drivers to talk to different storage providers. It also includes provisions specifically for backup services, so storage providers can designate targets when backing up Cinder volumes; Google Cloud is simply one possible backend among many.

Google is touting the low cost and relative ease of using Google Cloud Storage plus OpenStack Mitaka plus its Cinder driver to create an object storage system for existing applications. One of the supported storage types is Google's "cold data storage" system, Cloud Storage Nearline, which can be used for cheap long-term data retention and costs 1 cent per gigabyte per month.

If you're upgrading OpenStack to Mitaka, the Google driver is included by default.

Only one piece of the picture

Google's hybrid cloud platform built on open standards is being assembled in pieces. OpenStack was one such piece; another has been Docker-style containers as an open standard for delivering applications in a portable format and running them at scale.

A component like Google's Cinder driver is another part of the puzzle. Since a hybrid cloud is meant to seamlessly span local and remote data centers, it makes sense to have a native option for local resources to back up to remote ones.

The one gap in Google's plan is on the private end of the hybrid cloud, where Google's pieces have very different levels of adoption. OpenStack, despite efforts to retool and become easier to work with, still is used primarily by verticals like telecoms and isn't drawing as many enterprises. Containers, though, enjoy far broader adoption, in large part because they have more uses and take less work.

Google plans to continue hedging its bets, building a hybrid platform that can leverage as many of its pieces as possible. It joined the OpenStack Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation to better enable the development of components for that hybrid cloud. The enterprises that use OpenStack can expect Google to continue providing pieces that complement what they build on-premises.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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