How to Set Up Your “Castle in the Cloud” - SUSE OpenStack Cloud and IBM z Systems | SUSE Communities

How to Set Up Your “Castle in the Cloud” – SUSE OpenStack Cloud and IBM z Systems


Yes, yes, and yes. Will say:

Yes I am sure you are somehow familiar with our award-winning SUSE OpenStack Cloud product.

It provides an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for your data center, with access to automated pools of IT resources to run applications. This gives you the flexibility to respond quickly and easily to new demands, providing the ideal platform for increased innovation, while helping you to control and reduce costs.

Yes I am also convinced you’ve heard several times that, with SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we have taken the lead in making a standardized OpenStack distribution deployable in today’s enterprise data centers. SUSE OpenStack Cloud makes it fast and easy to implement a mixed hypervisor private cloud infrastructure.

Finally, yes you are surely fully aware that SUSE provides easy and automatic installation of high availability services for OpenStack to help avoid unplanned downtime. This ensures that you can continue to access the key cloud resources you need. SUSE OpenStack Cloud also provides high-availability for the Linux compute nodes and workloads. This makes it easier to support traditional or business-critical workloads that were not originally designed for a cloud architecture.

But did you know that you can also deploy SUSE OpenStack Cloud on an IBM z Systems or LinuxONE mainframe, and get all of its benefits on the most reliable hardware platform? So you can set up your rock-solid castle 🏰in the cloud ? 👍👍 

SUSE OpenStack Cloud supports the Nova ZVMDriver driver which manages all communication between OpenStack and an IBM z/VM hypervisor to deploy and manage instances on z/VM. However, SUSE OpenStack Cloud does not natively support managing and deploying z/VM instances—it delegates requests to an xCAT server running on z/VM. xCAT is a cluster/cloud administration toolkit, and its purpose is to enable you to manage large numbers of servers used for any type of technical computing: HPC clusters, clouds, render farms, web farms, online gaming infrastructure, datacenters – you name it.

And this requires a proper setup on the z Systems side and a single Compute node to be configured on the SUSE OpenStack Cloud side. My colleague Frank Sundermeyer did spare neither trouble nor expense 😁 to explain in an extensive chapter of our SUSE OpenStack 6 Deployment Guide how to properly prepare the solution and put it into action.

The first part of the chapter focuses on the configuration of the IBM z System hardware. It covers topics like what are the pre-requirements, how to configure IBM’s hypervisor z/VM as well as the Cloud Manager Appliance (the CMA, which provides dashboard & report capabilities) with the xCAT and ZHCP Servers.

(Well – to be more precise: the CMA contains the xCAT management node [MN] and an agent named ZHCP. Previously, these had been two separate servers in two separate guests. In z/VM 6.3, the CMA is in the guest called “XCAT”, in z/VM 6.4 it’s in the guest called “OPNCLOUD”. When you configure the CMA you do have to configure the MN and ZHCP parts separately. Thanks to Emily Kate Hugenbruch for the details!)

Also discussed are how to capture an image for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on z Systems and LinuxONE, and of course – not to be missed – the very important ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Part two is all about configuring SUSE OpenStack Cloud. It contains subchapters on how to configure Neutron (the OpenStack Networking component for managing networks and IP addresses) and Nova (the OpenStack Compute component, a cloud computing fabric controller, which is the main part of an IaaS system) for IBM z Systems, how to export and upload an image for IBM z Systems to Glance (the OpenStack Image Server), and how to create an xCAT management provider network.

At this point: enough from me! If you think deploying your cloud environment with SUSE OpenStack Cloud on IBM z Systems could be the right solution for you, check out the chapter IBM z Systems Installation Instructions of the SUSE OpenStack Deployment Guide – it provides you with all information needed to get started. Have a lot of fun!


Disclaimer: The text at hand has not been reviewed by a native speaker. If you find typos or language mistakes, please send them to me ( – or if you like them, just keep them and feed them. 😆

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Meike ChabowskiMeike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.