Friday, February 08, 2013

Build A Cloud Day, Ghent Feb1st Summary

Last friday we had a full day workshop (Build A Cloud Day) in Ghent, Belgium. It was co-located with Puppet Camp. All the logistics was planned by our friends from Inuits led by Kris Buytaert (@KrisBuytaert). The BACD had approximately 50 people in attendance throughout the day, with things winding down by 4pm, when people started heading to Brussels for Europe's biggest Open Source event: FOSDEM. We had an exciting day with terrific speakers that showed the complete range of the CloudStack ecosystem. Here are all the slides, enjoy.

I started the day with an introduction talk about CloudStack, bringing some high level vision about Clouds and how CloudStack fits in. I also presented the "Apache Way", what you can expect in terms of releases, and I also highlighted the main components of CloudStack. I introduced the rest of the agenda with a theme of covering the entire "stack" of Cloud computing and seeing how CloudStack is the core backend of it.

Hugo Trippaers (@Spark404) from Schuberg Phillis then presented the integration of the Nicira Private Gateway with CloudStack. Which brings an SDN solution (STT tunnels meshes for isolation of tenants) to ACS and complements the native SDN controller that can build meshes of GRE tunnels. Hugo is a committer and PMC member of CloudStack and the lead engineer for operation of the CloudStack private cloud at Schuberg Phillis.

Once we learned about SDN and advanced networking for multi-tenant isolation, we heard from Wido Den Hollander from PCExtreme. Wido is a committer and PMC member of CloudStack as well, and he is most notably the man behind the CloudStack/Ceph integration. Ceph has received a lot of attention for the last couple years as it offers an alternative to traditional parallel distributed file systems and builds a highly scalable object store and efficient storage for virtual machines with the so-called Rados Block Device (RBD). Wido had few slides but filled many questions on the board.

Three talks and the excitement rose learning about the latest features in networking and storage for CloudStack. A short lunch and we came back in to talk about the API exposed by CloudStack. When discussing APIs, everyone mentions standards. CloudStack API is not a standard and I doubt it will ever be (for good reasons). But what we have seen in the field is a de-facto standard in AWS APIs (which is supported in CloudStack to some extent) and some emerging standards from OGF and DMTF. While limited in scope they do provide some assurance against vendor lock-in. The talk by RedHat Oved Ourfali (@ovedou) was about CIMI, the DMTF standard. We were particularly interested to hear about CIMI to see how we could integrate it in CloudStack and potentially write a deltacloud driver.

Having learned about the backend networking and storage solutions, plus the API used to manage and access your cloud, it was now time to hear about an exciting use case: Spotify the on-line music service. Noa Resare (@blippie) has been active on the CloudStack mailing list and is now helping out with packaging. He presented us Spoticloud a private cloud built for their engineers/developers to allow them to "be developers". He gave us some great feedback with pointy details like adding a pod with the wrong id, and asked for features that we are working on, like removing the secondary storage VM. Also exciting was that Spotify is hiring a cloudstack engineer:

Next up was Brian Amedro (@brianamedro) from Activeeon, I really wanted Brian to talk because he represents a SaaS application making use of CloudStack. His company Activeeon has a very interesting application: ProActive, that offers a powerful IDE, a workflow engine and a resource manager to automate the parallelization of compute intensive tasks. It is used in the automotive industry, pharmacy, finance and other fields that have a need for long running computing analysis. Where CloudStack comes in is at the resource management layer, Brian integrated ProActive with CloudStack using the API, it allows ProActive to dynamically provision machines on cloud providers and run the workflows. Check the video as well.

To wrap up our day we had Charles Moulliard (@cmoulliard), (RedHat), an Apache committer on several projects and very active on the CloudStack mailing list. Charles is not shy to bring up issues with the API, DevCloud or thrid party clients like jclouds. Charles introduced us to Karaf and Fuse Fabric. By deploying Karaf on multiple cloud providers you can create a coordinated PaaS. All the providers coordinate with a Zookeeper instance, creating a "Fuse Fabric" that eases deployment of software on all cloud nodes. It gave me an idea to use FuseFabric to deploy a hadoop cluster in the cloud...

And that was it for BACD Ghent. If you were there you learned a ton :), if you missed it...well you can always come to the next one, but it may not come with Belgium beer :)

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