Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Build a Cloud Day Amsterdam recap

On June 13th we had a Build a Cloud Day workshop in Schuberg Phillis offices in Amsterdam. We had a good crowd with a little over 30 people gathering to learn about CloudStack, its use cases, monitoring, PaaS, SDN and client tools. We had good fun and it was a very productive meeting.

We started off with a talk from Arjan Eriks from Schuberg Phillis, Arjan gave us a terrific overview of the Schuberg's culture and how the Cloud and DevOps processes naturally appeared within Schuberg. Their team oriented approach to customer support evolved to using CloudStack as their core IT solution to provide an agile infrastructure that meets the need of their customers. Adding to the Cloud infrastructure, a DevOps culture permeated Schuberg even before DevOps really existed. His slides below will give you a good idea of how a company moves to the Cloud and uses agile methods to make customers and employees "happy".

Following Arjan we had the chance to hear from Julien Pivoto (@roidelapluie) of Inuits an IT consulting company that helps its customers adopt open source solutions and embrace a DevOps culture. Julien presented the suite of open source monitoring tools that can be used to monitor a Cloud infrastructure at scale. From logstash, elasticsearch and Kibana, to collectd, graphite and riemann. Julien did a great job introducing all these tools and explaining how they stitch together to help automation of a Cloud infrastructure.

Hugo Trippaers (@Spark404) then gave us a very practical talk about SDN (Software Defined Networking). Hugo has developed the Nicira NVP integraton in Apache CloudStack and manages the Cloud at Schuberg Phillis. He reviewed all the SDN support in CloudStack (e.g Nicira, native OVS manager, Big Switch, Midonet) and then dove into a Nicira use case. This really brought home the fact that SDN is not a fiction but a reality.

After these first talks about a company's view of Cloud and DevOps, a review of key monitoring tools and SDN solutions in CloudStack, Giles Sirett from Shapeblue presented us with several CloudStack use cases. Shapeblue is a CloudStack integrator in the UK with offices in India, US and Brazil. Giles insider's look on how company choose a Cloud solution and how CloudStack empowers them is unique. This was a very energizing talk showing use that CloudStack is gaining momentum and being adopted all over the world.

CloudStack is a IaaS solution, but once you have built your IaaS you need to focus on application delivery. Arash Kaffamanesh from Cloudssky talked to us about PaaS and showed a few demos on Appscale and Stackato integration with CloudStack. PaaS integration is set to become a hot topic within the next year and Arash lightning talk certainly set the stage. I know of folks working on better CloudStack support in Cloudfoundry/BOSH as well, so expect to see PaaS/CloudStack integration soon.

After these relatively strategic talk we went back to developer tools with Sander Botman. Sander is currently taking the lead in maintaing the Knife CloudStack plugin. Knife is the command line utility from Opscode, it is a great tool to manage your Chef repository. Written in ruby it is highly customizable and has numerous plugins. Sander demoed the knife-cloudstack plugin which let's you provision instances on your CloudStack based cloud and automatically boostrap these instances using chef recipes. I have used knife-cs recently and even submitted a few patches. It is a terrific tool, easy to use with lots of options. If you are looking for a tool to easily provision, configure and manage instances in your cloud, this is it.

Finally, I wrapped up the talks with demos about several CloudStack clients and tools. I have been testing lots of tools lately to prepare content for CloudStack University. I focused on Apache tools form the ASF such as libcloud and jclouds which just entered the incubator. I also looked at higher level wrappers like Apache whirr to create hadoop-clusters on demand. The slides below are still a work in progress and I will put up screencasts up really soon, Stay tuned.

To end the day, we had a few beers, before heading out to the DevOps days pre-conference party. A few folks sneaked out before we took the picture but we all left energized, having learned a ton. We all look forward to the CloudStack conference November 20-22nd in Amsterdam. Should be a blast.

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