Two independent analysts who have contributed an unvarnished voice of pragmatism to the cloud conversation are Ben Kepes of Diversity Limited and Krishnan Subramanian of Rishidot. They’ve made a name for themselves in providing points of view that everyone might not always agree with, but everyone respects because they bring thoughtful analysis and clarity to a space that’s often obfuscated.
Ben and Krish have taken a bold step, and we at Cloudscaling are happy to help them. They’ve launched a one-day event focused on perturbing the steady-state system of cloud thought leadership by going beyond vendor stories and cloudwashed application profiles to think about questions that matter to cloud buyers going forward.
Check out the agenda, and apply to attend. If you’re coming to Las Vegas for Interop, it’ll be easy enough to join in, and it should be well worth your time.Posted in Cloud Computing | 3 Comments
The OpenStack cloud computing software platform is the fastest-growing project in the history of open source. OpenStack Grizzly, the seventh major milestone release of OpenStack in less than three years, has become generally available after six months of active development, delivering powerful new features and some 7,620 patches contributed by 517 contributors globally.
Grizzly, incorporates the three major components for building a cloud: compute, storage and network and is about making OpenStack scale and integrate with existing systems more easily. Users can now manage multiple OpenStack clouds through a single console; there are new drivers that ensure it is compatible with a wide range of products commonplace in the enterprise market, from vendors such as HP, IBM, VMware, NetApp and Red Hat, among others.
The OpenStack platform has matured to a point where enterprises can start to reliably use it to power next-generation computing workloads on their own private clouds. Real-world deployment stories are a central theme at this week’s OpenStack Summit. Stories from industry leading companies such as EVault, IBS DataFort, Ubisoft and LivingSocial will put Cloudscaling at the center of the conversation.
Despite the momentum behind OpenStack and early customer success, there is still more work to be done to make it truly enterprise-ready.
Today, Cloudscaling and Juniper Networks announced a partnership that will integrate Juniper’s virtual network control technology – developed by Contrail – into Cloudscaling’s Open Cloud System (OCS). Juniper chose Cloudscaling for several reasons:
Additionally, Juniper and Cloudscaling share a vision of the modern data center as well as an understanding of how the elastic cloud model and dynamic applications are revolutionizing the way IT services are delivered.
Customers expect highly agile, production-ready solutions, and the partnership with Juniper reflects that. As early leaders in SDN and the OpenStack community, respectively, Juniper and Cloudscaling understand the key disruptions driving cloud convergence and are uniquely qualified to deliver robust solutions that scale IP (internet protocol) service delivery and new application deployment. Alternative market solutions have failed to address the needs of enterprise and service provider customers who require a turnkey, open architecture, elastic cloud infrastructure solution that interoperates with existing data center and elastic public cloud environments.
Contrail’s virtual network control technology does more than simply emulate a Layer-2 network. It solves many of the problems inherent in other designs that compromise the dynamic scaling capabilities that app developers expect of a Layer-3 network – IP reachability and network services including advanced security, horizontal scaling, and fault tolerance. With the Contrail controller and Open Cloud System, customers get what they expect: architectural and behavioral compatibility between Layer-2 and Layer-3 topologies that simplifies automation and supports today’s enterprise apps and tomorrow’s hybrid deployments.
The deal is the first phase of an ongoing partnership in which the two companies will work together to leverage Cloudscaling’s leadership in OpenStack-based elastic cloud infrastructure and Juniper’s leadership in network innovation for enterprise data center customers.
In this first phase, the two companies are integrating Juniper VNC technology into Open Cloud System to enable the modernization of the traditional data center networking towards open, any-to-any fabrics where Layer-3 network services are moved closer to cloud-enabled application workloads. This approach emulates the cloud infrastructure (Virtual Private Cloud) architectures pioneered by hyper-scale web and cloud computing pioneers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google.
The new software-defined networking capabilities are implemented via OpenStack Quantum. Following validation with early access customers, general availability is slated for later this summer. The VPC capability will be delivered as an advanced feature module in Open Cloud System 2.5, which was announced today at the OpenStack Summit in Portland.
While the first step of the collaboration is integration of the Contrail controller into Open Cloud System to provide a new VPC capability, there are more announcements on the horizon. And, as our early access customers begin implementing the VPC product, you’ll hear more about how they’re using it and the results they’re achieving.
(Read more on the Juniper Networks blog.)Posted in Company | 22 Comments
Today, Cloudscaling announced Open Cloud System 2.5, our next major OCS release scheduled for availability this summer. New feature highlights in OCS 2.5 include:
OCS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) provides fine-grained networking control for customers deploying applications into elastic clouds. It supports provisioning of logically isolated, virtual networks with complete control and customization of the IP network constructs (address range, subnets, gateways, etc), delivers enhanced security via security groups and network ACLs, and enables traffic load balancing across groups of instances. OCS VPC supports the familiar network constructs and controls found in a typical enterprise network, but without sacrificing elastic cloud functionality such as tenant security groups and elastic IPs.
With OCS VPC, deploying cloud-ready dynamic and enterprise apps has never been easier or more secure. The additional control and flexibility simplifies application deployment as tenants have full control of the network and security access. It opens up a variety of application deployment options that simultaneously provide access to public resources while protecting private ones.
For example, a tenant can set up both a public subnet and a private subnet within a VPC. Instances launched within a public subnet will have both outbound and inbound connectivity but private subnets will not have internet connectivity by default. This separation allow tenants to simply place all public facing servers (such as web servers and search servers) in the public subnet while keeping private servers (such as database servers, cache nodes and application servers) in the private subnet. This is one of the many application deployment scenarios that are made possible by OCS VPC.
We are very excited to be working with the great team at Juniper to deliver OCS VPC. Our CTO, Randy Bias, got an early glimpse into what the Contrail team was developing in late 2012 and he was very bullish by what he saw. Our customers expect production-ready solutions and now they will have a choice of deploying OCS Elastic Networking – VPC or Standard – depending on their cloud infrastructure networking needs.
We announced OCS Block Storage as part of OCS 2.5. With 2.5, we’re enhancing the Block Storage service by allowing tenants to initiate snapshots of their volumes and store these snapshots in OCS Object Storage. In addition to providing cost-effective backups, volume snapshots provide an easy way to rapidly launch new instances when a dynamic app needs to auto-scale. The ability to capture block volume snapshots to object storage leverages the strength of each storage type – the performance and persistence of block storage and the low cost and scalability of object storage.
With 2.5, we have also focused on additional production-ready enhancements that simplify deployments and improve SLAs. We’ve automated the installation and deployment of OCS Block Storage blocks plus built redundant services and interconnects to protect against infrastructure failure. Finally, we’ve expanded the hardware choices available from Quanta and Dell that can be used to deploy OCS Block Storage.
I called OpenStack Folsom “awesome” and I am sure in due time I’ll find more descriptive adjectives to describe OpenStack Grizzly (OpenStack 2013.1 release). More than 550 people contributed code, documentation, or infrastructure configurations plus resolving 1,900 development tickets within the various OpenStack projects. Our approach to building the best OpenStack-powered system starts with curating which components of OpenStack get enabled in OCS. With the Grizzly release, OCS 2.5 adds support for Quantum in addition to the already-supported Nova, Swift, Cinder, Glance and Keystone components.
Finally, our hardware team has been busy certifying hardware from Juniper, Dell and Cisco. Our CloudBlocks architecture already supports servers from Quanta and high-speed, 10GE top-of-rack switches from Arista. Based on customer feedback and our expanding technology ecosystem, we will support the Dell R420, R620 and R720xd rack mount servers. We have also significantly added 10GE network switches with new choices including the Juniper QFX 3500, Quanta LY-2 and Cisco Nexus 3000. Our expanding certified hardware list enables a broader range of OCS configuration options and price points, and it allows our customers to leverage established relationships with existing, trusted infrastructure partners.
Before pivoting to a pure product company in late 2011, Cloudscaling started as a cloud consultancy and developed extensive experience deploying most of the open source cloud software options out there. We’re well aware of the development, operational and maintenance challenges presented by customized cloud infrastructure. OCS 2.5 represents the third major release of our packaged cloud system designed to stand up cloud infrastructure quickly and reliably to support your production workloads. We look forward to continuing the investment as we continue to ramp up customers on the Open Cloud System.Posted in Engineering | 1 Comment
We’re three weeks away from the biggest gathering of OpenStack community members yet. Nearly 2,200 developers, users, investors, media and analysts will descend on the Oregon Convention Center for the OpenStack Summit April 15-18.
Cloudscaling will be there in force, with six presentations (well, five plus one panel), and customers of Open Cloud System on hand to talk about building clouds with OpenStack and Open Cloud System.
We’ll even have some news to announce.
Frequent readers of this blog know that Cloudscaling was among the first commercial entities to publicly support OpenStack, and that our OpenStack-based Open Cloud System is in production environments for multiple customers.
What you might not know is that Cloudscaling was the first company to deploy a Nova compute public cloud, and we were the first to deploy a Swift storage public cloud outside of Rackspace. We’re a founding member of the OpenStack Foundation and a charter Gold Corporate Sponsor. Co-founder and CTO Randy Bias has served on the Foundation board since its inception, and Cloudscaling is a top-ten code contributor to the project, including ZeroMQ messaging, RPC abstraction layer, APIs for Google Compute Engine and security improvements. The second version of our OpenStack-based product, OCS, is in GA.
In other words, we’re all-in on OpenStack. And the presentations our engineering team will give in Portland reflect that.
Review the session descriptions below, and come check out those sessions that address the questions you have about deploying OpenStack. Here’s the full schedule. There’s plenty to choose from.
April 16, 1:50 pm
Operations Summit: Design summit-style technical working sessions to discuss and refine best practices for deploying and operating OpenStack installations.
April 17, 11:00 am
OpenStack is the fastest growing open source movement in history, but its marketing momentum has largely outrun its technology growth. Why are organizations so eager to embrace OpenStack? Some components – like Swift – are ready for prime time. But others – like Horizon and Quantum – are still evolving. What needs the most attention: networking, storage, compute, or something else? Where are the reference architectures and real world deployments? How are different product and service companies implementing OpenStack in production today? We’ll go beyond the hype and dig deep on OpenStack, exploring all that is great and all that needs serious work. Attendees will leave with a firsthand account of the State of the Stack, ready to help their organizations embrace OpenStack armed with practical knowledge.
April 18, 9:30 am
Existing approaches to delivering persistent block storage in OpenStack focus on integrating existing SAN/NAS hardware solutions, using Distributed File Systems (DFS), or using simple Direct Attached Storage (DAS) with Cinder. There is another alternative: scale-out block storage nodes with intelligent scheduling. This is the same approach that Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses for Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and it’s worth taking a close look at the pros and cons. This presentation will explore the differences between SAN, NAS, DFS, DAS, and EBS. We will look at the implicit and explicit contracts that users and operators get from the different approaches and look at a variety of failure conditions. EBS may not be right for some clouds, but for many it’s an important and viable alternative to the existing approaches.
April 18, 3:20 pm
This talk is a breakdown of security concerns relating to the OpenStack Folsom Release. The purpose of this talk is to look at past vulnerabilities in Folsom, existing security models, and emerging technologies that will impact those models. The presentation will follow the flow of describing several deployment models in terms of their security attributes. The next phase will be the discussion of specific protocols in use and their individual security characteristics. I will present statistics on where past vulnerabilities have been found and reported allowing us to consider how we can better address security in our continuous integration processes. The goal of this talk is to present a map of where we are today, and expose some of the issues we have yet to face.
April 18, 4:10 pm
This presentation will be an in-depth critique of the existing OpenStack networking approach, with a focus on how the Nova network controller is more of a hindrance than a help. We will also discuss the gap in Quantum’s functionality required to close the gap, and alternative solutions. How can we make networking in OpenStack robust, high performance, and fault tolerant? What do typical large scale networks look like and what lessons can we learn from them? Is there an approach to networking we can take that is the same with a handful of servers as it is with hundreds of racks?
April 18, 5:00 pm
There have been a number of premature attempts to provide a trusted computing platform for IaaS software. However, all have met with failure and a lack of mass market adoption. What would be required to solve this problem for real and deliver “true” computing? True computing requires the ability to have a trusted chain of events related to the provisioning and deployment of hardware and software. It requires integration to the supply chain with installation of initial keys at the hardware vendor’s site, secure PXE booting, system attestation, and robust key management. None of this is easy or free, but what would it look like if OpenStack could become the first truly trusted cloud system? How would it integrate with the current ‘trusted-messaging’ blueprint? Would it make CloudAudit’s API more relevant?
Posted in Cloud Computing, OpenStack | Tagged Nova, OpenStack, Swift, ZeroMQ | 2 Comments
As you know, OpenStack is open source software for building private and public clouds. When Cloudscaling took Series A funding and pivoted to a pure product company in late 2011, it was a strategic move to use OpenStack as the heart of our Open Cloud System (OCS) product. Before this, we were a cloud consulting company that deployed most of the open source cloud software options available on the market, so we were aware of OpenStack’s capabilities and more importantly, its promise. The bet we took on OpenStack is paying back in spades.
But what if you aren’t a software vendor building a solution around OpenStack – what’s the right way to consume OpenStack as a product? We hear this question from a fair number of prospects and customers. Fortunately, as the OpenStack code base and ecosystem develops and matures, a clear spectrum of options is surfacing. Here’s a pass at summarizing the alternatives for deploying an OpenStack-based cloud.
OpenStack Product Landscape — Option #1: DIY
Option #1: DIY OpenStack: At first glance, the least expensive path to consuming OpenStack is via the Do It Yourself (DIY) route. Adventurous DIY-ers can go to Github, download the OpenStack bits and crank through the installation. There are some basic guidelines and documentation available in the public domain to keep you on the well travelled path. If you don’t have available technical expertise on staff, you can outsource the work and let an OpenStack integrator do the work for you. There are benefits to using this product option – you learn a ton about OpenStack on the journey and you get your own custom OpenStack cloud running on the infrastructure you specify.
Straightforward right? Well, not quite. It’s not the typical path people pursue to stand up a production ready OpenStack cloud, especially given the pre-packaged OpenStack options available on the market. You (or your OpenStack integrator of choice) are ultimately creating your own fork of OpenStack that you’ll have to maintain in perpetuity – this cost/benefit trade off should not be underestimated.
Cost is the most important consideration for the DIY option – outside of free open source software, this choice can quickly lead to cost overruns if not well managed. First, there’s the fixed cost of employing a very capable OpenStack team to develop, maintain and operate your custom cloud. Additionally, there is significant cost in reduced reliability of your infrastructure, lack of support options and higher operational effort of having your own OpenStack “island”.
Option #2: OpenStack Distribution
What you get in this product category is a packaged and supported OpenStack software distribution. The software is commonly delivered via a convenient downloadable ISO with documentation to assist the installation. Most of the packaged OpenStack distributions in the market are made available by purveyors of Linux distributions – so some people will likely align with their Linux vendor’s OpenStack solution. It’s a great way to get acquainted with OpenStack, but it may not be the best path forward to actually running a production OpenStack cloud. Why is that?
The scope for most OpenStack distributions is to provide a “try and buy” option for people interested in using OpenStack. This allows prospects to deploy a handful of servers in a test environment where single points of failure and an inability to scale linearly over time are acceptable compromises. However, these shortcomings are not acceptable for a production cloud.
Many OpenStack distributions are only in preview mode today – which means you can’t buy support even if you wanted to. When there is support available for the OpenStack distribution, it isn’t comprehensive. Frequently, support is via the web only with no upgrade option for phone support. Finally, the OpenStack distribution vendors will support only OpenStack software but not the running system (such as the hypervisor, hardware infrastructure and network elements).
Option #3: Turnkey System
This option pushes the effort of developing, maintaining and upgrading OpenStack to the ISV, thus freeing the customer to focus on technology areas that are more beneficial for their business. The reality is if you want to build a production ready OpenStack cloud, you must curate, test, validate and support the whole stack – this is the approach Cloudscaling took. What you get with an OpenStack system is
Choosing to deploy an OpenStack system eliminates the guesswork present in the OpenStack DIY and distribution product options, resulting in rapid deployment with reduced costs, higher infrastructure reliability and lower operational effort. An OpenStack system is production ready on Day 1 because it is architected to eliminate single points of failure and scale linearly over time.
Customers choose OpenStack because of the project’s feature velocity, so seamless upgrades of the entire stack is a key value proposition. Upgrades for an OpenStack system such as Cloudscaling OCS are predictable since the entire “stack” – OpenStack distribution, underlying hardware components and reference architecture – is treated as an atomic unit.
Finally, support for OpenStack systems cover the entire “stack”. Cloudscaling extends support beyond just the OpenStack software to include key areas such as the hypervisor, hardware infrastructure and network elements. This comprehensive approach to support is unique in the OpenStack product landscape.
— Summary of options for deploying OpenStack-based clouds. —
Posted in Cloud Computing | Tagged OpenStack | 6 Comments
Historically, we’ve kept quiet about the details of our approach to building software and architecting elastic cloud infrastructure, but that changes now. Our new blog‘s mission is to engage the OpenStack development community and non-OpenStack cloud architects everywhere in a discussion about the variety of technologies and approaches we can take to solve hard problems related to elastic cloud computing.
Examples of areas we want to talk about:
Our slogan in engineering at Cloudscaling is “simplicity scales,” which inspired the name of the new engineering blog.Cloud Computing | Tagged simplicity scales | 8 Comments
Two and a half years ago I wrote about the inevitable throwdown between VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), but recently VMware’s senior leadership appeared to outright admit defeat. The message to VMware’s partners was simple:
“We want to own corporate workload,” said Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO. “We all lose if they end up in these commodity public clouds.”
I want to fill in some of the gaps.
At various times since pretty close to the inception of cloud computing, I have engaged with the leadership at VMware and explained what is required to help them maintain dominance. Unfortunately, on all these occasions I was rebuffed. VMW’s hubris is to believe that their lead in enterprise virtualization will translate into success in the public cloud space. Other voices have since joined mine in making this point, yet Gelsinger’s recent admittal at the partner conference is nothing less than a public statement of VMware’s impotence in this regard.
Simply put, VMware does not understand what is required to win in the public cloud space nor are they willing to listen to those who do.Cloud Computing | Tagged elastic cloud infrastructure, vmware | 2 Comments
What if you could deploy public cloud capabilities behind the firewall and transform shadow IT from a governance headache into an IT innovation driver?
That’s the subject of a webinar that Cloudscaling and RedMonk will deliver on March 7.
Elastic cloud infrastructure delivers a practical solution to the challenges faced by both CIOs and line of business users in today’s social-mobile-big-data world.
Matt Asay, writing for Read Write Cloud, cites research showing that 88% of the 300 IT professionals surveyed believe that some of their data hosted in the cloud could be lost, corrupted or accessed by unauthorized individuals. So, giving internal users the agility of elastic cloud with the security of on-premise infrastructure is critical.
On March 7, RedMonk Analyst Stephen O’Grady and Cloudscaling CEO Michael Grant will discuss what’s driving shadow IT and how to harness it for competitive advantage.
Join this one hour webinar to gain insight into:
(Note: Deadline is Monday, February 25.)
On April 15, a record crowd of as many as 2,500 people will descend on the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for what will be the largest gathering of OpenStack developers, users, media and analysts in the project’s three year history. Cloudscaling will be there, as will others who’ve been there since the beginning. We’ll be joined by a bunch of folks who’ve looked at the evidence and concluded that OpenStack is the best horse to ride in the race to an open, scalable and agile cloud future.
The OpenStack Foundation manages a voting system whereby members choose the topics and presentations they’d like to see at the Summit. More than 200 submissions are offered for voting, and many of them are exceptional. Cloudscaling’s engineering team submitted several topics for consideration of the members.
If you’re not a Foundation member, you can learn more here. And you’ll want to register for the event soon, because the 50% discount expires March 15. Then, check and vote for these talks proposed by Cloudscalers (requires being an OpenStack Foundation member to view and vote):
There are other excellent proposals from active contributors to the OpenStack community you’ll want to read as well. Some that piqued my interest:
Few events combine the degree of useful technical depth and user application cases that the OpenStack Summits do. If your business or career depends on OpenStack, it’s the most valuable event you’ll attend this spring.Posted in Cloud Computing, Technology | Leave a comment
This past week was an exciting one for the Cloudscaling team. While we already have customers deployed on our Essex-based OCS 1.x releases, we began our first Folsom-based OCS 2.0 customer deployments last month. As a refresher, Cloudscaling announced OCS 2.0 at the OpenStack Design Summit in San Diego and there were two big pillars for that release:
Let’s chat about these two major updates.
OCS Block Storage
This commercially licensed product is an optional add-on to OCS. It is our scale-out network attached disk solution that provides persistent and expandable block level storage volumes served up by independent loosely-coupled block storage nodes. If you are familiar with Amazon Web Service (AWS), OCS Block Storage provides the same benefits as AWS Elastic Block Storage (EBS). It can be thought of as a virtualized Just a Bunch Of Disks (JBOD) service. Most current demand we are seeing for block storage are customers that have a need for:
Consuming OCS Block Storage is trivial – user volumes are ordered via the OpenStack APIs (EC2, Nova, or GCE), can be attached to a running instance, and appear as block devices like any hard drive. With OCS Block Storage complementing our built-in ephemeral storage, an instance can be booted, volumes attached, data processed, instance terminated, and the data would remain to be used again later.
We developed a storage scheduler for OCS Block Storage that maximizes volume dispersion on a per-tenant basis to reduce the impact of infrastructure failures on volume availability. This is a classic “scale-out” or “sharding” approach and is exactly how OpenStack Compute manages and allocates virtual servers to hypervisors. Here is an example of how the scheduler works.
Tenants can request and allocate a number of block volumes and aggregate them into a single software RAID set, knowing that individual volume failures will simply look like failed disk drives in the RAID array, which can be easily replaced using the same process. Simple yet effective.
OpenStack Folsom – “Awesome”
Folsom, in a word, is awesome. There has been incredible and steady progress in code base, stability, bug fixes, and an incredibly number of new developers. Just look at the trend lines in this Ohloh chart showing contributors over time vs. other similar projects. This particular picture shows far more than a thousand words ever could.
As you know, we’ve been building OpenStack-based solutions since Cactus so we’ve seen our fair share of “rough around the edges” code and integration challenges in OpenStack. While many vendors gravitate towards the new projects introduced in Folsom, we are most excited about improvements to existing projects like Nova (and offshoots such as Cinder). This is because, at Cloudscaling, we focus on supporting production workloads that run on top of OCS.
One example of a major improvement in Folsom (and there are many), is Nova’s VM state management, which has been massively improved. Prior to Folsom, it was common to find a VM permanently stuck in a pending state, from which there was no way to recover using Nova API calls. The only way to get rid of a VM in this state was to manually update Nova’s MySQL database to wipe out any trace of that VM – a potentially tricky and risky maneuver. In Folsom, it is less likely for VMs to become stuck and if they do, there is also a “reset-state” API call that can be used to safely reset the VM state.
Deliver On OCS 2.0
At Cloudscaling, we strive to make OCS the best OpenStack-based system on the planet and delivering OCS 2.0 materially moves the needle for us towards that goal. Our OCS 1.x customers are already planning their upgrades to OCS 2.0 to take advantage of these new capabilities. I think it’s an understatement to say we will have more exciting weeks ahead of us.
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