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Hands-on CloudStack Session with David Nalley!

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First off – a huge thank you goes out to NetApp and Kim White for hosting the CloudStack SF Bay Area Users Group on March 19th! It was a wonderful venue and they were so generous to provide pizza, refreshments, beer and cupcakes to keep the CloudStackers going through the evening.

John Kinsella kicked off the night with a quick introduction and reminder about the CloudStack Collaboration Conference held in Denver, CO April 9-11th, 2014. A few of our very own CloudStackers have submitted talk proposals for the CloudStack Collaboration Conference. Their talks have gotten accepted and they will be speaking at the conference! Congratulations to Amogh Vasekar and Marco Massenzio! There's still time to register for the conference so don't delay! If you're already planning to attend, check out their presentations:

Moving up the Stack with Stacktician by Amogh Vasekar, Software Engineer at Citrix 

Towards an Automated Testing Environment by Amogh Vasekar, Software Engineer at Citrix

Challenges in Developing a True SaaS Cloud Mobility Platform by Marco Massenzio at RiverMeadow

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The global provider of swiss-based cloud services brings users automation, platform, and much needed services by integrating with Apache CloudStack

Exoscale is a global provider of swiss-based cloud services. Exoscale offers local or international companies real technological and financial benefits while preserving top-level customer relationship. Its service catalog proposes IaaS products from compute to storage. Exoscale combines cloud computing advantages with the know-how and experience of Veltigroup, a major and local ICT player in Switzerland. This combination between Cloud agility and proximity of a trusted service provider makes Exoscale unique on the market. Today, two datacenters physically hosts Exoscale's products. The datacenters are located in the Geneva area and separated by 10km. Due to the intuitive web based management console, provisioning of cloud servers is only a few clicks away. There is one console for all DC zones and it allows the user to access and deploy their servers from any DC zone available in Exoscale. Exoscale's services are strictly located in Switzerland and operated solely from there.

The Challenge: Offering Turn-Key IaaS Cloud Services with a Simple Cloud Interface for Developers

As the leading Swiss cloud provider, Exoscale decided to expand its services using CloudStack by creating their own UI and integrating it with a ticketing, monitoring and billing system that they developed. Exoscale required an IaaS cloud computing platform with a rich API to allow for easy integration of software to automate the management of their cloud. The UI as mentioned is custom made, built with angular.js and bootstrap and aimed for developers. It allowed Exoscale to tighten the access to the various CloudStack functionalities and integrate with their ticketing and billing system. As a result, there was no need to log into multiple systems for billing or support. Developers are directed to a simple one-step instance creation form with a straightforward way of adding a new instance. They can get a direct high-level view of instances, credits, on-going tickets and instances are displayed directly on the console dashboard for a quick and easy access to actions.

Solution: Delivering IaaS Cloud Services through an Apache CloudStack Powered Cloud

With Apache CloudStack as the base orchestrator, Exoscale is able to integrate an advanced monitoring infrastructure. CloudStack logs from the management server and all the hypervisors are sent to a redis based publish-subscribe queue and fed into an elasticsearch cluster with Kibana serving as the UI frontend to mine the logs. This gives Exoscale engineers a clean web interface to all events in their cloud and easy access to logs. In addition they used JMX metrics for java processes on the entire infrastructure, coupled with the graphite monitoring system. CloudStack's maturity, ease of implementation, open APIs and ability to seamlessly integrate with existing systems allowed Exoscale to deliver value-added services to their users giving them control and flexibility that they needed.

The Benefit: Ease of Implementation, Flexibility and Maturity

"CloudStack maturity and ease of use allowed us to focus on the ecosystem around it. As an open source group, we easily integrated software like logstash, kibana, puppet to automate the management of our cloud, this saved us a lot of time and allowed us to focus on the value add that we want to bring to our users: automation, platform, services on top of the core IaaS functionality," says Antoine Coetsier, Director Open Cloud, Exoscale. The open source nature of Apache CloudStack also means that a company like Exoscale can invest development time to enhance the platform with the features that it needs. The open source group set a great example by investing their time to integrate software with CloudStack enabling much-needed services for their users.

Technical Situation

Exoscale's cloud consists of two data centers in Geneva and Vernier, with hardware hosted by Equinix. They run Apache CloudStack 4.0.2 and use KVM hypervisors on Ubuntu based servers. One customization that was performed is that they patched CloudStack to output logs using logstash and use Kibana for visualization. Exoscale offers Debian 7.2, CentOS 6.5 and Ubuntu 12.04/13.10 64 bit templates with instance types from 512MB with 1 core to 32 GB with 8 cores. Fully licensed Windows instances are also available. All their nodes -management server and hypervisors- are setup with a puppet infrastructure. The development and operations team is relatively small for such an offering but they are backed by the Veltigroup a leading IT provider in Switzerland, which gives them a 20 person team for support. The developers are seasoned IT infrastructure enthusiasts who participate in the DevOps, openBSD, Clojure and Pallet community. The CTO, Pierre-Yves Ritschard, formerly with paper.li, recently participated in DevOps Days Paris and has contributed a Clojure client to CloudStack: clostack. Exoscale is embracing open source, not only by using it, but also by contributing to the various communities that make up the foundation of Cloud services.

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Gluster Community Adds New Members Citrix, Harvard FASRC and Expands Governing Board
Citrix, Harvard University FASRC and long-time contributors join the Gluster Community Board to drive the direction of open software-defined storage

February 5, 2014 – The Gluster Community, the leading community for open software-defined storage, announced today two new organizations have signed letters of intent to join: Citrix, Inc. and Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Science Research Computing (FASRC) group. This marks the third major expansion of the Gluster Community in governance and projects since mid-2013. Downloads of GlusterFS per month have tripled since the beginning of 2013, and traffic to gluster.org has increased by over 50% over the previous year. There are now 45 projects on the Gluster Forge and over 200 developers, with integrations either completed or in the works for OpenStack Swift, CloudStack, OpenStack Cinder, Ganeti, Archipelago, Xen, QEMU/KVM, Ganesha, the Java platform, and SAMBA, with more to come in 2014.

Citrix and FASRC will be represented by Mark Hinkle, Senior Director of Open Source Solutions, and James Cuff, Assistant Dean for Research Computing, respectively, joining two individual contributors: Anond Avati, Lead GlusterFS Architect, and Theron Conrey, a contributing speaker, blogger and leading advocate for converged infrastructure. Rounding out the Gluster Community Board are Xavier Hernandez (DataLab); Marc Holmes (Hortonworks), Vin Sharma (Intel), Jim Zemlin (The Linux Foundation), Keisuke Takahashi (NTTPC), Lance Albertson (The Open Source Lab at Oregon State University), John Mark Walker (Red Hat), Louis Zuckerman, Joe Julian, and David Nalley.

Citrix

Citrix has become a major innovator in the cloud and virtualization markets. They will drive ongoing efforts to integrate GlusterFS with CloudStack (https://forge.gluster.org/cloudstack-gluster) and the Xen hypervisor. Citrix is also sponsoring Gluster Community events, including a Gluster Cloud Night at their facility in Santa Clara, California on March 18.

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Apache CloudStack Networking & Monitoring Meetup

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Last night, the CloudStack SF Bay Area Users Group held their first meetup for 2014 at SAPLabs in Palo Alto, CA. John Kinsella, our MC of the night, kicked off the meetup with the agenda and announced information about the CloudStack Collaboration Conference North America in Denver, Colorado on April 9th-11th. Will you be there? John, Animesh and I will certainly be!

Sheng Yang did a great job on his presentation, "CloudStack Networking Overview" going over CloudStack's network infrastructure, including the features that are supported, the services that are provided and by giving attendees a look into the virtual router. You can view his presentation slides here.

Next, Mike Turnlund, Director of Business Development at CA Technologies gave a presentation on "Contextual Monitoring for CloudStack." He reviewed how proper tooling can make the difference in running an excellent service versus a problem plagued environment. You can view the presentation slides here.

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It was great seeing all of the regular CloudStackers once again! To those who were new to the group – welcome again! There were many suggestions from attendees on doing another hands-on session and we are all ears on that idea. The organizers and myself will begin working on the agenda for the next hands-on session at the CloudStack meetup in March. We're always listening and open to any feedback!

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Videos from Build a Cloud Day at LISA '13

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Build a Cloud Day was co-located with LISA '13 (Large Installation Systems Administration) this year in Washington D.C. The program was designed to expose attendees to the concepts and best practices around deploying cloud computing infrastructure. Attendees learned how to deploy a cloud computing environment using CloudStack and other cloud infrastructure tools including those from Xen, Puppet Labs, SolidFire, GlusterFS and RiakCS.

The recordings of each presentation are now available for viewing.

Better, Faster, Cheaper Infrastructure with Apache CloudStack and Riak CS by John Burwell, Consulting Engineer at Basho Technologies

Software is eating infrastructure. By pulling reliability and scalability responsibilities up the stack from hardware into software, object stores such as Basho's Riak CS and cloud orchestration platforms such as Apache CloudStack increase the utilization of compute and storage resources by dynamically shifting workloads based on demand. Together, those platforms can saturate compute and storage of 1000s of hosts with strong operational visibility and end-user self-service.

This talk will cover the following topics to explore private cloud design principles and best practices:

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Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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