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Discussion on the state of cloud computing and open source software that helps build, manage, and deliver everything-as-a-service.

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Recent blog posts

CloudStack simulator on Docker

Posted by on in CloudStack Tips

Docker is a lot of fun, one of its strength is in the portability of applications. This gave me the idea to package the CloudStack management server as a docker image.

CloudStack has a simulator that can fake a data center infrastructure. It can be used to test some of the basic functionalities. We use it to run our integration tests, like the smoke tests on TravisCI. The simulator allows us to configure an advanced or basic networking zone with fake hypervisors.

So I bootstrapped the CloudStack management server, configured the Mysql database with an advanced zone and created a docker image with Packer. The resulting image is on DockerHub, and I realized after the fact that four other great minds already did something similar :)

On a machine running docker:

docker pull runseb/cloudstack
docker run -t -i -p 8080:8080 runseb/cloudstack:0.1.4 /bin/bash
# service mysql restart
# cd /opt/cloudstack
# mvn -pl client jetty:run -Dsimulator

Then open your browser on http://<IP_of_docker_host>:8080/client and enjoy !

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On Docker and Kubernetes on CloudStack

Posted by on in Cloud Strategy

Docker has pushed containers to a new level, making it extremely easy to package and deploy applications within containers. Containers are not new, with Solaris containers and OpenVZ among several containers technologies going back 2005. But Docker has caught on quickly as mentioned by @adrianco. The startup speed is not surprising for containers, the portability is reminiscent of the Java goal to "write once run anywhere". What is truly interesting with Docker is that availability of Docker registries (e.g Docker Hub) to share containers and the potential to change the application deployment workflows.

Rightly so, we should soon see IT move to a docker based application deployment, where developers package their applications and make them available to Ops. Very much like we have been using war files. Embracing a DevOps mindset/culture should be easier with Docker. Where it becomes truly interesting is when we start thinking about an infrastructure whose sole purpose is to run containers. We can envision a bare operating system with a single goal to manage docker based services. This should make sys admin life easier.

The role of the Cloud with Docker

While the buzz around Docker has been truly amazing and a community has grown over night, some may think that this signals the end of the cloud. I think it is far from the truth as Docker may indeed become the killer app of the cloud.

A IaaS layer is what is: an infrastructure orchestration layer, while Docker and its ecosystem will become the application orchestration layer.

The question then becomes: How do I run Docker in the cloud ? And there is a straightforward answer: Just install Docker in your cloud templates. Whether on AWS or GCE or Azure or your private cloud, you can prepare linux based templates that provide Docker support. If you are aiming for the bare operating system whose sole purpose is to run Docker then the new CoreOS linux distribution might be your best pick. CoreOS provides rolling upgrades of the kernel, systemd based services, a distributed key value store (i.e etcd) and a distributed service scheduling system (i.e fleet)

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Last week, the CloudStack Silicon Valley Users Group held a meetup in Sunnyvale, CA at NetApp. Thank you to Kim White, Ray Mar and NetApp for hosting our group on Thursday evening!

John Kinsella kicked off the night with an introduction of our speaker, Geoff Higginbottom, and a quick reminder about the CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe held in Budapest, Hungary on November 19-21st, 2014. The schedule is now available. Register now! ApacheCon Europe will be co-located with the CloudStack Collaboration Conference from November 17-21st, 2014.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Geoff Higginbottom, CTO of ShapeBlue Ltd and a leading CloudStack implementation specialist. Geoff has designed numerous Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform Cloud Infrastructures, for both Public and Private Cloud use cases. Geoff regularly speaks at the CloudStack European User Group and designed and delivers a very successful CloudStack 2 Day Bootcamp course (which has been delivered around the globe). We were very lucky that Geoff happened to be in the US helping a CloudStack User get their cloud up and running last week. He took time to speak at the CloudStack Silicon Valley User group giving insights on designing CloudStack clouds and answering numerous questions from the attendees!

Geoff started off the meetup with an introduction to CloudStack and gave a live demonstration of the technology.

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Historically, the computer industry has been impressed with big things.  In the early decades, the mainframes and supercomputers were all the rage.  Even as the technology began to shrink, big rollouts supplanted the big machines.  And now you can find powerful technology which easily fits in the palm of your hand -- but you've probably only heard of the brands which sell in huge numbers.

This industry likes big things.  But sometimes the greatest value comes from the smallest things.  That can certainly be said of Open Source conferences.

Good Things Really Do Come in Small Packages

I've spoken at several dozen Open Source conferences over the years.  I remember when LinuxWorld Conference and Expo was all the rage a decade ago.  It had thousands of attendees, gigantic booths, a huge amount of swag, and plenty of press coverage.  With all its lights and noise, that conference was something to behold.

But I don't find myself wishing I could revisit those days. Instead, I find myself enjoying the smaller, community-driven, regional conferences.  These conferences aren't large, aren't noisy, and don't come with mountains of swag to take home, but they provide attendees with something much more valuable: the equipment to succeed.

It varies from conference to conference, but most of these local conferences include two very important elements: excellent information and local networking. 

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[reposted from the Citrix blog]

The title of this post is a riff on the now famous quote by Mark Twain a.k.a. Samuel Clemens about the New York Journal’s confusion between him and at time his ailing cousin James Ross Clemens who was a continent away. The same thing happened recently with regards to two unrelated events. An organizational change here at Citrix and the perceived vitality of one of the technologies we help support, Apache CloudStack.

Recently we combined the Citrix Cloud Platforms Group and the Citrix Cloud Networking Group into one integrated unit called Citrix NCSP (Networking, Cloud & SP Group). We believe these changes will strengthen our position in the quickly evolving data center market.  Klaus Oestermann as the VP and GM of NCSP will lead the newly combined group. This will create a closer working relationship between the teams that develop our Citrix Cloud Platform (powered by Apache CloudStack), Citrix Netscaler and XenServer(built on Xen Project) and other related products.

Unfortunately some of the pundits in our industry are speculating as part of a recent  reorganization at Citrix (and the departure of some of our former colleagues to pursue other opportunities) that this is a sign that we are abandoning our commitment to Apache CloudStack and the project would die. That’s probably because they don’t exactly understand how the Apache Software Foundation(ASF) works and how Citrix supports them.

I suspect many of them don’t understand that despite the lack of fanfare that the ASF provides technologies that power most of the internet’s websites, a huge part of the Java ecosystem and much, much more. While the tech industry swoons over Big Data (a market that is estimated to reach $50 billion by 2017). They might be surprised to know that the Hadoop mapreduce technology that is the lynchpin for the movement is developed by a relatively small set of developers in the Apache Software Foundation. Or the the Apache httpd server that powers more websites on the internet than any other is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers not a multi-billion dollar company.

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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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