HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

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

APACHECON NORTH AMERICA WRAP-UP

Last week I had the good fortune to attend (and speak at) ApacheCon North America. While the event is still fresh in my head, I wanted to jot down a few notes about the conference and talks I attended.

Despite attending roughly nine billion open source conferences (perhaps a slight exaggeration) over the last few years, this was my first ApacheCon. I had expected a slightly larger event, but it turns out the conference had somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 people, which made for a pretty cozy event.

For my money, events are interesting at 300 people to about 1,500 people. At 300 (give or take) you can interact with a sizable chunk of the attendees, and it usually feels pretty low-key. Events much larger than 1,500 people just seem overwhelming.

ACTIVEEON INTEGRATES WITH CLOUDSTACK

Since CloudStack entered incubation at the Apache Software Foundation, there has been lots of work in integrating existing software solutions with Apache CloudStack (ACS). On the networking side we have seen integration with Nicira, BigSwitch BVS, VMWare dvSwitch, Midokura Midonet. On the storage side we have seen integration with Ceph, Riak CS, Caringo and more recently Solidfire. All of these integrations are either already present in the 4.0 release, set for 4.1 at the end of March or in the works for the 4.2 release this summer. Most of these integration efforts need some tight integration with the CloudStack code, developing plugins, writing new classes, potentially defining new orchestration steps, and adding UI interaction. In this post, I want to introduce an integration with Proactive from a french company called Activeeon (@activeeon). They treated ACS as a black box and integrated with it using the default exposed API. A very powerful mechanism to integrate existing solutions and enterprise workflows with a private or public cloud.

Activeeon is a company that originated from an INRIA research lab (INRIA is the leading computer research organization in French , and a CloudStack user in their continuous integration department). One of their solutions, Proactive is an open source software available at the OW2 consortium. Proactive is an advanced workflow manager that combines a powerful IDE, a workflow engine and a resource manager. It aims to take complex computational workflows and ease their execution on distributed resources, such as HPC cluster, desktop grids and clouds. Existing applications using Proactive are from a diverse set of industries such as the financial, biological and automotive industries. Integrating with Clouds allows ProActive to dynamically provision resources to execute a workflow based on a set of pre-defined policies and constraints that are up to the user. Activeeon had developed a Amazon EC2 resource plugin and it made complete sense to integrate with Apache CloudStack either through the EC2 mapping and even directly via the ACS native API. Below I embed slides from Brian Amedro (@brianamedro) describing the integration, as well as a video demoing it live.

APACHECON NORTH AMERICA REPORT: TROUBLESHOOTING CLOUDSTACK

There’s no shortage of talks I wanted to attend at ApacheCon North America, but I was determined not to miss Kirk Kosinski’s troubleshooting talks on Tuesday. Kirk presented two talks, one on the top 10 networking issues, and another on using logs to diagnose issues with CloudStack.

Kirk is an escalation engineer for Citrix, who has worked with CloudPlatform and CloudStack for about two years. He’s no stranger to the common issues (and weirder ones) that folks run into when wrangling their open source clouds.

No doubt Kirk could talk for hours about issues he’s helped troubleshoot, but alas – he was only allotted two.

COMMON NETWORKING ISSUES

Kirk spent a lot of time on the first two major issues that people run into when deploying CloudStack – namely, VLAN issues.

When you hear “troubleshooting CloudStack” you might be thinking “oh, CloudStack has a lot of glitches.” Actually, it’s not so much with CloudStack bugs – it has a lot to do with the environment that you’re deploying CloudStack in

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