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There's a lot of talk about Cloud these days, but not all Clouds are created equal.

 Regardless of what type of Cloud your are discussing (IaaS, PaaS, etc.), there are certain guiding principles for a Cloud:

1. A Cloud dispenses resources when you need them and absorbs them back again when you are finished with them.

2. Because of principle #1, a Cloud allows your IT department to respond quickly to internal demand, allowing the overarching organization to respond to market forces in an agile fashion.

3. At the end of the day, the arrival of the Cloud has clear and positive implications for the entire organization.

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I have been working with Clouds since before the coining of the term itself (back then, the startup I was working for called it "Agile Infrastructure"; now it's known as "IaaS"). From the very beginning, a frequent blocker to adoption has been the question of security. "We can't go to the Cloud because it is simply not secure," goes the complaint.

Well, I'm here to say it's bunk -- pure bunk. There is NO new security problem in the Cloud.

There is, in fact, a security problem in external Clouds -- but it is already in your data center right now.

If you take a truly secure system and place it in an external or hybrid cloud, it will remain secure. Simply exposing a secure system to a larger number of potentially hostile assailants is not enough to make it vulnerable. No, a truly secure system is designed to remain that way even during escalating pressure.

The problem is that very few of our current systems are truly secure. They rely heavily on the notion that threats are few behind the corporate firewall, so they don't need to have air-tight security. That concept is -- and always was -- a mistake. And now that conditions are changing in the Cloud, the inappropriate assumption is causing major headaches. The leaks in the boat are becoming apparent now that it is finally in the water.

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Hi everyone!

I'm Mike Tutkowski. I work at an exciting data-storage company in Boulder, CO called SolidFire (http://solidfire.com).

The SolidFire storage area network (SAN) was designed from the ground up to support hard Quality of Service. On a volume-by-volume basis, administrators can decide on a minimum, maximum, and burst number of IOPS - eliminating the Noisy Neighbor effect and allowing Cloud Service Providers to confidently host all sorts of application workloads in their clouds that were previously unpractical.

I am a dedicated resource to the CloudStack project. I integrate advanced SolidFire features into CloudStack while also performing general-purpose CloudStack development activities.

We've received several inquiries from our customer base regarding how one goes about configuring storage in CloudStack. To help answer these questions, I've prepared a CloudStack Storage Configuration Guide and included it in this post.

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CloudStack is now an Apache Top Level Project (TLP) at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the announcement just came out. What the incubation period has meant for CloudStack has nothing to do with code maturity. CloudStack was mature and used in enterprise settings before it entered incubation at the ASF. What incubation meant was that CloudStack evolved into an open source community, self-governed by the Apache Way: transparency, meritocracy, respect, non-affiliation and consensus in no particular order. The community has learned and demonstrated that it understands the principles and processes laid by the Apache Software Foundation and that it can now operate more autonomously.

Growing an open source community is challenging, folks who participate come from various backgrounds, may seldom meet and interact mostly via emails, social media, instant messaging. Participants come from all over the world, work in different time-zones and donate their time after (and sometime while) dealing with day jobs and family. Participants rally around a project that they deem interesting, sometime just to lend a hand for a few months, or sometimes because their day job requires them to do it. In that very heterogeneous and fluctuating mix, an open source software community emerges, self-governed, sustainable and non-affiliated. In the last 12 months CloudStack has done just that, building a community from the ground up, developing and understanding the principles laid out in our bylaws, adapting -if need be- people's way of developing software, getting to know each other, welcoming new members every day and setting the foundation for a sustainable software.

When growing a community it is fairly natural to want to measure how well we are doing and how healthy the community is. Over the last several months I have started collecting some data to analyze our community, trying to see how we were doing and interacting. I mostly looked at our public mailing lists doing a study similar to the one done about comparing CloudStack, OpenNebula, OpenStack and Ecualyptus. Secretly, this was also a good way for me to sharpen a few skills on BigData, not that big actually but I used MongoDB instead of MySQL so that qualifies as BigData :). Defining membership in an open source community is a challenge since there is no concept of membership, even the concept of contribution is ill-defined. What constitutes a contribution ? Which channels need to be considered ? In the case of ASF for instance, contribution to code may only mean being a committer, but a committer is someone with write access to the code. Just counting committers will leave out all the folks sending patches, doing testing, doing user support, translating documentation, giving talks and so on. Also while at the ASF everything happens on the mailing list, what about IRC channels, social media like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, and what about other communities that may arise around a particular software: sub-projects, user groups etc. In this analysis I decided to only look at our public mailing lists but there is more to it than just this data source.

The two figures below show the number of individual contributors measured by unique email addresses used to send messages to the users and developers mailing lists. The red lines represent data from the users and developers mailing list prior to entering incubation at the ASF. The blue lines represent the ASF specific lists. Significant is the impact that the move to the ASF has had on the number of contributors. The developers list has peaked over 200 per month and the users list has peaked over 150 per month so far (figure on the left). The last data point is March (as of March 21st) and numbers will go up by the end of the month. The graph on the right shows the accumulation of contributors, adding all unique email addresses every month into a set. This shows us again that the move to ASF has had a huge impact on the growth rate of the community and that both lists grow at relatively the same pace. Adding the accumulated number of contributors to both list and removing duplicates present in both sets, this gives us a magic number of 722 CloudStack contributors to date.

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PCextreme Achieves Business Agility with Apache CloudStack

PCextreme is one of the leading Internet Service Providers in Netherlands. The company offers a wide range of ready-to-use services including web hosting, colocation, dedicated servers, domain names and managed services. As a pioneer in the affordable hosting market, PCextreme operates with a level of scale and efficiency that allows them to combine reliability with competitive prices. What started out as a hobby for Wido den Hollander, CTO of PCextreme, quickly grew to become one of the leading hosting services providers in the Netherlands, serving over 40,000 customers and hosting 100,000 websites in two datacenters. PCextreme has deployed 120 racks of Supermicro server in those two datacenters.

The challenge: Increase business agility to enhance competitiveness

To sustain rapid growth and maintain leadership in the affordable hosting market, PCextreme had to constantly innovate and expand their services to meet new demands. Key challenges included responding to the desire of customers to control their infrastructure without always having to use managed services, as well as achieving the flexibility to scale PCextreme services up and down based on customers’ needs. Given rising energy prices in Europe, power consumption was another primary concern.

Adapting to these requirements called for a cloud solution that could easily integrate with PCextreme’s existing environment, allow them to manage their infrastructure more efficiently and reduce energy costs—all while providing customers the control and flexibility that they demanded.

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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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