CloudStack EU user group roundup – Leipzig November 2017

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The November EU user group was held in the lovely city of Leipzig in Saxony, Germany. First of all a great thanks to Sven Vogel and his team at Kupper Computer who hosted this event, which had a good turnout from the German CloudStack user community.

Sven started off the afternoon with welcome and introductions, before handing over to first speaker Thomas Heil from Terminal Consulting. Thomas’ gave a very interesting talk on the use of HashiCorp’s Terraform to build infrastructure in CloudStack. He started with an introduction into the basics of Terraform, and how this is configured to work with CloudStack as the cloud backend, before braving a live demo of how to build a full VPC hosting a LAMP stack with front end web server load balancing, all using Terraform. A very useful topic covered in great detail – and well done for the successful live demo. We will update this blog post with Thomas’ slide deck in due course.

Following a break – during which a number of CloudStack features and challenges were discussed over drinks and sandwiches – Dag Sonstebo gave his talk on the CloudStack usage service. This service is used to track all consumption of resources in CloudStack for reporting and billing purposes. Dag went through how the service is installed and configured, before diving deeper into how the service processes data from the CloudStack database into the different usage types (VMs, network usage, storage, etc.), before aggregating this into billable units or time slices in the cloud_usage database. He followed up with a number of examples on how to query and report on this usage data, before looking at general maintenance and troubleshooting of the service. All in all a useful topic showing how the resource usage can be tracked back to CloudStack accounts. More information in Dag’s slide deck below. Also watch out for an accompanying ShapeBlue blog post going into more detail on this topic in the coming weeks.

Finishing off the evening was Sebastian Bretschneider from BIT Group GmbH (part of Itelligence) who gave a very interesting talk on providing end user VM build capability in CloudStack using Ansible. For a larger service provider creating templates for every compute role the end user may want is a huge overhead, and Itelligence are trying to overcome this by using fewer base templates with an automation framework on top which builds the different compute roles, e.g. a web server, a DB server, and so on. Sebastian talked us through how they have overcome the challenges with providing Ansible connectivity into isolated user networks, and how Ansible playbooks are used on demand to automate and build end users’ infrastructure. He also discussed how the solution is being integrated into their custom CloudStack portal to provide the end user with a service catalogue for builds. As always – a very interesting talk from BIT Group, and we are looking forward to seeing more of how their solution works for their customers.

The user group meeting was finished off with an informal discussion on various CloudStack topics – especially the new features in CloudStack 4.10 and upcoming 4.11. We continued the discussion with some good German hospitality in a local pub.

All in all a very successful user group – and we are looking forward to the next one (which may be in Frankfurt in the first part of 2018 – to be confirmed). Again thanks to Sven and Kupper Computing for organising the meetup, for hosting us and providing food and drink.