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CloudStack European User Group (CSEUG) roundup – London, March 2019

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Our first meetup of 2019 saw us at a new venue – Ticketmaster’s London HQ, and if you’re a music lover it certainly takes the prize for coolest meeting venue yet! Walls covered with pictures of rock stars and a stage complete with guitars and Marshall amps (not to mention pinball machines and a bar) created a real buzz of excitement before the meeting had even started. Once everyone had met up with friends, taken photos and finished lunch, Giles Sirett (CSEUG chairman) called the meeting to order, and kicked the day off with CloudStack news.

Giles talked us through the current and upcoming releases of CloudStack, and the new release of Cloudmonkey (6.0), before ‘unofficially’ announcing the new VP of Apache CloudStack – our very own Paul Angus! Moving onto market news, Giles introduced a thought-provoking topic, starting by referencing an article titled ‘What happened to OpenStack?’, before moving onto the different marketing approaches taken by the technologies.

We then heard about upcoming events – the next CSEUG will be in Sofia in June (register here), and we are currently looking for speakers. The CSEUG returns to London in October (and we are working with Ceph on making this another collaboration event), and we have CloudStack Collaboration Conferences in April (Brazil) and September (Las Vegas). Again – the Call For Participation is open for Las Vegas. All the information provided by Giles can be found by watching his talk:

Giles then introduced our first guest speaker onto the stage – Mike Rowell (Director, Platform Infrastructure) of our hosts Ticketmaster, with a talk titled ‘Our journey to a next generation cloud’. Mike did indeed take us on a journey, first explaining what challenges they needed to overcome, and what solutions they initially implemented, before discussing their investigations into a scalable cloud solution. These investigations led them to Apache CloudStack, and Mike went on to share what issues he experienced, as well as what other tools they use, such as Ansible, Terraform and Prometheus in the stack. Mike finished his talk by expanding on some features he would like to see in CloudStack.

Next to the stage was Bobby Stoyanov (ShapeBlue), talking us through some of the new features in CloudStack. These new features include: more sophisticated options for specifying pod and cluster while deploying a VM; running and retrieving diagnostics on the VR; sending additional configuration to VMs; and adding options to cleanup additional data disks when destroying a VM. It’s always great to hear about new features, and to see evidence of the continuing innovation and commitment to the project from the community. Bobby ‘dived deep’ on each feature, so I recommend you watch his talk:

After a short break, we welcomed Wido den Hollander from PCextreme, who talked about flexible networking for scaling a cloud environment,. As Wido explained – regular layer 2 VLANs have their limitations when it comes to scalability, and VXLAN overcomes these limitations, making it easier to scale out your CloudStack deployment. As of CloudStack 4.12, VXLAN can use IPv6, and Wido talked about Advanced networking + IPv6 + VXLAN which he is putting into production right now with the 4.12 release. As usual, Wido covered his topic comprehensively, and if you want to hear more, watch his talk:

We then welcomed Boyan Ivanov (Storpool) with his talk ‘Latency: the #1 metric of your cloud’. As Boyan pointed out – no two clouds are the same. However, the leading clouds all have one thing in common: they deliver on metrics, which matter to the customer. In this session Boyan examined and presented his findings on leading clouds, demonstrating why low latency is the thing that makes a cloud stand out. Watch Boyan’s talk:

Towards the end of Boyan’s talk we weren’t sure whether there would be a fifth talk, or we would be enjoying the hospitality of the Ticketmaster bar a little sooner than anticipated. All day, Grégoire Lamodière (DIMSI) had been struggling to get to London from Paris, due to disruption to Eurostar services. We had already moved his talk to the final slot of the day, and with just a few minutes to spare, he arrived! Grégoire’s talk was ‘Using message broker to extend cloud features’. As he explained, many use cases involve communication between CloudStack admin (provider) and instances (end user) regarding configuration, build and management. Grégoire presented the DIMSI team’s communication framework that enables managing user infrastructure on Windows and Linux systems from a centralized panel. Grégoire’s full talk is on our channel:

After the final ‘official’ talk of the day, Mike (playing the part of bar tender) opened the bar and we enjoyed a couple of drinks and the unofficial discussions started. We were then truly spoiled as Computacenter led us to a nearby pub and carried on buying the drinks! As usual, a fantastic event made so by the CloudStack community. Great attendance from all over Europe (including a heroic effort from Grégoire), and varied, interesting talks (thanks to Mike, Bobby, Wido, Boyan, and Grégoire). Huge thanks to Ticketmaster for hosting and providing a very cool venue (have I mentioned the slide?), and thanks to Computacenter for their generosity. We are already planning the next CSEUG which will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, on June 13 (registration open) – we are looking for talks, so if you want to come along and give a talk, please let me know at steve.roles@shapeblue.com. See you soon!

All the day’s talks were recorded, and are available on the ShapeBlue YouTube channel.

 

Our presenter’s slides can be found on SlideShare:

Giles: https://www.slideshare.net/ShapeBlue/giles-sirett-cloudstack-news

Mike: https://www.slideshare.net/ShapeBlue/mike-rowell-our-journey-to-a-next-generation-cloud

Bobby: https://www.slideshare.net/ShapeBlue/boris-stoyanov-some-new-features-in-apache-cloudstack

Boyan: https://www.slideshare.net/ShapeBlue/boyan-ivanov-latency-the-1-metric-of-your-cloud

CloudStack European User Group roundup – London, December 2018

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There was a definite feel of Christmas in the air in London as we made our way to last Thursday’s (December 13) winter meetup of the Cloudstack European User Group (CSEUG), and that only increased as we arrived at the BT Centre near St. Paul’s and saw the big Christmas tree in reception!

A great turnout for this, the last meetup of 2018, and a great representation of the CloudStack community in Europe with people travelling from Germany, Serbia, Glasgow, Switzerland and Latvia to name but a few. After a quick lunch we took our seats, and Giles Sirett (chairman of the user group) welcomed everyone and got the event started with introductions and CloudStack news.

Firstly, Giles spoke about software updates and new releases. CloudStack 4.11 is an LTS (long term support) release and included more than 250 new capabilities and a big step towards zero downtime upgrades, 4.11.2 has just been released (including 71 fixes), 4.11.3 is coming soon and 4.12 is in planning. Giles then mentioned CloudStack events starting with the recent CloudStack Collaboration Conference in September (Montreal), and events for 2019 – the next CSEUG in March (London), and the next Collaboration Conference in September (Las Vegas). During Giles’ presentation, Maurice Nettisheim (Head of Cloud Compute for BT) took to the stage to say a few words about BT’s ongoing use of CloudStack in their IaaS platform and their continued support and involvement in the CloudStack community.

Giles slides contain much more information:

After Giles, Paul Angus gave us an update on ShapeBlue’s CloudStack Container Service (CCS), giving us a walkthrough of the recently released update.This update brings CCS bang up-to-date by running the latest version of Kubernetes (v1.11.3) on the latest version of Container Linux. CCS also now makes use of CloudStack’s new CA framework to automatically secure the Kubernetes environments it creates. Paul’s talks and slides are always packed with detail:

Olivier Lambert of XCP-ng & Xen Orchestra took the floor next to tell us about the current state of the project. For those that are not familiar, XCP-ng is an opensource, community powered hypervisor based on Xen. It is easy to upgrade from XenServer (keeping all VMs, settings etc.), 100% API compatible, requires no license and has no feature restrictions.

Please take a look through Olivier’s slides for much more on this fascinating subject:

After a short break, we welcomed Ingo Jochim and Andre Walter (itelligence) with their talk entitled ‘How our cloud works’. They talked through full automation with Ansible for all infrastructure components of the cloud with CloudStack, check_mk, LDAP and more, with all functionality available through a customer portal, also covering how the setup is fully scalable for larger landscapes.
Ingo and Andre’s slides right here:

Next up was Adam Dagnall (Cloudian) with ‘Advanced S3 compatible storage integration in CloudStack’. To provide tighter integration between the S3 compatible object store and CloudStack, Cloudian has developed a connector to allow users and their applications to utilize the object store directly from within the CloudStack platform in a single sign-on manner with self-service provisioning. Additionally, CloudStack templates and snapshots are centrally stored within the object store and managed through the CloudStack service. The object store offers protection of these templates and snapshots across data centres using replication or erasure coding. Adam went into the feature-set in great detail, and his slides provide much more information:

Last talk of the day, and the honours fell to Andrija Panic (Hiag Data) with ‘CloudStack – 5 years in production’. Andrija shared real world experience of designing, deploying and managing a CloudStack public cloud, explaining how high availability for the CloudStack management components was implemented and discussing different storage technologies and networking models used, as well as the challenges faced. Andrija also presented alternate methods for deploying CloudStack as regards to regions / zones / pods, and also touched on physical networking, finally looking at the different CloudStack guest networking models available (from Basic Zone / Shared Networks to all the Advanced Zone’s networking models) and when to use each of them.
Andrija went into a lot of detail and I encourage you to look through his slides:

After Andrija had finished answering questions, Giles wrapped things up and we moved to a local pub, where I am pleased to say that conversation and collaboration continued into the night, with what rapidly became the unofficial ‘CloudStack Christmas Party’! Huge thanks to BT for providing a first-rate venue and lunch, and to all our speakers, who make these events so interesting and such a success.

The next CloudStack User Group meetup will be on Thursday, March 14, and will be hosted by our friends at Ticketmaster here in London. Please register here!

All the talks were recorded and will be made available shortly on the ShapeBlue YouTube channel.

CloudStack European User Group roundup – London, September 2018

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Thursday, September 13 saw us back at the Early Excellence Centre, Canada Water, for the (late) Summer meetup of the CloudStack European User Group. As usual, a great turnout and representation of the community and Europe – with attendees traveling from Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, and further afield from Ukraine. There were even a few of us there from the UK!

After we’d caught up with old friends and greeted new ones, we had a bite to eat and took our seats for the talks. Giles Sirett (ShapeBlue CEO and chairman of the CloudStack European User Group) was first up, starting with introductions, a run through the day’s agenda, and CloudStack news – and this past few months has seen lots of activity and development, including the release of the latest LTS branch of CloudStack (4.11), with 4.11.2 due soon. CloudStack 4.11 included more than 250 new capabilities, such as new host HA framework and Prometheus integration, whilst the 4.11.1 release brought us a step closer to ‘near zero downtime upgrades’ with a major refactor of the virtual router. Speaking of activity – approximately 800 downloads of CloudStack per month (in the last 6 months) shows continued strong adoption of the technology.

Giles then looked to the future, talking through upcoming events… and we were in Montreal for the CloudStack Collaboration Conference just last week! It was a fabulous event in a great city, and please see my blog for a roundup and some more information. Of course Giles also mentioned our next user group meetup – London, December 13, hosted by our friends at BT (London). Giles finished up with a call for users of CloudStack to talk more about it. For more information on that, and everything Giles talked about, here are his slides:

Giles then introduced our first featured speaker of the day – Paul Angus (VP Technology at ShapeBlue), with his talk: Backup & Recovery in CloudStack. As Paul explained – CloudStack users currently only have snapshots as a form of VM backup. With the Backup and Recovery Framework, end users will be presented with the features and functions that they have come to expect outside of ‘the cloud’, while cloud providers will be able to leverage the advantages of using enterprise backup and recovery products. In this talk, Paul explained some features of the forthcoming backup and recovery feature, the user experience and demonstrated the Veeam plugin working with the backup and recovery framework. This is a highly anticipated feature, and Paul’s slides are a treasure trove of information and detail:

Following Paul, Dag Sonstebo took control of the laser pointer. Dag is a Cloud Architect here at ShapeBlue and had chosen as his topic the CloudStack usage service. Dag started by explaining that the usage service is used to track consumption of resources in Apache CloudStack for reporting and billing purposes, before giving an overview of how the service is installed and configured. Dag then dived deeper into how data is processed from the database into the different usage types (VMs, network usage, storage, etc.), before being aggregated into billable units or time slices in the usage database.

The talk included several examples on how to query and report on this usage data, and looked at general maintenance and troubleshooting of the service. This really was a deep dive, as evidenced by Dag’s extensive slides:

After a brief interlude to grab coffee and some fresh air, next up was Olivier Lambert, the creator of Xen Orchestra and XCP-ng. Starting by talking about Citrix XenServer, Olivier explained why he developed an alternative that is truly open-source. He talked us through Xen Orchestra, before moving onto XCP-ng – a fork of XenServer removing all restrictions that were put in place with the free Citrix version. This is an exciting project, already proven and widely adopted. Olivier and his team continue to develop new functionality with a fast-growing community and have an exciting roadmap in place for future development. Olivier’s slides from his presentation are right here:

After Olivier we welcomed Vladimir Melnik to the podium (all the way from Ukraine, and I think the person who traveled the furthest). Vladimir is a co-founder of the first IaaS provider in Ukraine – Tucha, and his talk was ‘Building a redundant CloudStack management cluster’. Starting with a brief history of Tucha, Vlad covered building and maintaining an open-source-driven clustered environment for the Apache CloudStack management server with GNU Linux, HAProxy, HeartBeat, Bind, OpenLDAP and other tools. Vladimir’s slides are both entertaining and very interesting:

The honour of the last talk of the day fell to Boyan Ivanov of Storpool, providing advice on building software-defined clouds. Boyan posed the question ‘why software defined?’ and went on to answer the question quite comprehensively! Infrastructure is becoming more and more ‘software defined’, and Boyan illustrated how this should mean increased profitability, putting forward the business case for a software defined stack. Boyan was then good enough to provide several tactical tips and a free reference design!

Take a look through Boyan’s slides:

Once Boyan had finished taking questions, we all headed out to the nearest hostelry, and conversation continued into the night. A nice touch (indicative of the great CloudStack community) was that when it was time to say goodbye most people said ‘see you in Montreal’!

Thanks to Early Excellence for providing a first-class venue and refreshments, and huge thanks to the day’s speakers – Paul, Dag, Olivier, Vlad and Boyan, all of whom were good enough to donate their time, and in most cases travel great distances to share their expertise.

The next meetup of the CloudStack European User Group will be in London, on Thursday, December 13 and you can register here. We are always looking out for speakers with interesting and relevant subjects, and if you are interested in talking, please contact us.

All talks were recorded in full and can be found on our ShapeBlue YouTube channel:

Giles Sirett: https://youtu.be/Ls_HakbyxUU

Paul Angus: https://youtu.be/ZVThUKPeC_w

Dag Sonstebo: https://youtu.be/I5I7eduWHRQ

Olivier Lambert: https://youtu.be/KWBCKvwvnUc

Vladimir Melnik: https://youtu.be/aBNMysDoi5w

Boyan Ivanov: https://youtu.be/wt4pqTZ57OY

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at the next event!

CloudStack Collaboration Conference, Montreal, September 24 – 26

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We’re here in Montreal for the CloudStack Collaboration Conference, and it’s been a fantastic event with more to come! We’ve had two full days of back to back talks over two tracks, with subjects ranging from storage, billing and diagnostics through to containers, automation and monitoring… and everything in between. Mike Tutkowski (CloudStack VP) set the tone with his keynote at the beginning of the first day, asking the question ‘why are we here?’ The answer? To learn, work together​, share ideas​ and share problems. These fundamentals are what makes for a great community, and what makes Apache CloudStack such a great product. We have never really known just how widely adopted CloudStack is, so we have (for the first time) undertaken some in-depth analysis which Mike shared. In the last 12 months CloudStack management server packages were downloaded 116,796 times from 21,202 different IP addresses. We think this means that worldwide there are about 20,000 CloudStack clouds in production! Mike also mentioned several organisations that have recently adopted CloudStack, including Ticketmaster, from whom we saw a talk illustrating how they deployed their global cloud environment using Apache CloudStack.

The CloudStack community is full of smart, committed, talented people passionate about what they do, and this is clear from the quality and delivery of the talks, and the collaboration before and after. They aren’t just repeating facts or reading what has been written for them – they are talking from first hand experience, often about features and functionality they have personally developed and committed to the project. Thanks to the community, CloudStack is constantly being improved and developed by these real-world users and operators.

So we’re into day three, which means no more CloudStack talks. However – as I said, the event is far from finished. Today (Wednesday) we have an all-day hackathon – a room full of people working together on shared goals and ideas, the sole purpose to talk and share new ideas, and make CloudStack even better!

Every time I attend a CloudStack conference, I am privileged to spend time with a community who genuinely enjoy what they do, and I come away having made new friends, and having learnt something new. I am already excited about next year’s event, and seeing some of our new friends in London at our next CloudStack meetup (December 13).

Sincere thanks to the Apache Software Foundation (our conference co-locates every year with Apachecon). It’s always a well organised and well attended event, and we are delighted to be associated with it. Thanks also to the city of Montreal – a beautiful city which I hope to visit again soon.

All the CloudStack talks were recorded and will be published to Apache.org and our YouTube channel very soon.

    

  

 

 

 

 

 

CloudStack & Ceph day, Thursday, April 19 – roundup

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On Thursday, April 19 the CloudStack community joined up with the Ceph community for a combined event in London, and what an event it was! The meetup took place at the Early Excellence Centre at Canada Water, on a beautiful, sunny day (in fact the hottest day of the year so far), and registration started early with people enjoying coffee and pastries by the canal.

CloudStack & Ceph combined morning sessions

Once everyone had enjoyed breakfast, we all settled down as Wido den Hollander (of 42on) took to the podium to welcome everyone, explain a bit about how the event had come about, and talk through both technologies (CloudStack and Ceph), including how well they work together. Having set the scene Wido was ready to deliver the first presentation of the day, which was prepared to appeal to both communities – ‘Building a highly available cloud with Ceph and CloudStack’. In this talk, Wido talked about how he came across and started using Ceph, and how his company utilises both Ceph and CloudStack to offer services. To quote Wido… “We manage tens of thousands of Virtual Machines running with Ceph and CloudStack and we think it is a winning and golden combination”! This first talk really got the event off to a flying start, with plenty of questions and interaction from the floor, and Wido’s slides can be found here:

Next up was John Spray (RedHat) with a talk entitled ‘Ceph in Kubernetes’ John talked through Kubernetes, Rook, and why and how it all works together. Lot’s more detail in John’s slides:

After a short break, it was the turn of Phil Straw (SoftIron) to present. Phil’s talk was ‘Ceph on ARM64’, and covered all the fundamentals including some real world results from SoftIton’s appliance. Take a look through Phil’s slides:

Sebastien Bretschneider (intelligence) was last up before lunch, with ‘Our way to Ceph’ – another great talk for both communities as he talked about his experience using Ceph with CloudStack. Starting with some background, Sebastien talked through lessons learnt and how the platform looks now. More information in Sebastien’s slides:

CloudStack afternoon sessions

After lunch, the day split into two separate tracks, the first dedicated to CloudStack (the CloudStack European User Group – CSEUG), the second to Ceph. As with the morning, both rooms were very busy, with full agendas. As I focussed on CloudStack, I cover the CloudStack talks here (at the end of the article I include links to the Ceph presentations).

Giles Sirett (CSEUG chairman) brought the room to order and started with introductions and CloudStack news, which (as always) there is lots of, including new releases – 4.9.3, 4.10, and the latest LTS release – 4.11. Sticking with 4.11, Giles touched on some of the new features that have been introduced, such as new host HA framework, new CA framework and Prometheus integration (much more detail in Paul’s later presentation). Giles also mentioned that we are moving towards zero-downtime upgrades – a highly anticipated and much needed enhancement! What is exciting about this community is that nearly all of the 4.11 features were contributed or instigated by USERS… and speaking of new features – this was someone’s response to Citrix changing the XenServer licencing model: https://xcp-ng.org/

Giles then advised us about some dates or our diaries – lots of upcoming CloudStack events, and shared how CloudStack is growing in awareness and use – we are seeing 800 downloads per month, just from our (ShapeBlue) repo, and have several new, large scale private CloudStack clouds being deployed this year. Please see Giles slides for much more information:

Once Giles had finished taking questions, he introduced the first presentation, and this was both Wido den Hollander and Mike Tutkowski (SolidFire) for a brief retrospective of Wido’s year as VP
of the CloudStack project, and welcoming Mike as the new VP! This was a quick introduction, and next up was Antoine Coetsier (Exoscale) with his talk entitled ‘Billing the cloud’.

Starting with Exoscale’s background, Antoine talked through pros and cons of different approaches, and explained Exoscale’s solution. Antoine’s slides are here:

As mentioned earlier, next up was Paul Angus (ShapeBlue), with ‘What’s new in ACS 4.11’, which includes 100s of updates, over 30 new features and the best automated test coverage yet. Paul went through user features, operator features and integrations. This demonstrated just how much work and development is going into CloudStack, and if you are interested to see just how much work and development, I urge you to read through Paul’s comprehensive slides:

After a short break, Giles introduced the next talk of the day – Boyan Krosnov (Storpool), ‘Building a software-defined cloud’. After a little background, Boyan started by explaining how a hyper-converged cloud infrastructure looks, and then talked about how Storpool works with CloudStack.

Ivan’s talk was filmed: https://youtu.be/_d_xnqpmY0M, and his slides can be found here:

Next up was Mike Tutkowski (SolidFire), who talked us through managed storage in CloudStack, and then presented a live demo so we could see first-hand how it works. As Mike works for SolidFire this was the storage he used for his demo!

The end of this last talk of the CloudStack track coincided with the end of the last Ceph talk next door, so we all congregated together to hear some last thoughts and acknowledgements from Wido. This was the first collaborative day between Ceph and CloudStack, and it was a resounding success, thanks in no small part to the vibrant communities that support these technologies. Bringing the event to a close, we all moved the conversations to a nearby pub, where the event continued late into a beautiful London evening.

Thanks to our sponsors, without which these great events wouldn’t be possible – 42on, RedHat and ShapeBlue (us!) for providing the venue and refreshments, and to SoftIron for providing the evening drinks.

Ceph afternoon sessions

Wido den Hollander – 10 ways to break your Ceph cluster

Nick Fisk – low latency Ceph

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.

CloudStack European User Group roundup

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Last Thursday saw us back at BT, London, for the Summer meetup of the CloudStack European User Group (CSEUG). A full schedule meant a prompt start, and Giles Sirett (CSEUG chairman) brought the meeting to order and started with introductions and CloudStack news.

Since the last meetup, CloudStack 4.9.2 has been released, with 4.9.3 due for early September (4.9.x is the LTS branch). CloudStack continues to develop and add new features, and the recent release of 4.10 introduced OOBM for hosts, user defined roles, additional hypervisor support (including XenServer 7) as well as several other features and improvements – see Giles slides for more detail:

Giles went on to report on recent events – namely the Spring CSEUG meetup in Prague, and the CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Miami – both well attended events that showcased not only the depth of interest in CloudStack, but also the vibrant and continually growing community.
The first speaker was Mike Tutowski (NetApp Solidfire), with a talk entitled ‘Leveraging VMWare Storage I/O Control (SIOC) in CloudStack’. Starting with a high level overview of CloudStack and storage, Mike then focused in on SIOC and how it works with CloudStack. This was a detailed talk full of information, and Mike’s slides can be found here:
Next up was ‘Policy Driven SDN in CloudStack’, a talk from Sigert Goeminne of Nuage Networks. Starting with an introduction to Nuage, SDN and the existing Nuage VSP plugin, Sigert went on to talk through the exciting new features coming with CloudStack 4.11, such as VSD managed subnets, and migrating a native cloud to Nuage. More detail in Sigert’s slides:
After a very brief coffee break (as I said – a full schedule!), Giles welcomed Paul Angus of ShapeBlue, with a talk about Cloudstack and NFV. Paul’s talk stepped through an introduction to NFV, what CloudStack can do with NFV, and some of the exciting work currently going on around NFV in CloudStack… pretty much covering all angles! Paul’s talk was (as always) packed with detail, and you will find much more information in Paul’s slides:

The next talk was all about a new CloudStack UI – given by Ilya Zolotukhin of Bitworks (who joined us all the way from Siberia). Ilya explained why they started the project: based on their experience of the UI they knew about its shortcomings and knew what functionality they needed it to provide. Ilya then compared the native UI with the new one, and went on to talk through the UX goals before going into technical detail and the future direction that the project may take. This was a presentation packed with detail, and I recommend you take a look through Ilya’s slides:

Continuing to be spoilt by the number and quality of talks, next up was ‘Monitoring CloudStack and Components’, presented by Alexander Stock of leading SAP integrators Bit.Group GmbH. This was an in depth talk about how Bit.group use Nagios and a front-end tool called Check_MK, what they monitor in CloudStack, and how the monitoring is distributed an automated. Alexander’s slides are right here:

Time was running short, so we moved right along with the last talk of the day: ‘Running Cloudstack with IPv6’, a talk given Wido Den Hollender of PCExtreme. PCExtreme use CloudStack to deliver their hugely successful Aurora compute service. Wido is not only a CloudStack user and developer, he is also the current CloudStack VP. Opening with some reasons for IPv6 (eg. we are almost out of IPv4 addresses), he went on to state that ‘with the release of CloudStack 4.10 IPv6 is fully supported in basic networking’. Explaining how PCExtreme is currently using IPv4 and IPv6, he also said that they are currently working on providing IPv6 only VMs. Wido’s slides have a lot of information:

Following a Q&A session, the discussions continued seamlessly in a local pub, where the day’s speakers continued to answer questions and discuss CloudStack and future collaboration.

Thanks to all our speakers, to BT for providing lunch and a fabulous venue, and to all attendees for once again proving what a varied and active community CloudStack has. Next event TBC, but should be around November and will be announced on the ShapeBlue website.

CloudStack Collaboration Conference, Miami, May 16-18

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The third and final day of the CloudStack Collaboration Conference 2017 (North America) is underway, and as usual it has been a fantastic few days. Attendees have been truly spoilt with a plethora of speakers from all over the world – hearing from operators, users, vendors, developers, service providers and business owners.

Although the CloudStack conference started properly on Wednesday, Tuesday also had lots going on for attendees, with an all-day hackathon, and a day of CloudStack training for those new to the technology. The hackathon was a great way to start the conference, encouraging early engagement, discussion, and collaboration.

The Wednesday morning keynote set the tone for what to expect. Giles Sirett (ShapeBlue), Ian Rae (CloudOps), Sergey Levitskiy (Autodesk), Simon Weller (ENA) and Marcelo Oliveira (Cable & Wireless) took turns talking, between them creating a vibrant, exciting and positive atmosphere drawing on personal experience of how CloudStack drives their businesses. The key messages that came out of these talks resonated throughout the conference:

“DIRECTION IS DECIDED BY THE COMMUNITY”

“IT JUST WORKS”

“QUICK DEPLOYMENT”

“STABILITY”

“MATURITY AND THE OVERALL RELIABILITY”

“GOVERNANCE IS IMPORTANT TO US”

“IT SCALES WELL”

The talks, demos, discussions and collaboration continue for a few hours yet, and hopefully on into what will surely be another beautiful Miami evening! Having made lots of new friends, listened to lots of interesting talks and experienced the passion and continuing innovation of this community, I am already looking forward to the next conference.


CloudStack EU User group roundup – April 2017

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The city of Prague was the venue for the spring meeting of the Cloudstack European user group. There was a great turnout  for the meeting  and a first count showing 14 different nationalities represented; some people having travelled from as far as Ukraine, UK and France.

The event was kindly hosted by Interoute Czech.

There were 8 speakers on the day with a wide range of technical and user talks. Even the speakers reflected the true pan-european nature of this group with 6 different nationalities being represented.

Group Chairman Giles Sirett started proceedings. Giles gave a roundup of Cloudstack news, talking through recent releases 4.9.2 and  the upcoming 4.10 release. He also told the group about the upcoming Cloudstack collaboration conference in Miami Giles was briefly joined by Wido den Hollander, the recently appointed Vice President of Apache CloudStack who introduced himself to the group and also encouraged them to come to Miami !

 

The first speaker was Alex Matteoli  from Interoute, our hosts for the day.  Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe’s largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 15 data centres, 17 Virtual Data Centres and 33 colocation centres, with connections to 195 additional third-party data centres across Europe. Alex fave an overview of how Interoute use Apache Cloudstack do deliver their hugely successfully VDC cloud service.

Their platform runs  17 zones, distributed across 3 continents, running workloads from some of the worlds largest companies. One of the most interesting aspects of Interoutes Cloudstack deployment is that they expose the native Cloudstack GUI (with a few modifications) to their users  He briefly mentioned some of the exciting and innovative plans for new services that Interoute have.

Next up was Vladimir Melnik from Tucha Cloud Services in the Ukraine, another company running IaaS services on Apache Cloudstack.  Vladimir is the original author and maintainer of Monkeyman, a perl5 framework for Apache CloudStack automation. Vladimir explained his original drivers for creating an object orientated interface to Cloudstack (which weren’t just that he prefers programming in perl to  python). Monkeyman is open source and Valdimir is keen for others to try the tool and contribute to its ongoing maintenance.

Boris  Stoyanov (Bobby to his friends) was the only talk of the day to include a quiz. Bobby, who describes himself as BreakerOfThings@shapeblue (he’s a Software Test Engineer) , was here to talk about the new dynamic roles functionality in CloudStack 4.9. But first he decided to test the audience’s knowledge of the existing fixed roles security model. The clear winner of the competition was Vladimir (who hadn’t yet sat down)

Cloudstack dynamic roles give a true RBAC layer to cloudstack, giving a fully flexible &  granular approach to security. Bobby talked through the new functionality and how to migrated existing Cloudstack environments.

 

Next up was Mike  Tutowski. Despite working for Netapp Solidfire, Mike spends most  of his time working on Apache Cloudstack and is a PMC member of the project. Mike gave an overview of his work on cloudstack to allow it to support  primary storage QOS. Mike decided that his talk should be 100% demo – which was interesting on the day but means we have nothing to show in this roundup. Shame

 

Paul Angus was next, giving a talk on CloudStack Container Service. Paul explained how this feature had started life as as an internal customer project at his company (ShapeBlue), evolved into an opensource  external plugin  and is in the process of being donated to the Cloudstack project. Cloudstack Container Service gives a framework for deploying container clusters in Cloudstack – with the first integration point being Kubernetes. Paul gave a great demo of  provisioning  Kubernetes clusters with just a few clicks in the Cloudstack UI and then deploying containerised apps into those clusters.

 

The Cloudstack European User Group is not just a technical forum. We really enjoy hearing sucess stories and how organisations are using Cloudstack in innovative ways. Martins Paurs from Telia Latvija came to tell us how his company have leveraged Cloudstack to help evolve their business from a traditional Telco business into a modern cloud providers.

As well as their own public IaaS offering, Telia Latvia now runs on Cloudstack  their own internal workloads and services such as cloud-based surveillance, virtual desktops, backup and storage as a service. This has given them far greater agilty in bringing new service to market.

The final speaker of the day was Mark Wilson, also from Interoute. Interoute have recently migrated their VMware Cloudstack environment from standard vswitches to distributed Vswitches, giving them some massive performance  enhancements  across their IaaS environment.  Mark explained his approach to this migration (mainly scripted in powershell), ran through a demo of how it all hung together.

As is always the case at CSEUUG, the day finished with a Q&A session in a  local bar. Topics discussed included cloud storage, IPv6, Brexit and which nation consumes the most beer annually.

Many thanks to our speakers and to Interoute for kindly hosting us. The next User group meeting will be in June watch the LinkedIn Group for  venue and dates

CloudStack European User Group roundup – November 2016

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Our Winter meetup last Thursday, November 24 found us back in London at the BT Centre Showcase, and as usual Europe was well represented with CloudStack users joining us from all over.

After lunch and catching up with friends old and new, Giles Sirett (ShapeBlue CEO and chairman of the user group) called the meetup to order and started with introductions and CloudStack news. And yet again – what a lot of news! One of Giles’ early slides always lists the other CloudStack user groups around the world, and following our Summer meetup in Berlin, it’s great to see that the guys from BIT.group have now started a regular CloudStack Germany User Group.

First item on Giles’ list was the most recent major release of CloudStack (4.9), which included such new features as OOB power management of hosts and user defined security roles, as well os over 180 minor enhancements and fixes. This will also be the base for the LTS (long term support) release in January 2017. Also upgraded was CloudMonkey (5.3.3), featuring support for shell history, improved CSV output and improved error handling.

Having covered where CloudStack is, next up was a summary of where it’s going. Well, we’ve got 4.10 coming this December, which will have system VMs on managed storage, backup of snapshots to managed storage, VMWare nested virtualization and improvements to the Virtual Router. This will be followed in February 2017 by 4.11 which will see robust, generic HA, and improved hypervisor support – vSphere 6.0 and 6.5, and XenServer 7 will all be supported (these hypervisors will also be supported in 4.9 LTS). Giles also talked about community activity – there has been a huge effort in automated test suites, and there is now an ‘automated build and test’ pipeline. We are also moving towards distributed testing.

Next up Giles reported on a couple of this year’s CloudStack events – the CloudStack Collaboration Conference (CCC) in Montreal, and the last meetup in Berlin (both in June). Both fantastic events – a good place to find videos of the talks at CCC is here, and you can find a roundup of the Berlin meetup here.

Of particular interest in the community is the recent news that ShapeBlue has open-sourced its CloudStack Container Service (CCS) software, and Giles was keen to explain a bit more about CCS. There is a great deal more information in Giles slides:

After the CloudStack news, Giles introduced the first guest speaker of the day – Maurice Nettesheim of BT, with a talk entitled ‘Making the Digital Possible’. This talk was appropriate for the audience as it was all about how BT deliver cloud services. Maurice gave us a detailed overview of how the BT Compute Management System delivers services (such as BT Cloud Compute, BT Private Compute, etc,) to customers around the world (20 countries, 5 continents). This is an all too brief summary – please see Maurice’s slides for much more detail:

After a quick coffee break, we welcomed the next speakers to the podium – Len Bellemore and Tulio de Souza from Alternative Networks with ‘Making Stuff Better Through CloudStack’. This talk started with some background about what they were delivering (in this instance, telephony and unified communications services) and why CloudStack was chosen as a platform upon which to deploy these services. After a brief rundown of the technologies used and what a typical deployment looks like, Len and Tulio compared how the system and a deployment looked before and after CloudStack – citing less resource required and automated infrastructure builds as stand-out benefits. We were then taken through ‘how it works’, with an explanation of how a system is deployed, including some pros and cons.

More detail in the slides from this talk:

Paul Angus (ShapeBlue) was next, with ‘The Hitch-Hikers Guide to CI/CD’. Paul has recently announced Trillian, an open-source automation tool. Due to the sheer number of different options in a CloudStack deployment, it has so far been difficult to automate testing, so Trillian has been designed to provide fully automated deployment of CloudStack environments from any CloudStack package repo. Paul explained some of the tenets of Trillian: the ability to support multiple concurrent environment, no hardcoding to a specific lab/environment, scripted command-line use, ability to support as many hypervisors as possible, etc.

Paul then talked us through the background requirements and challenges he wanted to overcome, explained the technologies that make up Trillian, stepped through the process and gave a few examples of how you would use the solution. In summary Trillian provides an extremely flexible way to quickly build cloud environments for a multitude of purposes. I recommend looking at Paul’s slides for much more information:

Last up was Ingo Jochim of BIT.group, with a talk entitled ‘Fast SAP system provisioning based on CloudStack’. Starting with an introduction into what they are trying to achieve (eg. standardised landscapes, consistent configurations, reduced effort), Ingo talked us through some of the challenges they have faced, how many different steps and considerations there were, eventually asking the question – could this be automated into a single process? Expanding on exactly what apps and services they need to deploy, he explained exactly what is automated and what technologies are being used to achieve the automation. He also told us why BIT.group had chosen CloudStack after evaluating other solutions, mentioning (among other things) how easy it is to upgrade (30 minutes) compared to some other solutions. Ingo also talked through Ceph and Ansible, and how they integrate into the overall solution.

This was a great presentation, and I have given only a summary. Ingo’s slides contain the detail you will need:

After the last official talk we strolled over the road to enjoy several unofficial talks over a beer or two! As always, lively discussion continued and new friends were made. Thanks to BT for providing a superb venue and lunch, and to Paul, Ingo, Len, Tulio and Maurice for their talks. The next CloudStack European User Group will be in February 2017, and we will announce details shortly. See you there!