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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

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!

 

The Summer meetup on June 16 found us in Berlin, hosted by our friends from BIT.group. One of the reasons for meeting here was to build the CloudStack community in Germany and the surrounding countries, and with all tickets for the event reserved, we certainly achieved that with a packed room! People from all over Europe (including Germany, France, Italy, UK, Holland and Latvia) attended the event to listen to the talks, ask questions, and join us for a drink in the evening.

After lunch and a chance to say hello to friends old and new, Giles Sirett (ShapeBlue CEO and chairman of the user group) brought the meeting to order, welcomed everyone to Berlin and kicked off with CloudStack news. Starting with some apologies – firstly for Andy Roberts absence (bizarrely stuck in a lift at Heathrow), and to all English people in the room as the event was clashing with England vs. Wales at Euro 2016! Giles started by outlining the recent releases and latest features available in CloudStack 4.6, 4.7, 4.8 and 4.9, then expanding on plans for LTS (long term support) releases that was mentioned at the last meetup. For users wishing to deploy the latest features immediately, the rapid release schedule will continue. However, for those users who would rather work to a structured upgrade and change controlled approach, they will be able to benefit from LTS releases. Giles then spoke about the features currently in development, new community initiatives, and what improvements are planned in CloudStack for the future.

Giles went on to discuss the findings of the recent RightScale ‘State of the Cloud Report’, Citrix’s departure from the project and the sale of CloudPlatform to Accelerite. He also advised new members of the group where to find more talks – all the video from the CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Dublin are now available: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbzoR-pLrL6ruJrhXZ-jSSYw0m3WfK4ea. The talks from Montreal (June 2016) soon will be, and plans for the next conference in Brazil this September are well under way. We hope to see you there! Please see Giles’ slides for lots more information on the topics he covered:

Next up was… Giles Sirett! As this was our first meetup in Berlin, Giles had a great talk lined up: ‘CloudStack – the best kept secret in the cloud’. This was a talk that illustrated how widely deployed CloudStack is around the world, running some of the biggest clouds for some of the biggest companies in the world, but is just not talked about! Starting with a brief history of the technology, Giles went on to show some of the companies using CloudStack, where its focus is in the stack, and the ‘headlines’ of just what it is, finishing up with a summary of how it’s managed by the Apache Foundation. A great community, vibrant user groups around the world, 100’s of committers, 1000’s of downloads. As Giles asked ‘So, a well-governed opensource project. Why is it such a secret then?’

Giles’ slides have a lot more information:

Next up was Paul Angus of ShapeBlue, with his talk on CloudStack networking. Starting with the physical, Paul talked about why you would separate networks, converged networking, labelling, mappings and some of the mistakes it is easy to make. Touching on storage and guest networks, Paul moved onto the pros and cons of isolated and shared networks. Paul finished by talking about an exciting new feature that ShapeBlue have developed – OSPF and routed VPC. There is much, MUCH more detail in Paul’s slides:

Following a short coffee break, the next speaker was introduced to the stage – 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, Ingo started a live demo of the process. Whilst this was going on in the background 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. Periodically checking on the demo’s progress, Ingo also talked through Ceph and Ansible.

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

The last talk of the day was Paul again (stepping in at the last minute to replace Andy Roberts, who was still in the lift), with a talk entitled: ‘Creating a native Containers as a Service (CaaS) offering on CloudStack’. Cloud native applications running in containerised environments look set to create a paradigm shift in the way compute resources are consumed. However, this presents challenges (both technical and business) to Cloud Service providers who have already invested heavily in Infrastructure as a Service offerings based on the virtual machine model. Paul discussed these challenges, looked at the services that end-users will demand in a containerised world and how major public cloud providers have overcome these challenges. He then previewed an exciting new project that gives a simple method for operators to deploy Containers as a Service to their end-users, based on Apache CloudStack. It was during Paul’s talk that England beat Wales 2-1!

Please take a look at Paul’s slides for much more information on this hot topic:

Following the last talk, and lots of questions and discussion for the day’s speakers, it was time to enjoy an evening in Berlin. Andre Walter of BIT.group had organised an excellent venue for us, and most of the people from the day joined us for a drink or two, some food from the BBQ, in some cases a Cuban cigar, and for continued discussion and collaboration. As usual, new friends and contacts were made, the CloudStack community grew and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day… the only thing that could have made it perfect would have been Germany winning their group game which was that evening!

Huge thanks to Andre and the team from BIT.group for organising a great event, and we look forward to seeing you again very soon. Auf Wiedersehen!

The spring meetup on March 3 saw us back at the BT Centre Showcase here in London, and it was an impressive turnout, maybe helped by a beautiful, sunny day. This was a truly European user group, with people joining us from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and from as far afield in the UK as Belfast, Glasgow and York. We also welcomed friends from Japan.

After everyone had enjoyed lunch, we settled down and Giles Sirett (ShapeBlue CEO and chairman of the user group) kicked off the meetup with his usual introductions and CloudStack news. As Giles pointed out – since our last meetup there has been a lot of news! In a relatively short space of time there have been 5 new CloudStack releases (the latest being 4.8) including a host of new features introduced. Giles explained the pros and cons of such a rapid release schedule, and went on to present an alternative – an LTS (long term support) initiative, which would provide a stable version and the assurance that it would be maintained.

Giles then reported on what new features and improvements are planned or in development, and mentioned BTs own Christian Lafferty who has developed a driver for Docker Machine. Giles then presented the results of RightScale’s ‘State of the Cloud’ report 2016, before introducing Miguel Ferreira of Schuberg Philis to explain why they will be developing their own fork of CloudStack. Giles then touched on Citrix’s recent sale of CloudPlatform, and introduced Michael Crossey of Accelerite. Michael told us that they were looking forward to becoming a part of the community, and we welcome and look forward to working with Accelerite.

Giles then let us know that all the videos from the recent CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Dublin were online (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbzoR-pLrL6ruJrhXZ-jSSYw0m3WfK4ea), and that plans for the next conference in Brazil this September are well under way. We hope to see a lot of you there! Please see Giles’ slides for lots more information:

Our first guest speaker was Rohit Yadav (ShapeBlue), with a talk entitled ‘Improving CloudStack for Operators’. Rohit is one of the CloudStack project’s top committers, and his knowledge and passion for CloudStack always come across when he talks. Rohit focussed on what work has been done in CloudStack to really make a difference for users – SAML2 SSO authentication, Metrics Views and Out of Band management; and also the improvements to CloudMonkey. Rohit then talked about other features in development, finishing by discussing the improvements in CloudStack clustering. I have provided only a brief summary of what was a technical and detailed talk. Rohit’s slides are here and are packed with information:

Following Rohit was Sebastien Goasguen, with a talk entitled ‘Containers and CloudStack’. Sebastien is the current Vice-President of Apache CloudStack, a committer and member of the Project Management Committee (PMC). In his talk Sebastien reviewed the state of the art and brought some context around container orchestrators and how they relate to CloudStack. He then discussed how container orchestration can be easily integrated in CloudStack. Full details of Sebastien’s talk can be found in his slides:

After a quick coffee break, we welcomed Dag Sonstebo to the podium to talk about using the KVM hypervisor in CloudStack. Dag is a Cloud Architect here at ShapeBlue, and drew on his real world experience giving an overview of the pros and cons of working with KVM in a CloudStack environment. Dag also went deeper into installation, configuration, networking and storage options. Much more information to be found in Dag’s slides:

Our last talk of the day was from Jon Noble of Trend Micro, giving us his talk on securing a cloud environment. Jon spoke about the changing landscape of security, and how more traditional security measures were increasingly incapable of protecting cloudy workloads and VMs. He then referenced some recent, high profile attacks (Talk Talk and Sony), talked about the various tools that may have been used, and how they could have been purchased on the dark web. Jon’s slides are here and they’re well worth a look:

After Jon’s talk and questions, we adjourned to a nearby hostelry, where discussion continued over a couple of drinks.

Thanks to BT for providing a superb venue and lunch, to SolidFire for buying the drinks, and to Rohit, Sebastien, Dag and Jon for their talks. The next CloudStack European User Group will be in June, and we will announce details shortly.

An intimate feel at yesterday’s European User Group only seemed to encourage discussion, and despite slightly lower numbers than usual we managed to run a little late! Hosted by our friends at Trend Micro here in London, we started with lunch, and once everyone had eaten it was down to business.

Giles Sirett (chairman of the user group) sent his apologies, as he was unable to assume his usual meetup duties. Hosting was therefore down to Paul Angus and me (Steve Roles). I started by welcoming everyone to the group, briefly running through the agenda and talking about the recent CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Dublin. All the videos of all the fantastic talks from that event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGeM09tlguZSeNyOyQKJHNX4pxgK-yoTA. It’s looking like next year’s conference will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil (dates TBC) but we’re already looking forward to another great event. Paul then took us through the CloudStack news, including new features in 4.6 (currently in the voting stages). For more details take a look through our slides:

Time for our first speaker of the day – René Moser of Swiss TXT joined us from Switzerland, to talk about Ansible and CloudStack. Rene started with some general use cases for Ansible before going into some detail on how Swiss TXT use it with CloudStack. He then gave us an overview and brief history of Ansible. Ansible has 21 CloudStack modules, all integration tested and included in v2.0, and to show this integration René was brave enough to give us live demos. René’s slides are here:

Next up was Daan Hoogland of Leaseweb, who made the trip over from Amsterdam. Daan talked about testing, and the need for more of it! The need for the community to run almost continuous functional testing against CloudStack, by using ‘mini clouds’ or nested environments. The importance of integration into customer environments, and the benefits of using Jenkins were discussed and provoked lively discussion in the room. For more information Daan’s slides are here:

After a coffee break, it was the turn of our host – Jon Noble of Trend Micro to give us his talk on securing a cloud environment, which probably provoked the most discussion and questions, continuing in the pub well after the meeting had finished! Jon spoke about the changing landscape of security, and how more traditional security measures were increasingly incapable of protecting cloudy workloads and VMs. He then referenced the recent, high profile attacks (Talk Talk and Sony), and talked about the various tools that may have been used, and how they could have been purchased on the dark web. Jon’s slides are here and they’re well worth a look:

Last up was our very own Paul Angus, with a talk on CloudStack Networking. Starting with physical (networking), Paul talked about why you would separate networks, converged networking, labelling, mappings and some of the mistakes it is easy to make. Touching on storage and guest networks, Paul moved onto the pros and cons of isolated and shared networks. Paul finished by talking about an exciting new feature that ShapeBlue are currently working on – OSPF and routed VPC. There is much, MUCH more detail in Paul’s slides:

Following Paul’s talk and questions, we enjoyed a few beers in a Paddington bar where the discussions continued. Our next European CloudStack User Group will be in London in March 2016 – if you’re interested in CloudStack and want to get involved – come to the meetups, join the CloudStack European User Group on LinkedIn, and join the conversation on the mailing lists https://cloudstack.apache.org/mailing-lists.html.

Thanks to Trend Micro for hosting our meetup, and thanks to Rene, Daan, Jon and Paul for giving us their time and expertise to prepare talks.

For the Spring meeting of the CloudStack EU User group on Thursday, we were again kindly hosted by BT – and it was nice to see so many of the BT Cloud guys come along to the group.

As always Group Chairman Giles Sirett kicked things off with a roundup of Cloudstack news in the last 3 months, including the release of the latest version (4.5.1). Giles summarised the features of this recent 4.5.1 release of Apache Cloudstack.

Giles announced the CloudStack Collaboration Conference (October 8-9, Dublin) and asked for members of the group to get involved by registering, submitting papers or asking their companies to sponsor. As well as great opportunities to learn, these conferences are the place to engage with the broader CloudStack community and share ideas with other users and developers. He also reminded everybody that they should ensure they are members of the CloudStack European User Group on LinkedIn.

Giles went on to give an update on the current market situation. With many organisations realising that OpenStack is not going to deliver on all of its promises, CloudStack adoption is increasing and Giles mentioned a few recent news articles about high-profile CloudStack deployments. He finished up with some information about the broad group of organisations who are now driving forward the development of CloudStack.

The first speaker was the newly appointed VP of Apache CloudStack, Sebastien Goasguen. Sebastien first set out the strengths of Apache CloudStack: namely that it has a very broad install base and also a growing ecosystem of integrations. He set out his community plan which starts with some housekeeping – focussing on code quality and the removal of dead code among other things. Better and faster testing, how contributions come in and increased time and priorities on Travis were also discussed. Moving onto the ecosystem, Sebastien talked about CloudFoundry deployment, and getting Ansible into the core.

Sebastien then expanded on Giles’ reference to the CloudStack European Conference in Dublin (October 8-9) by reminding the group about the upcoming CloudStack days – Austin, Texas (April 16), Tokyo (June 2) and Seattle (August 20). If you can’t make Dublin, and you’re anywhere near these events they’re not to be missed!

Next on Sebastien’s presentation was documentation – an area he intends to significantly improve. A new theme, cleanup of old documents, a better structure and all Git based were among the improvements mentioned.

The day before the User Group representatives from Schuberg Philis, Cloudops, ShapeBlue, Leaseweb, Exoscale and Citrix all got together in London to establish a proposal for a  roadmap for Apache CloudStack. This was a very productive and exciting day, and the output is impossible to summarise here – Sebastien took us through the highlights and you can look through Sebastien’s slides for the full list! The next steps are that these bug fixes and feature requests will go to the community as a proposed roadmap. In fact, the participating companies have already committed to solving some of those items. Also discussed was the architecture – the need for better abstractions between all layers, contractualised guarantees between these layers, refactoring the management core and API server… again – for more information and the benefits these changes will bring see Sebastien’s slides.

Next up to the podium was ShapeBlue’s Rohit Yadav – a CloudStack committer since 2012, PMC member, author of CloudMonkey and all round stone-cold expert! Rohit started with a topic of great interest to a lot of people – how to get involved in the community and start contributing code. Rohit explained all the ways to become involved in the community, and outlined the necessary steps to take – starting as a user, contributing and developing.

Rohit then moved onto his main topic of the day – CloudStack Internals. He took us on a tour of the codebase, packaging, typical interactions and architecture, common development patterns, components, plugin interfaces, the API and auth layer, schema upgrades, agents, System VMs and VRs, networking, storage… in fact it soon became clear that Rohit would happily continue to talk well into the night unless he was stopped! Rohit stayed with the group when we adjourned to a local bar in the evening and it seemed that pretty much everyone wanted to hear more. For full details of what he covered see his slides.

After a brief break Giles introduced Wido den Hollander of PCExtreme. Another CloudStack committer and PMC member, he also wrote the Ceph (RBD) integration. PCExtreme is a Dutch hosting company running a public cloud on Apache CloudStack with Ceph storage. In Wido’s words – “This is not a commercial talk. I am just showing how great CloudStack works for my company”. Wido gave us an overview of how his cloud is set up, and went into some detail about how Ceph works. As usual – the full details can be found in Wido’s slides.

Wido then again turned to CloudStack positing the simple question “Why CloudStack?” and answering equally simply… “It works”. Easy access to the project, and to STABLE and UNDERSTANDABLE code, rich features and a fast API. Wido said of course there were some issues – but they were easily rectified and the fixes contributed back into the project.

Wido finished by giving us a high level summary of PCExtreme’s products – based on CloudStack.

Our last speaker of the day was… Sebastien Goasguen again! Presenting a talk on Docker and CloudStack, Sebastien explained that Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins of distributed applications, and went through various ways to use it in CloudStack.

Sebastien went through a live installation, and demonstrated some of the use cases for the audience. As before – more detail in the slides, or MUCH more detail in Sebastien’s Docker Cookbook!

Following Sebastien’s talk, the majority of the group had a few drinks in a pub over the road, and the discussions continued through a beautiful London night. Once again – our thanks to our hosts BT, and to all our speakers. See you next time!

Once again Trend Micro played host to the CloudStack European user group. And this quarter with Giles Sirett ‘working’ at CloudStack Day – Brazil, Geoff Higginbottom CTO of ShapeBlue took to the stage to compare the event.

The News

As is customary at the user group, we kicked off with a roundup of news in the CloudStack world since the last meeting. This included a brief look at some of the statistics which had been presented at the CloudStack collaboration conference in Budapest with also information on the upcoming CloudStack days to be held this year.

Our first speaker was Geoff Higginbottom of ShapeBlue. Geoff took the audience through the changes to XenServer’s high availability configuration requirements, and the changes to how CloudStack environments are managed required to support the new XenServer requirements.

Our second speaker was Richard Chart from ScienceLogic. ScienceLogic deliver a hybrid IT monitoring platform enabling organisations to gain holistic end to end visibility across their on-premise and off-premise resources. Richard focused on the CloudStack plug-in (or Action Pack) for their EM7 product.

Next up was Wilder Rodrigues from Schuberg Philis. Wilder is part of the team at Schuberg Philis who have been re-factoring the code for the VPC virtual router. Wilder took the delegates through the work they have done to clean up the existing code and offer new functionality such as the ability to deploy redundant virtual private cloud routers.

The next speaker was Paul Angus from ShapeBlue. Paul highlighted the major new features and improvements in soon-to-be-released version 4.5 of CloudStack. Paul then picked out a number of the features to give additional background to them.

Last but no means least was Daan Hoogland of Schuberg Philis. Daan explained to the audience the work that is being done by the community to improve the quality of the code produced by the project. Daan finished with a call to arms for contributors to follow the guidelines being developed in order to make it easier for code reviewers to check code and understand its purpose thereby improving the overall standard of code in the project.

Thank you to all of the speakers and all of the attendees

The date for the next user group has been provisionally set as 14th May 2015 – We hope to see you there.

Last Chance To Register For Annual CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe
CCC-EU returns November 19-21 in Budapest, and time is running out to register. CloudStack European User Group members receive a 50% discount on registration – only €175! Choose Attendee Registration and enter code CSEUG to receive the 50% discount.
Click here to register: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/cloudstack-collaboration-conference-europe/attend/register

The CCC-EU schedule features three days of sessions including deep dive tutorials, tracks dedicated to QA & Paas, Operations/Design and Development, and a poster session featuring the development and case studies of 15 CloudStack implementations; over 50 sessions in total. Additionally, attendees will have a host of networking opportunities at on-site and off-site evening events.

View the schedule here: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/cloudstack-collaboration-conference-europe/program/schedule

We hope to see our fellow user group members there!

 

Our Autumn meetup saw us back at Trend Micro, which is becoming a home from home for us! Great to see the guys there again and many thanks for hosting another great meeting. As usual a good turn-out for the group and some really interesting discussions.

Once we’d all settled Giles kicked off with the CloudStack news, and since our last meet-up there’s been a lot of that…

CloudStack 4.4.0 has been released since our last meet-up (GA July 26 2014), and (in what was some fantastic timing), our User Group was held the day after the release of CloudStack 4.4.1 (GA October 24 2014). Giles went through what’s new, and the headlines are: a big uplift of features supported with Hyper-V; support for managed storage for root disks (which gives greater flexibility to the ‘Storage as a Service’ proposition); and support for VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). The full list of new features and functionality is in Giles’ slides.

It wasn’t only CloudStack this time that had a new version released – next up on Giles’ agenda was the release of CloudMonkey 5.2.0, adding new functionality such as multiple server profiles and Windows and Linux versions. We at ShapeBlue are particularly proud of this as this was authored by our very own Software Engineering team, led by Rohit Yadav.

Whilst on the subject of the ShapeBlue Software Engineering team, they have also been working hard on something we hope will benefit the community – we will now host repos available to anyone to download and use (https://www.shapeblue.com/packages). Maintained by ShapeBlue, and hosted by our friends at BT, this will have 3 types of repository. ‘Upstream’ will contain builds from official Apache CloudStack releases; ‘Main’ will be ShapeBlue patched Apache CloudStack releases built from our patch repository; and finally, ‘Testing’ will be a nightly build repository (untested, potentially unstable and not available for all versions). We will also include links to useful documentation such as release documentation, release notes, installation docs, upgrade docs and admin docs.

Sticking with CloudStack development, Giles then talked about a push from within the community to completely change the development approach. Instead of developing on the master, cutting a potentially unstable release branch which then goes through QA and then continuing to develop on the master; the proposal is to maintain a stable master, with development being merged into the master. Watch this space!

Giles then shared some figures and some anecdotal evidence based on his recent experience and travels. One of the problems CloudStack has is awareness, with another platform grabbing all the headlines and maybe shouting the loudest. However, we are seeing the install base grow, the number of committers grow, and lots of people representing lots of enterprises deciding that maybe it’s time to look at CloudStack. At the recent LinuxCon Europe there were 5 CloudStack talks and the buzz around the delegates was ‘it’s time to look at something else’… maybe something that ‘just works’. On that – the awareness problem IS being addressed, with an announcement to be made at the end of the next European CloudStack Collaboration Conference (Budapest, November 19-22). Again – watch this space.

Earlier this year something that wasn’t big news BECAME big news – namely, the departure from Citrix of 3 big CloudStack names. A lot of blogs and news articles immediately leapt to some pretty wild assumptions, and started claiming that this was the end of CloudStack. This all died away very quickly as a tide of better informed blogs and news articles followed, and Giles summarised here by pointing out that CloudStack is an Apache project and has been for 2.5 years; Citrix are a big contributor but that’s now down to c.40% and continues to fall; and that NO organisation has standing in an ASF project. CloudStack does NOT = Citrix.

Before handing over to our first speaker, Giles finished with news of the Conference – 64 different speakers, workshops and training and use-cases. This event is always fantastic and this year will be no different – book your place now! http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/cloudstack-collaboration-conference-Europe

Our first guest speaker was Laurence Forgiel of BT, talking us through how BT Research have used CloudStack.

Laurence talked us through how they came to use CloudStack – starting with version 2 back in 2011, moving through CloudStack 3.0.5 with CloudPortal 1.4.5 and currently on 4.3 with CloudPortal 2.1. He then talked about how they use their cloud and how he feels that CloudStack ‘removes barriers to cloud adoption’. This opened up a lot of lively discussions in the room, and it was really interesting to hear someone talk about using CloudStack from its very early days.

Next up was a good friend of ours – Lucian-Paul Burclau (possibly better known as Nux to some of you) – who gave an excellent presentation of creating CloudStack templates using OpenVM.

This was a very informative talk, starting off with the ‘3 laws’ of building templates, namely: a template must be functional, a template must be secure, and a template must be unique. After expanding on this, Lucian led a short debate about the trend for hypervisors to need agents running inside the VM and what should be provided in a template. The future? Better templates, launchers on different Cloudstack public clouds, etc. If you’re interested – get involved here contact@openvm.eu.

After a short break it was Geoff Higginbottom’s turn with the laser pointer. Geoff is our CTO here at ShapeBlue, and gave a great presentation on how to stand up a CloudStack cloud on your laptop!

Geoff went through the software you need to create the virtual environment (all open source naturally), and then really got into the nuts and bolts going into network design, how to configure the software, XenServer, the management servers, CloudStack zones, pods and clusters and Storage. Geoff even went into the specific commands and even touched on enhanced configuration. For those that were listening and taking fast notes, this was a master class in how easy it is to get CloudStack working. Everybody wanted to get hold of these slides.

Last but by no means least we had Andy Roberts of SolidFire.

Andy’s talk started by making the point that public cloud has changed how IT is delivered, and the more we move forwards the less the ‘silo’ed infrastructure model’ becomes sustainable. To quote Andy – ‘We’re moving from a world of isolated users, stifled by isolation and manual administration, to one of shared resource pools available in real time using self-service tools’. This is driving a shift in design and delivery, with SolidFire a part of that shift. I’m not going to pitch on their behalf here – but do check out Andy’s slides! Andy finished his presentation by talking about all the great work SolidFire are doing with CloudStack integration.

As always, we finished a great day with a few beers and the discussions continued for another few hours…

The next CloudStack European User Group will be our Winter meet-up, in January 2015. Either keep an eye on the mailing lists or right here for more details. Hope to see you there!

For the June meeting of the CloudStack European User Group, we were welcomed back by our old friends Trend Micro. Many thanks to the guys at Trend for letting us use their great facilities.

Our numbers were slightly down from usual, with quite a few last minute cancellations: it’s a little frustrating as we had 12 people who were on the waitinig list and were unable to come because somebody else had booked their place

As usual, I started the day off with a welcome and some news on all things CloudStack.

Since we last met, much work has been going on around the 4.4 (and 4.3.1) releases of CloudStack which means that there isn’t a lot of headline news.

I reported back on the successful CloudStack Collaboration conference in April (Denver) and encouraged people to get along to the European conference, Budapest 19-22 November.

Cloudstack contunies to have ongoing awareness problems. Despite being the most widely adoped, production grade IaaS platform around ,not enough people are aware of it. There is currently a drive to change this and the first signs of that drive can be seen in the list of known CloudStack users and the adoption survey recently launched by the project. If you are using cloudstack, please take the survey to provide feedback and allow us to change these perception issues.

The first guest speaker for the meeting was Antoine Coetsier of Exoscale. Antoine talked us through how Exoscale have used Cloudstack to underpin their highly successful public IaaS offering. Exoscale offer an “amazon like” cloud service and have developed a strong business through their ability to offer VM’s based in Switzerland (and those great privacy laws they have over there) and also by putting emphasis on a public IaaS offering that is very “developer focussed”. Its great to see Exoscale doing so well and knowing that its all driven by CloudStack.

Next up was Geoff Higginbottom of ShapeBlue (known as “Cloud stig” to his friends). Geoff has amazed us previously with his hugely detailed knowledge of CloudStacks architecture, particularly the networking model. For this talk, Geoff changed direction and decided to give some general advice on designing production environments based on CloudStack.

Geoff has personally designed 47 productions environments across service provider and enterprise use-cases – all based on CloudStack- and it was great to hear him impart the key design decisions and lessons learnt from his vast experience.

I had one very clear take away from Geoffs talk: he finished off with a slide showing an expression we use a lot in the ShapeBlue office “design for tomorrow, build for today”. In my opinion, this sums up the approach that should be taken to build successful cloud. Anybody can throw a large amount of infrastructure into a datacentre, orchestrate it and call it a cloud – but if the scale is too large initially, the ROI will not be there. So, build small, but make sure your design gives to rapid and easy scale when its required.

After Geoff, Donal Lafferty from Citrix talked us through the architecture of the Citrix Xenapp and CloudStack integration. This integration allows the seamless provisioning of desktops in the cloud and enables Desktop as a Service.

From my perspective, its great to see Citrix (finally) get this integration in place. Like many people, I had been hoping that Citrix would get CloudStack and their core products integrated much sooner as it is surely key to their ongoing involvement in CloudStack

Next up were Andrew Kennedy and Sam Corbett from CloudSoft with a talk titled “Clocker – Creating a Docker Cloud with Apache Brooklyn”

Apache Brooklyn has recently entered the Apache Software Foundation incubator and offers deployment and runtime management of applications (and it works well with CloudStack). CloudSoft were the originators of Brooklyn and its great to see them moving the technology into ASF. The guys talked about some work they’ve been doing recently on a new project called Clocker which pulls together elements of Brooklyn, Docker and JClouds.

The last speaker of the day was Samuel Bercovici from Radware. Radware provide advanced load balancing and DDoS solutions and came to the CloudStack user group to judge whether CloudStack users would be interested in working with them to enable LBaaS.

There was much discussion in the room about CloudStack’s virtual router and how it currently provides load balancing. There seemed to be much interest amongst the audience in being able to replace that with RadWare’s offerings and we hope to see Samuel and his team get some integration in place.

The next meeting of the group will be in September 2014, exact date and venue TBC