– Full Frontal Nerdity

Clint Byrum's Personal Stuff

OpenStack – an amoeba on a mission

According to NASA, 70% of the earth is covered by clouds. Apparently, at least 70% of our computing needs can be covered by clouds as well. That seems to be the shared belief by the rather large crowd that gathered in Boston last week for the Essex edition of the OpenStack Design Summit and subsequent OpenStack Conference.

The amount of energy and corporate investment in OpenStack is staggering when one considers that it didn’t exist 2 years ago, and didn’t really do much more than spawn VM’s and store objects until this month with the Diablo release, which added some more capabilities, but from my point of view, mostly just refined those abilities and set the stage for the future.

Attending as a member of the Ubuntu Server team and a Canonical employee was quite a gratifying experience. Ubuntu Server has been the platform of choice for OpenStack’s development, and that has definitely led to a lot of people running OpenStack on Ubuntu Server. Its always nice to hear that your work is part of something greater.

On the surface, one might be concerned at a lack of vision in the OpenStack project. With so many competing interests, it may appear that it has no clear vision and is just growing toward the latest source of funding or food, much like an amoeba swallowing up its next meal. But the leadership of the project seems to understand that there is still a much greater mission here, that without intense focus the project will expend enormous energy and accomplish little more than falling a little less behind established players in the marketplace.

Its a bit vindicating for one of my more intense current interests, Juju, that others who are close to this discussion, like OpenStackers, are thinking along the same lines. In talking with Puppet and Chef guys and with people who are using the cloud, its clear to me that my hunch is right; chef and puppet are not really the same thing as Juju. The new project from Cisco, Donabe, seems to be thinking exactly like Juju, wanting to encapsulate and describe each service in what they call “Network Containers”. Also I’m told the desires of the Neutronium PaaS project are pretty similar as well.

Ultimately we don’t think that the current limitations of known PaaS stacks are always worth the effort to integrate with them. We do want to have a lot of the same capabilities without having to duplicate all the effort to set them up. We want to be able to make use of well understood technologies without having to understand every detail of their deployment and configuration. If I want to make use of MySQL or memcached, I should understand how they work, but I shouldn’t have to duplicate the effort that others have had to put in to make them work.

Chef and Puppet have made some inroads into this by making such things highly repeatable and getting them all into source control. However, its my belief that their implementations both limit the network effect that they can have to build up a full set of sharable services. Juju, I think, will really be a boost to those who have spent a lot on solid config management, as that config management will be easy to chop up into Juju charms, and then that will open up all the other existing charms for immediate use in such a shop.

Getting back to how this relates to OpenStack, it was also quite exhilarating to do a live keynote demo of Juju in all of its alpha glory. To raise the tightrope a little higher, it was driving OpenStack Diablo, which some might call beta-quality. We also got rid of the safety nets entirely, and had it running on top of Ubuntu 11.10 (pre-release). We had a few kinks through the week, but the awesome team I had around me was able to iron them all out and made both our CEO, Jane Silber, and me look very good up there. That includes my fellow server team members, the OpenStack developers, Canonical IS pro’s, the Juju dev team, and my main collaborator in the whole thing, Jorge Castro.

I hope to attend the next ODS, to see how much closer OpenStack is to completing its mission in 6 months. What is that mission currently? Quite simple really.. the mission is, figure out the mission.

October 9, 2011 at 6:07 am Comments (0)

CloudCamp San Diego – Wake up and smell the Enterprise

I took a little trip down to San Diego yesterday to see what these CloudCamp events are all about. There are so many, and they’re all over, I figure its a good chance to take a look at what might be the “Common man’s” view of the cloud. I spend so much time talking to people at a really deep level about what the cloud is, why we like it, why we hate it, etc. This “un-conference” was more about bringing a lot of that information, distilled for business owners and professionals who need to learn more about “this cloud thing”.

The lightning talks were quite basic. The most interesting one was given by a former lawyer who now runs IT for a medium sized law firm. Private cloud saves him money because he can now make a direct charge back to a client when they are taking up storage and computing space. This also allows him to keep his infrastructure more managable because they tend to give up resources more readily when there is a direct chargeback as opposed to just general service fees that try to cover this.

There was a breakout session about SQL vs. NoSQL. I joined and was shocked at how dominant the Microsoft representative was. She certainly tried to convince us “this isn’t about SQL Azure, its about SQL vs. NoSQL” but it was pretty much about all the things that suck more than SQL Azure, and about not mentioning anything that might compete directly with it. I brought up things like Drizzle, Cassandra, HDFS, Xeround, MongoDB, and MogileFS. These were all swiftly moved past, and not written on the white board. Her focus was on how SimpleDB differs from Amazon RDS, and how Microsoft Azure has its own key/value/column store for their cloud. The room was overpowered into silence for the most part.. there were about 20 developers and IT manager types in the room and they had no idea how this was going to help them take advantage of IaaS or PaaS clouds. I felt the session was interesting, but ultimately, completely pwned by the Microsoft rep. She ended by showing off 3D effects in their Silverlight based management tool. Anybody impressed deserves what they get, quite honestly.

One good thing that did come out of that session was the ensuing discussion for it where I ended up talking with a gentleman from a local San Diego startup that was just acquired. This is a startup of 3 people that is 100% in Amazon EC2 on Ubuntu with PHP and MySQL. They have their services spread accross 3 regions and were not affected at all by the recent outtages in us-east-1. Their feeling on the SQL Azure folks is that its for people who have money to burn. For him, he spends $3000 a month and it is entirely on EC2 instances and S3/EBS storage. The audience was stunned that it was so cheap, and that it was so easy to scale up and down as they add/remove clients. He echoed something that the MS guys said too.. that because their app was architected this way from the beginning, it was extremely cost effective, and wouldn’t even really save much money if they leased or owned servers instead of leasing instances, since they can calculate the costs and pass them directly on to the clients with this model, and their commitment is zero.

Later on I proposed a breakout session on how repeatable is your infrastructure (basically, infrastructure as code). There was almost no interest, as this was a very business oriented un-conference. The few people who attended were just using AMI’s to do everything. When something breaks, they fix it with parallel-ssh. For the one person who was using Windows in the cloud, he had no SSH, so fixing any system problems meant re-deploying his new AMI over and over.

Overall I thought it was interesting to see where the non-webops world is with knowledge of the cloud. I think the work we’re doing with Ensemble is really going to help people to deploy open source applications into private and public clouds so they don’t need 3D enabled silverlight interfaces to manage a simple database or a bug tracking system for their internal developers.

June 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm Comments (0)

June 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm Comments (0)

Whole Foods Parking Lot [HD]

June 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm Comments (0)

One Year of the Moon in 2.5 Minutes

June 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm Comments (0)

Flag Day –

June 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm Comments (0)

Tracy Morgan Is Criticized for Standup Show Seen as Anti-Gay

Source: artsbeat.blogs.nytim…
June 14, 2011 at 2:22 am Comments (0)

Dear Woman

June 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm Comments (0)

My Fundraising Page

Source: pages.teamintraining…
June 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm Comments (0)

Interview with Laura Ziskin, co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer

June 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm Comments (0)

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