Latest Event Updates

OpenStack as Infrastructure Meets Applications for Automation & Orchestration

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Zefflin Systems is excited to be sponsoring OpenStack Days Seattle on September 30th.

One of the things we do at Zefflin is help IT organizations automate the lifecycle of complex, N-tier applications by defining applications once and deploying them automatically in hybrid cloud environments. This kind of automation is growing in popularity and demand being adopted across a wide swath of the IT industry because it pays.

The ROI on application automation is based on:

  • Productivity – the same group can manage many more apps in a more complex cloud-based environment,
  • Agility – app dev groups can respond faster to business needs or market changes, enabled by improved application portability.
  • Speed – by enabling continuous integration and continuous delivery, application development cycles are accelerated because the time between code –> build –> test –> QA –> migrate to production is dramatically reduced.
  • Cost Reduction – by utilizing a hybrid cloud model and adopting modern DevOps practices, customers can reduce both infrastructure and application development costs.

Thanks in part to the maturity of market leading software tools like Cloudify and ServiceNow, the cost of automation is now lower than ever.
captureServiceNow is a SaaS based IT Service Management tool that has captured a large share of the market in the last 10 years.  It has become the de facto standard for ITSM solutions.

Cloudify is an open source software product distributed by GigaSpaces, and is an industry leading application lifecycle automation tool.
To realize the full benefits of application lifecycle automation, it has to be fully integrated into an operational environment like IT Service Management or ITIL.

Many of our customers tell us that they “need to integrate application automation with ITSM processes.” So when an application deployment doesn’t go as planned, an incident has to be opened to track the failure and get the issue fixed.  When the same application is deployed successfully, it represents a change to the production environment. As a result, a change request needs to be opened so ITIL-compliant audit requirements are met. Then, the Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB) should be updated so applications can be mapped to the infrastructure.

Integrating Application Automation with ITSM

Traditionally, application development and IT operations have been organized in silos, with clear delineation of responsibilities.  App development has been responsible for design, code, build, test, bug fixes and QA, where operations was responsible for production cutover, migration, support and reporting bugs.  Because of the clear lines of responsibility, hand-off processes had to be derived and implemented.  The result?  Both sides optimized their respective organizations as they saw fit.  This seemed like progress, but in fact resulted in inefficiencies, finger pointing and less then optimal use of resources.  DevOps as a discipline seeks to correct this situation and establishes a single set of processes and underlying technologies that enable the next generation of optimization, efficiency and cost reduction in IT.

Open source is an area where we see DevOps employed by a global community to deliver relevant, disruptive core products at very large scale and as an enabler to cloud product delivery. Fulfilling our customers’ need to integrate app automation with ITSM, Zefflin implements OpenStack for automated provisioning and management of OS/Storage/Networking and then integrates Cloudify as the single interface point with ServiceNow to automate the integration of infrastructure and app lifecycle processes to IT operations.

The take away: OpenStack is a solid performer for infrastructure coupled with apps like Cloudify and ServiceNow for application provisioning and orchestration. Stop by the Zefflin booth to chat, contact us at info@zefflin.com and follow us on Twitter @zefflinsystems.

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Preview: “Enabling DevOps: Integrating IT Service Management with Automated Application Deployment on OpenStack”

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by Wendy White

Ahead of next week’s OpenStack Seattle event, I sat down with Sam Melehy, CEO of Zefflin Systems to get a preview of his talk entitled  “Enabling DevOps: Integrating IT Service Management with Automated Application Deployment on OpenStack.”

Wendy: You’re presenting in the Enterprise track, tell us a bit more about how Zefflin supports customers in the enterprise?

Sam:  Zefflin specializes in data center automation and cloud management, helping F1000 companies run their datacenters with fewer people by automating processes and enabling the enterprise journey to cloud via process, architecture and tool implementation.

Almost all of our customers are wrestling with the best way to move to the cloud. They are asking fundamental strategic questions like what workloads should be moved to private and public clouds. The big question IT managers face today is how the cloud affects application development and how to manage the lifecycle of those applications with automation. And this leads of course to the bigger question of how to enable DevOps.

Wendy:  So how does OpenStack fit into cloud journey conversations you are having — is private cloud moving beyond the largest customers?

Sam:  Yes, OpenStack is finally coming of age and getting traction – and not just in the F1000.  The bottom half of the Fortune 1000 is really waking up to OpenStack and starting to invest in proof of concept projects to implement private cloud. And of course with that implementation, they realize that the infrastructure layer is important, but the more strategic conversation begins when they have a realization that they need to manage the lifecycle of applications on this new platform. Enterprises should think about the entire picture including how to automate the workloads that are going on top of it and designing the architecture to optimize the management of those workloads going forward.

Wendy:  Your talk focuses on Automation and DevOps – give us a taste of the best practices you will share?

Sam:  My talk is going to focus on that discussion with IT on the strategy for Application Development and IT Operations to seamlessly work together. Once IT has a landed on a platform like OpenStack, they have to decide whether they are going with off-the-shelf applications or managing application development and what it means for their environment. So basically they immediately start to think about how to automate that process. The natural next step after automation is DevOps. You can build a private cloud with OpenStack and spin up workloads, but you haven’t really achieved DevOps until you integrate the communication coordination between applications development and ITSM. My talk is about enabling Devops through tight integration of service management with automated application deployment on OpenStack and we’ll show how we can achieve automated logging production changes in the ITSM, auto updating the CMDB, and automatically opening incident reports in the case of failure to reduce mean time to repair.

Wendy:  What can we expect to hear from you about real world implementation and customer success?

Sam:  I’m going to share some great use cases. A year ago we were not seeing the bottom half of the F1000 implementing OpenStack. Today we are seeing POCs with OpenStack and Red Hat CloudForms that are now in the scaling stages – these are tremendously reducing resources required to integrate disparate environments and having significant business impact. I’m also going share the results of the integration between Cloudify and ServiceNow that is helping deliver that true ITSM and application development integration I mentioned earlier.

Ready to learn more?  Register for OpenStack Seattle.  If you know someone who can qualify for the diversity & inclusion scholarship, please encourage them to apply here!

Six Years Old, OpenStack Has Grown Up Fast

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openstack-logo-126x126By Jesse Proudman

Ahead of September 30th OpenStack Days Seattle, we asked Jesse to share his recent thoughts on OpenStack momentum. Jesse will be on the Enterprise Panelregister today to hear more.

Last month, the OpenStack cloud hosting platform turned six years old. The open source cloud software project that started with contributions from Rackspace and NASA has grown up fast, with nearly 55,000 users, vendors and developers in 182 countries participating in and cultivating the project.

Six is a big year. In the United States, children who turn six mark a rite of passage — they enter first grade and are (in some cases) mature enough to walk themselves to class on the first day of school without mom and dad to hold their hands. Parents watch as “their babies” take new steps into a big world, and they wonder what accomplishments their young superstars might achieve.

OpenStack is used by 50 percent of the US Fortune 100

In some ways, OpenStack at six is like those first-graders: old enough to stand on its own, OpenStack observes standard norms of behavior and is learning how “play nice” with others. In other ways, OpenStack is exceptionally well developed for its age: capable of integrating complex ideas, it’s already delivering value in the real world.
So just on the tail of its sixth birthday — and a week or two before the school year kicks off — here are six reasons to celebrate how far OpenStack has come.

1. The Governance Model Is Working

The “Big Tent” model of governance — introduced in 2015 to replace the unwieldy “integrated release” model — is working. Although not without its challenges, the Big Tent model has calmed the froth of unproductive bickering and pet projects by focusing resources on six core projects that most every OpenStack cloud must rely on: Nova ComputeSwift Object StorageCinder Block StorageNeutron Networking,Keystone Identity Service and Glance Image Service. Opening up the OpenStack umbrella to support a wide array of other projects, but arranging governance around the core has made a project roadmap and predictable quality improvements possible.

Team collaboration, idea inclusiveness and steady progress are key in any software project, whether proprietary or open source. Big Tent has improved all three, while improving civility throughout a project that’s continuing to grow, covering a diversity of cultures, languages and ideas.

2. Users Span Many Verticals, Organizational Sizes

“Where are the use cases?” That use to be the skeptics’ question at every OpenStack Summit. But at the last Summit in Austin, use cases of all shapes and sizes were on display, spanning industries from financial services and manufacturing to media, government/university research, retail and telecom. The OpenStack Foundation reported that OpenStack is used by 50 percent of the US Fortune 100, and hundreds of the world’s largest brands. Adoption is not limited to the big guys; organizations of all sizes use OpenStack. In fact, 43 percent of respondents to the last OpenStack user survey reported working in organizations of fewer than 1,000 people.

3. Have It Your Way

“OpenStack is too complicated” is a common criticism. In fact, many speculated that complexity would make widespread enterprise adoption impossible. But a funny thing happened on the way to OpenStack’s demise: innovative and industrious vendors have developed offerings to fill in the gaps, and many consumption models have risen to the surface. With a variety of project “plug-ins” and countless vendor offerings available as complements or alternatives, the prevailing OpenStack consumption model may very well be CYOOS (i.e., create your own OpenStack).

Of course, distributions are still popular, likely aided by a stabilizing of their number and a maturing of their release cycles. “As-a-Service” offerings continue to evolve and take that share of the market that simply wants to consume OpenStack, but not configure, deploy or operate it. IBM Blue Box OpenStack-powered private clouds fit in this segment of the market. Part of the maturity — and, arguably, part of the strength — of OpenStack is the diversity of ways in which it can be consumed.
The variety and success of all of these consumption methodologies is one of the primary drivers for OpenStack’s success.

4. A Strong Community of More Than 50,000 Users

OpenStack is now among the world’s largest open source cloud project. It is backed by a vibrant community of developers and some of the biggest names in the industry. To date, more than 20 million lines of code have been contributed by nearly 55,000 people and more than 600 supporting companies in 182 countries.

Think about what this means: It means the OpenStack project has successfully created an environment for developers to collaborate on a global basis to build, refine and innovate on a highly complex software project, led by those who build it. OpenStack is a project of unprecedented scope and value, and we’re only getting started.

5. Integrating Diverse Technologies

Not even a year ago, some speculated that containers would be the death of OpenStack. Instead, OpenStack has become an integration engine that bridges the union of containers, bare metal and virtual machines. OpenStack brings these resources together  in one platform and supports a variety of networking and scaling approaches and storage options.

Another example of integrating diverse technologies is the rise of Network Functions Virtualization, or NFV. Telecoms and other operators of large networks have embraced OpenStack with other technologies, such as The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), to build virtualized network environments that dramatically improve the flexibility and cost performance of these networks. NFV is a technology that was largely conceptual before members of the OpenStack community made it real.

True to its open source essence, OpenStack delivers choice, scalability and the flexibility to adopt new technologies.

6. Public and Private

In its early days, some prophesied OpenStack as an open source answer to Amazon Web Services. That’s not how the market played out, and OpenStack instead became a platform used predominantly for private and hybrid cloud deployments.

That’s changing. In the past year, a growing segment of public clouds powered by OpenStack has emerged, especially in European and Asia Pacific countries where data privacy regulations and customer expectations make local ownership of the full stack necessary. It’s still a niche for sure, but the emergence of public clouds based on OpenStack is a proof point that the technology is fully mature for rigorous, demanding public environments.

Six is young, but OpenStack is growing up fast. The project’s maturity and relative lack of controversy are reasons to celebrate: OpenStack has become, relatively speaking, a productive, focused and goal-directed global community delivering software that’s powering clouds large and small. So, you can keep your birthday cakes and pony rides: the OpenStack community is much too grown up for that.

School is back in session and it’s time to talk OpenStack!

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SMEStorage Made Easy (SME) is sponsoring OpenStack Days Seattle on September 30th and the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona October 25-28. Open source is very important to SME and the OpenStack community harbors many of our customers and our OpenStack partners have helped SME create amazing solutions for those customers.

I have been working with OpenStack since the Essex design summit. The biggest challenge with open source is making it enterprise ready. It’s the question that has rocked every OpenStack event I have been to. “Is OpenStack production ready?”. Only to be met by shrugs, pauses, caveats and excuses by the supporting community companies.

Over the last year this has changed, however it’s not the infrastructure that is in question. The real question is “What can be run on OpenStack that will meet my enterprise compliance, security and usage demands?”.

Anyone can say it’s production ready, what we need are the applications that run on it. Today.

Storage Made Easy is the answer.

With SME a customer can have a fully functioning EFSS application up and running within hours if not minutes. What makes this important isn’t the simplicity of the solution but the complexity of use cases solved within our customer base. Using SME on top of any OpenStack cloud can take an open source solution immediately to an enterprise level regardless of device, operating systems, cloud infrastructures, or even hybrid needs.

SME has created solutions for Legal Hold, HIPAA, global collaboration, secure file sharing and much more with our partners leveraging OpenStack.

I am excited for the events this fall and taking SME and our partners into markets that haven’t even been considered due to the challenges of open source.

You could say that Cloud was established in Seattle. Definitely not the open source kind, though. The OpenStack Days Seattle event is only the second OpenStack Seattle event so far. Seattle’s focus has been heavier on the local incumbents. Seattle has exceptional community groups for big data, analytics, many of the key use cases for the heavy cloud users.

OpenStack is changing the community in Seattle as it has in other tech hubs. Answering questions like: How can you build infrastructure that isn’t dependent on Amazon or Microsoft? How can you build infrastructure at a lower cost on-premises and then leverage an Amazon or Google cloud for periodic needs? How can I scale and not pay $200k to Amazon monthly?

This infrastructure is production ready and in use all over the world. The question isn’t focused on “if” but “how”. SME is the answer.

If you’re attending OpenStack Days Seattle on September 30, come by and see Erik Joelsson and I. We would be happy to talk about the key use cases solved with an SME solution and what we have going on with customers and partners around OpenStack.

If you’re coming to Barcelona, come see us there. We’ll have a booth at both events and several partners are attending as well.

Hope to see you soon!

Gary Butler

Partner and Alliances at Storage Made Easy

gary@storagemadeeasy.com

 

Virtual Machine High Availability with Platform9 OpenStack

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platform9-logostacked

Platform9 is a pioneer in offering a SaaS-based solution that leverages an enterprise’s on-premises or hybrid infrastructure to implement a private cloud in minutes. Platform9 gives enterprises plug-and-play simplicity and incredibly easy setup, similar to that of a public cloud, but with the choice of using their own private, secure infrastructure. Platform9’s Managed OpenStack and Managed Kubernetes offerings provide a fully managed service with operational SLAs that include 24/7 health monitoring and troubleshooting, and zero-touch upgrades. Platform9 also contributes open source projects such as our recent announcement for providing Virtual Machine High Availability with OpenStack, the subject of this blog.

In any enterprise-grade cloud offering, Virtual Machine High Availability (HA) is a must have feature for ensuring application availability despite infrastructure failures. Architecting cloud with consideration to HA helps protect cloud native as well as traditional applications against failures. Until now, HA features were available only on virtual infrastructures like VMware, Hyper-V, etc. With Platform9 managed OpenStack, customers can now use the same capability in their KVM environment as well.

Modern applications use multi-tier architecture and data sharding to provide consistent performance and tolerance to failures. The application can scale out or scale in based on the request load. Failures of individual instances typically do not impact modern workloads. However, large scale datacenter failures can still impact the availability of such applications. Cloud scale datacenters are architected with consideration to hardware failures. OpenStack allows admins to designate failure domains by a construct called Availability Zone (AZ). Platform9 managed OpenStack protects cloud native applications against such failures by placing workloads across multiple AZs.

Traditional applications assume always available infrastructure. The application architecture cannot tolerate hardware failures. Virtual machine or hypervisor failures impact availability of such applications. With Platform9 managed OpenStack, such applications can be protected as well. If the application VM crashes or the underlying hypervisor node goes down, such VMs can be relocated to a new host with Platform9 HA capability.

Protecting Cloud Native Applications

Platform9 managed OpenStack helps infrastructure admins and application developers plan for major hardware failures. Depending on the design of a datacenter, an AZ can be a server chassis, a rack or even the entire datacenter environment. The application developers can design their cloud native applications to tolerate AZ failures.
OpenStack provides a autoscaling group construct to facilitate automatic scaling of cloud ready apps based on resource utilization. With Platform9’s HA feature, the autoscaling group have been extended to add an AZ requirement as well. For example, the following template describes an autoscaling group with availability

heat-template-with-availability-zones
Heat Template with Availability Zones

A heat template describes the blueprint of a scale out application. As the workload across instances increases, more application instances are deployed. With Platform9, the developers can specify the AZs to use for deploying the application instances. The AZs can be specified as a comma separated list with“availability_zones” property. Platform9 managed OpenStack ensures that at least one app instance is deployed per AZ specified in the template. The following failure events are handled
● Host failure in AZ: A new instance of the application is started on another host in the same AZ
● AZ wide failure: The application instances in other AZs continue to serve user requests. The cloud native application does not experience any disruption.

Protecting Traditional Applications

Platform9 Managed OpenStack extends HA to traditional applications. AZs are used as a construct for protecting legacy applications as well. Cloud admins can enable HA on an availability zone as shown below.

Managing VM HA with Platform9
Managing VM HA with Platform9

To recover a VM on a failed node, shared storage is needed. All nodes in a HA cluster should use the same shared storage with identical VM storage paths to properly recover VMs on a failed node.

Upon enabling HA on an AZ in OpenStack, Platform9 deploys distributed clustering services on all KVM nodes in that AZ. The clustering services use Gossip protocol to keep track of all nodes in the cluster. The distributed cluster has following advantages over the traditional approach of using heartbeats to health check nodes-
● Gossip protocol can discover failures reliably and quickly compared to heartbeat based methods. The VM downtime is much shorter.
● It can detect tricky failures like network partitions that cannot be detected with heartbeats.
In the event of a node failure, it is fenced off and removed from the cluster. As shown below, All VMs running on that node are restarted on other nodes in the same AZ.

Virtual Machine evacuation on failure
Virtual Machine evacuation on failure

Depending on the size of AZ and the expected number of VM failures, spare capacity should be provisioned to recover VMs from failed nodes. Platform9 makes it easy to configure spare capacity.

Platform9 can manage the distributed cluster automatically. No manual configuration is needed upon failure. The cluster is maintained automatically as hypervisor nodes get added or removed from the AZ.

To summarize, Platform9 managed OpenStack provides seamless HA capability for today’s enterprises. By addressing the unique HA requirements for cloud ready as well as legacy applications, it makes it easy to transition to cloud without compromising the availability of workloads. See below for a demo of this HA capability.

References:
1. Gossip Protocol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossip_protocol
2. Consul: https://www.consul.io/docs/index.html
3. Distributed Cluster Orchestration in OpenStack: http://pf9.io/vmha-blueprint
4. Masakari (VM HA service in OpenStack): https://launchpad.net/masakari
5. Source Code: http://pf9.io/vmha-repo

OpenStack Days Seattle 2016 – Sneak Preview

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OpenStack Days Seattle 2016 event is shaping up well with keynotes & panels and fully loaded sessions. Apart from dedicated tracks on Enterprise and Telcos, we also have hands-on workshops/demos. Here is the sneak preview.

Hear from OpenStack Users

We have Walmart and Comcast talking about their success story with OpenStack as part of morning keynotes. As you might be aware, they have some of the largest OpenStack deployments. Come, hear Sean Roberts and Jonathan Chiang talk about how OpenStack transformed and enabled innovation velocity in their organizations.

Learn Best Practices

Through out the day, OpenStack users and vendors will be sharing best practices using and employing OpenStack. We have stellar keynote lineup including Randy Bias, Chris Wright and Vaughn Stewart sharing best practices using OpenStack. We also have Chris Hoge and Sarah Novotny highlighting community aspects. Our panels on Enterprise and Telco topics have OpenStack experts from both customer and vendors in order provide complete perspectives.

If you’re an enterprise customer, you don’t want to miss the sessions under the Enterprise track, where experts will talk about monitoring, DevOps with OpenStack, best practices building large scale clouds and OpenStack for VMware technologists. If you’re a Telco customer, you will enjoy the Telco track sessions on VNF performance, best practices enabling NFV workloads using OpenStack, monitoring VNF events using OPNFV VES and orchestration.

Talk to the Sponsors

Our sponsors will be available to talk about their offerings based on OpenStack and demonstrate their capabilities. Make sure you talk to them during Booth Crawl/ Evening reception or any time during the day.

Diversity & Accessibility

After a great response to our Diversity Scholarships last year, we are extending Diversity Scholarships to 30 applicants this year. We are also offering Free 1 Night Accommodation to 5 applicants. In order to encourage participation from hearing impaired and non native English speakers, we are enabling Live Captioning during live cast. Please learn more on our Diversity and Accessibility measure here and pass it on!

Hands on Workshops

If you would like to see some hands on action, check out the workshops. Talk to Red Hat Architects at their Discovery Workshops about your challenges with OpenStack & cloud, learn about Monitoring and Orchestrating Containerized applications using HPE Helion OpenStack or do some hands on OpenStack deployment using Ansible recipes.

Summary

Whether you’re an existing OpenStack customer or a potential customer considering OpenStack, OpenStack Days Seattle 2016 will benefit you. We were sold out last year days ahead and are trending towards the same this year even with increased capacity. We urge you register immediately to not miss OpenStack Days Seattle 2016!

Announcing OpenStack Day Seattle 2016

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We have received overwhelming support in regard to OpenStack Day Seattle 2015, thank you all! As a result the event is returning again this year.  We are excited to announce OpenStack Day Seattle 2016, which will be held on September 30th at The W in Seattle. You can get your tickets here (get your tickets now, we were sold out last year!)

Diversity Scholarships

We had a great response to our Diversity Scholarships initiative last year which allowed 20 (Twenty) underrepresented attendees and students participate. This year we are providing Full Entry Pass to 30 (Thirty) to encourage more participation from under represented minorities and students. We will also be providing 1 (One) Night Free Stay at The W for 5 (Five) qualifies applicants. Please apply here: Diversity Scholarships.

CFP

CFP is open. We solicit your speaking proposals on your success stories, use cases or best practices. Like last year, we are planning on having three tracks – OpenStack in Enterprise, OpenStack in Telcos or Hands on Training/ Workshops. Pure product pitches will not be accepted.

Sponsors

We have lead sponsors lined up! There are more sponsorship opportunities available, please check out Sponsors page for more info. We thank all our Attendees, Sponsors and friends who made the last year’s event successful and we request you to all the same support this year! See you at OpenStack Day Seattle 2016!