OpenStack Day 2 Aspiration: Dreaming & Breathing

Between partnering meetings, I bounced through biz and tech sessions during Day 2 of the OpenStack conference (day 1 notes).   After my impression summary, I’m including some succinct impressions, pictures, and copies of presentations by my Dell team-mates Greg Althaus & Brent Douglas.

Clouds on the road to Bexar
My overwhelming impression is a healthy tension between aspirational* and practical discussions.  The community appetite for big broad and bodacious features is understandably high: cloud seems on track as a solution for IT problems but there are is still an impedance mismatch between current apps and cloud capabilities.
As service providers ASPire to address these issues, some OpenStack blue print discussions tended to digress towards more forward-looking or long-term designs.  However, watching the crowd, there was also a quietly heads down and pragmatic audience ready to act and implement.  For this action focused group, delivering working a cloud was the top priority.  The Rackers and Nebuliziers have product to deploy and will not be distracted from the immediate concerns of living, breathing shippable code.
I find the tension between dreaming aspiration (cloud futures) and breathing aspiration (cloud delivery) necessary to the vitality of OpenStack.
[Day 3 update, these coders are holding the floor.  People who are coding have moved into the front seats of the fishbowl and the process is working very nicely.]
Specific Comments (sorry, not linking everything):
  • Cloud networking is a mess and there is substantial opportunity for innovation here.  Nicira was making an impression talking about how Open vSwitch and OpenFlow could address this at the edge switches.  interesting,  but messy.
  • I was happy with our (Dell’s) presentations: real clouds today (Bexas111010DataCenterChanges) and what to deploy on (Bexar111010OpenStackOnDCS).
  • SheepDog was presented as a way to handle block storage.  Not an iSCSI solution, works directly w/ KVM.  Strikes me as too limiting – I’d rather see just using iSCSI.  We talked about GlusterFS or Ceph (NewDream).  This area needs a lot of work to catch up with Amazon EBS.  Unfortunately, persisting data on VM “local” disks is still the dominate paradigm.
  • Discussions about how to scale drifted towards aspirational.
  • Scalr did a side presentation about automating failover.
  • Discussion about migration from Eucalyptus to OpenStack got side tracked with aspirations for a “hot” migration.  Ultimately, the differences between network was a problem.  The practical issue is discovering the meta data – host info not entirely available from the API.
  • Talked about an API for cloud networking.  This blue print was heavily attended and messy.  The possible network topologies present too many challenges to describe easily.  Fundamentally, there seems consensus that the API should have a very very simple concept of connecting VM end points to a logical segment.  That approach leverages the accepted (but out dated) VLAN semantic, but implementation will have to be topology aware.  ouch!
  • Day 3 topic Live migration: Big crowd arguing with bated breath about this.  The summary “show us how to do it without shared storage THEN we’ll talk about the API.”
Executive Tweet:  #OpenStack getting to down business.  Big dreams.  Real problems.  Delivering Code.
 
Note: I nominate Aspirational for 2010 buzzword of the year.

Greg PresentingBig Crowd on Day 1

5 thoughts on “OpenStack Day 2 Aspiration: Dreaming & Breathing

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