Austin OpenStack Meetup: Keystone & Knife (2/20 notes via Greg Althaus)

I could not make it to the recent Austin OpenStack Meetup, but Greg Althaus generously let me post his notes from the event.


Matt Ray talks about Chef

Matt Ray from Opscode presented some of the work with Chef and OpenStack. He talked about the three main chef repos floating around. He called out Anso’s original cookbook set that is the basis for the Crowbar cookbooks (his second set), and his final set is the emerging set of cookbooks in OpenStack proper. The third one is interesting and what he plans to continue working on to make into his public openstack cookbooks. These are an amalgamation of smokestack, RCB, Anso improvements, and his (Crowbar’s).

He then demoed his knife plugin (slideshare) to build openstack virtual servers using the Openstack API. This is nice and works against (previously “Free Cloud”) and RCB’s demo cloud. All of that is on his github repo with instructions how to build and use. Matt and I talked about trying to get that into our Crowbar distro.

There were some questions about flow and choice of OpenStack API versus Amazon EC2 API because there was already an EC2 knife set of plugins.

Ziad Sawalha talks about Keystone

Ziad Sawalha is the PLT (Project Technical Lead) for Keystone. He works for Rackspace out of San Antonio. He drove up for the meeting.

He split his talk into two pieces, Incubation Process and Keystone Overview. He asked who was interested in what and focused his talk more towards overview than incubation.

Some key take-aways:

  • Keystone comes from Rackspace’s strong, flexible, and scalable API. It started as a known quantity from his perspective.
  • Community trusted nothing his team produced from an API perspective
  • Community is python or nothing
    • His team was ignored until they had a python prototype implementing the API
    • At this point, comments on API came in.
  • Churn in API caused problems with implementation and expectations around the close of Diablo.
    • Because comments were late, changes occurred.
    • Official implementation lagged and stalled into arriving.
  • API has been stable since Diablo final, but code is changing. that is good and shows strength of API.
  • Side note from Greg, Keystone represents to me the power of API over Code. You can have innovation around the implementation as long all the implementations have a fair ground work to plan under which is an API specification. The replacement of Keystone with the Keystone Light code base is an example of this. The only reason this is possible is that the API was sound and documented.  (Rob’s post on this)

Ziad spent the rest of his time talking about the work flow of Keystone and the API points. He covered the API points.

  • Client to Keystone, Keystone to Client for initial auth token
  • Client to Middleware API for the services to have a front.
  • Middleware to Keystone to verify and establish identity.
  • Middleware to Service to pass identity

Not many details other then flow and flexibility. He stressed the API design separated protocol from actions and data at all the layers. This allows for future variations and innovations while maintaining the APIs.

Ziad talked about the state of Essex.

  • Planned
    • RBAC (aka Role Based Access Control)
    • Stability
    • Many backends
  • Actual
    • Code replacement Keystone Light
    • Stability
    • LDAP backend
    • SQL backend

Folsum work:

  • RBAC
  • Stability
  • AD backend
  • Another backend
  • Federation was planned but will most likely be pushed to G
    • Federation is the ability for multiple independent Keystones to operate (bursting use case)
    • Dependent upon two other federation components (networking and billing/metering)

OpenStack Keystone makes smart & bold move to improve quality

Just after the OpenStack
Essex 3 milestone, Ziad Sawalha of Rackspace announced a major shift in the Keystone code base. I applaud the clarity of Ziad’s email but want to restate my understanding of the changes here rather than simply parrot him.

These changes improve Keystone and OpenStack in several ways.

The Keystone team is keeping the current APIs while swapping their implementation. They recommend switching back to an implementation based on the Rackspace Cloud Builder’s Keystone Light code base. I say switching back because my team at Dell has some experience with the Keystone Light (KSL) code. KSL was used with our first Diablo release work while legacy Keystone (Diablo Keystone?) was being readied for release. Upon reflection, the confusion around Keystone readiness for Diablo may have been an indicator to some disconnects that ultimately contributed to last week’s decision.

This is not an 11th hour rewrite. Keystone Light (now Essex Keystone?) offers

  • An existing code base that has been proven in real deployments
  • Stronger identity pluggability, better EC2 compatibility and higher production readiness
  • An existing testing framework and proven extensibility and flexibility
  • Plus, the team has committed to ensure a simple migration path

Beyond the code and Keystone, making a change like this takes confidence and guts.

This change is not all sunshine and rainbows. Making a major change midway through the release cycle introduces schedule and delivery risk. Even though not fully graduated to core project status, Keystone is already an essential component in OpenStack. People will certainly raise valid questions about production readiness and code churn within the project. Changes like these are the reality for any major project and doubly so for platforms.

The very fact that this change is visible and discussed by the OpenStack community shows our strength.

Acknowledging and quickly fixing a weakness in the OpenStack code base is exactly the type of behavior that the community needs to be successful and converge towards a great platform. The fact that maintaining the API is a priority shows that OpenStack is moving in the direction of more API based standards. While the Keystone change is not a recommendation for dual implementations (the Diablo Keystone fork will likely die out), it should help set the stage for how the community will handle competing implementations. If nothing else, it is a strong argument for maintaining API tests and compliance.

The Keystone change is a forward looking one. Our Crowbar team will investigate how we will incorporate it.  As part of OpenStack, the new Keystone code will (re)surface for the Essex deployment and that code will be part of the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud.  This work, like the previous, will be done in the open as part of the OpenStack barclamps that we maintain on the Crowbar github.

OpenStack Seattle Meetup 11/30 Notes

We had an informal OpenStack meetup after the Opscode Summit in Seattle.

This turned out to be a major open cloud gab fest! In addition to Dell OpenStack leads (Greg and I), we had the Nova Project Technical Lead (PTL, Vish Ishaya, @vish), HP’s Cloud Architect (Alex Howells, @nixgeek), Opscode OpenStack cookbook master (Matt Ray, @mattray). We were joined by several other Chef Summit attendees with OpenStack interest including a pair of engineers from Spain.

We’d planned to demo using Knife-OpenStack against the Crowbar Diablo build.  Unfortunately, the knife-openstack is out of date (August 15th?!).  We need Keystone support.  Anyone up for that?


There’s no way I can recapture everything that was said, but here are some highlights I jotted down the on the way home.

  • After the miss with Keystone and the Diablo release, solving the project dependency problem is an important problem. Vish talked at length about the ambiguity challenge of Keystone being required and also incubated. He said we were not formal enough around new projects even though we had dependencies on them. Future releases, new projects (specifically, Quantum) will not be allowed to be dependencies.
  • The focus for Essex is on quality and stability. The plan is for Essex to be a long-term supported (LTS) release tied to the Ubuntu LTS. That’s putting pressure on all the projects to ensure quality, lock features early, and avoid unproven dependencies.
  • There is a lot of activity around storage and companies are creating volume plug-ins for Nova. Vish said he knew of at least four.
  • Networking has a lot of activity. Quantum has a lot of activity, but may not emerge as a core project in time for Essex. There was general agreement that Quantum is “the killer app” for OpenStack and will take cloud to the next level.  The Quantum Open vSwitch implementaiton is completely open source and free. Some other plugins may require proprietary hardware and/or software, but there is definitely a (very) viable and completely open source option for Quantum networking.
  • HP has some serious cloud mojo going on. Alex talked about defects they have found and submitted fixes back to core. He also hinted about some interesting storage and networking IP that’s going into their OpenStack deployment. Based on his comments, I don’t expect those to become public so I’m going to limit my observations about them here.
  • We talked about hypervisors for a while. KVM and XenServer (via XAPI) were the primary topics. We did talk about LXE & OpenVZ as popular approaches too. Vish said that some of the XenServer work is using Xen Storage Manager to manage SAN images.
  • Vish is seeing a constant rise in committers. It’s hard to judge because some committers appear to be individuals acting on behalf of teams (10 to 20 people).

Note: cross posted on the OpenStack Blog.

Reminder: 12/8 Meetup @ Austin!

Missed this us in Seattle? Join us at the 12/8 OpenStack meetup in Austin co-hosted by Dell and Rackspace.

Based on our last meetup, it appears deployment is a hot topic, so we’ll kick off with that – bring your experiences, opinions, and thoughts! We’ll also open the floor to other OpenStack topics that would be discussed – open technical and business discussions – no commercials please!

We’ll also talk about organizing future OpenStack meet ups! If your company is interested in sponsoring a future meetup, find Joseph George at the meetup and he can work with you on details.

Crowbar OpenStack deployment video (15 mins): Diablo + Keystone + Dashboard

This week at the OpenStack Design Summit and Conference in Boston, my team unveiled the Diablo+ Crowbar deployments. The OpenStack deployment that’s included with Crowbar reflects a collaborative effort between Dell, Opscode, and Rackspace and pulls packages from the Rackspace repository. It was important for us to use the Rackspace repos so that we could include integrated Keystone and Dashboard components that were omitted from the Diablo (current) release. Our decision to include these Essex (coming) components is based on customer feedback.

Since some of you cannot make it to the show and see the demo in person, we’ve captured it as a video for your enjoyment. The OpenStack deployment is available in our open source distribution. We are currently in QA for the overall solution so expect additional refinement as we progress towards our next OpenStack solution release.

REMINDER: Dell Hardware is NOT required to use Crowbar for OpenStack.  The open source version has everything you need – the BIOS and RAID barclamps are optional (but handy).

Dell Crowbar to deploy OpenStack Diablo Cloud

Direction in the Cloud

Photo by JB George

This week, some of the Crowbar/Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud team, plus Matt Ray from Opscode, have been working with our partners at Rackspace in San Antonio (see Opscode post about collaboration). Our target is to have Crowbar deliver a core Diablo deployment by the October 2011 design conference (sponsored in part by Dell). This is a collaborative effort and we invite community participation – we are trying to be open and communicative (via the Crowbar listserv) while also respecting that there is a mountain of work if we are to meet deadlines.

We are doing the work in the open on the Crowbar Github so you have access to the very latest capabilities and it also means that the head the Crowbar may be unstable while we add capabilities. We feel like this is an important trade off because it allows us to keep up with the rapid pace of development in OpenStack (and other projects). This is the motivation for the recent modularization work and will continue to be a feature driver for Crowbar enhancements because it allows Crowbar users to easily bring in updated bits.