Week in Review: OpenStack Summit Highlights on Edge and Immutability

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Getting Edge-Y at OpenStack Summit – 5 Ways it’s an Easy Concept with Hard Delivery

The 2018 Vancouver OpenStack Summit is very focused on IT infrastructure at the Edge. It’s a fitting topic considering the telcos’ embrace for the project; however, building the highly distributed, small footprint management needed for these environments is very different than OpenStack’s architectural priorities. There is a significant risk that the community’s bias towards it’s current code base (which still has work needed to service hyper-scale and enterprise data centers) will undermine progress in building suitable Edge IT solutions.

There are five significant ways that Edge is different than “traditional” datacenter.  We often discuss this on our L8istSh9y podcast and it’s time to summarize them in a blog post.

Full Post

Avoiding Infrastructure at Rest -The Power of Immutable Infrastructure Talk 

Rob Hirschfeld’s talk at OpenStack Summit on Image-Based Deployment


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Getting Edge-y at OpenStack Summit – 5 ways it’s an easy concept with hard delivery

The 2018 Vancouver OpenStack Summit is very focused on IT infrastructure at the Edge. It’s a fitting topic considering the telcos’ embrace for the project; however, building the highly distributed, small footprint management needed for these environments is very different than OpenStack’s architectural priorities. There is a significant risk that the community’s bias towards it’s current code base (which still has work needed to service hyper-scale and enterprise data centers) will undermine progress in building suitable Edge IT solutions.

There are five significant ways that Edge is different than “traditional” datacenter.  We often discuss this on our L8istSh9y podcast and it’s time to summarize them in a blog post.

IT infrastructure at the Edge is different than “edge” in general. Edge is often used as a superset of Internet of Things (IoT), personal devices (phones) and other emerging smart devices. Our interest here is not the devices but the services that are the next hop back supporting data storage, processing, aggregation and sharing. To scale, these services need to move from homes to controlled environments in shared locations like 5G towers, POP and regional data centers.

Unlike built-to-purpose edge devices, the edge infrastructure will be built on generic commodity hardware.

Here are five key ways that managing IT infrastructure at the edge is distinct from anything we’ve built so far:

  • Highly Distributed – Even at hyper-scale, we’re used to building cloud platforms in terms of tens of data centers; however, edge infrastructure sites will number in the thousands and millions!  That’s distinct management sites, not servers or cores. Since the sites will not have homogeneous hardware specifications, the management of these sites requires zero-touch management that is vendor neutral, resilient and secure.  
  • Low Latency Applications – Latency is the reason why Edge needs to be highly distributed.  Edge applications like A/R, V/R, autonomous robotics and even voice controls interact with humans (and other apps) in ways that require microsecond response times.  This speed of light limitation means that we cannot rely on hyper-scale data centers to consolidate infrastructure; instead, we have to push that infrastructure into the latency range of the users and devices.
  • Decentralized Data – A lot of data comes from all of these interactive edge devices.  In our multi-vendor innovative market, data from each location could end up being sprayed all over the planet.  Shared edge infrastructure provides an opportunity to aggregate this data locally where it can be shared and (maybe?) controlled. This is a very hard technical and business problem to solve.  While it’s easy to inject blockchain as a possible solution, the actual requirements are still evolving.
  • Remote, In-Environment Infrastructure – To make matters even harder, the sites are not traditional raised floor data centers with 24×7 attendants: most will be small, remote and unstaffed sites that require a truck roll for services.  Imagine an IT shed at the base of a vacant lot cell tower behind rusted chain link fences guarded by angry squirrels and monitored by underfunded FCC regulators.
  • Multi-Tenant and Trusted – Edge infrastructure will be a multi-tenant environment because it’s simple economics driving as-a-Service style resource sharing. Unlike buy-on-credit-card public clouds, the participants in the edge will have deeper, trusted relationships with the service providers.  A high degree of trust is required because distributed application and data management must be coordinated between the Edge infrastructure manager and the application authors.  This level of integration requires a deeper trust and inspect than current public clouds require.

These are hard problems!  Solving them requires new thinking and tools that while cloud native in design, are not cloud tools.  We should not expect to lift-and-shift cloud patterns directly into edge because the requirements are fundamentally different.  This next wave of innovation requires building for an even more distributed and automated architecture.

I hope you’re as excited as we are about helping build infrastructure at the edge.  What do you think the challenges are? We’d like to hear from you!

Podcast – Jordan Rinke on Open Source, Kubernetes, and Edge Computing

Joining us this week is Jordan Rinke, Principal Software Engineer, Walmart Labs. Jordan offers his views on various technologies and open source projects as it relates to the scale and connectivity issues faced by Walmart.

Highlights

  • Technical Gaps in Kubernetes Technologies and Installer Issues
  • Tooling and Orchestration Focus for Kubernetes and Other Tools
  • Core OS Model for Bootstrapping Kubernetes
  • Discussion on Immutability: Middle Ground for Jordan
  • Edge Computing – Emerging markets lead to disconnected edge sites
  • Data location challenges in edge and cloud services
  • Skills issues for medium sized clusters

Topic                                                                                    Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                                            0.0 – 1.08
Jet and Walmart Integration                                                1.08 – 1.57
Open Source & Walmart                                                      1.57 – 3.18
Kubernetes Challenge & Opportunities                             3.18 – 6.25
Open Source Installation Tool Sprawl                                6.25 – 9.53
Kubernetes to Bootstrap Kubernetes (CoreOS Model)   9.53 – 12.28
Ephemeral Hardware and Immutability                            12.28 – 15.30
Edge Computing                                                                   15.30 – 20.18
Dynamic Data Locations                                                      20.18 – 22.44
Medium Scale Clusters                                                        22.44 – 26.39 (On-Prem Kubernetes)
Wrap Up (OpenStack Bus Tour)                                          26.39 – END

Podcast Guest: Jordan Rinke

Technically inclined executive with 7 years of team leadership and startup growth experience:
Leading teams from 4 to 20 people in size on highly technical tactical and responsive issues. Managing the teams that have helped a number of startups secure funding from $50k to $1.5MM+ and effectively utilizing that investment to grow a sustainable energetic culture and product portfolio.

Before that I accrued 10 years of dev/eng experience (6 years of fortune 50 company experience, 4 years at one of the world’s largest cloud providers) doing OS deployment (DevOps before it was a buzz word) and driver integration for environments with over 150,000 devices giving me a unique perspective on large scale deployment scenarios.

Week in Review: Move Away from Virtualization Overheard with Bare Metal

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Had Enough Virtualization Overheard? Time to Think Bare Metal

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDx) allows operators to manage data centers in a more consistent and controlled way. It allows teams to define their environment as code and use automation to execute that definition in practice. To deliver this capability for physical (aka bare metal) servers, RackN has created a Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) plugin for users of HashiCorp’s Terraform.

More on RackN Terraform Opportunity

Observability into Bare Metal Provisioning with RackN

(Posted 5/15 on Honeycomb.io Blog)

At RackN, a core design principle is that operations should be easy to track and troubleshoot. We work hard to automate provisioning with observable processes because insight into complex interactions within a modern data center is critical for success. So, it’s not helpful if we require complex technologies to understand where issues arise from disconnected processes. RackN and the open source Digital Rebar community require a simple, best in class solution to provide a better way to observe provisioning operations within our system without adding complexity and overhead.

Full Post on Honeycomb.io


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Catch up with the RackN and Digital Rebar Team at OpenStack Summit

We are heading out to Vancouver next week for the OpenStack Summit from May 21 – 24. Rob Hirschfeld, our Co-Founder/CEO will be available to meet onsite as well as help drive the OpenStack community forward. If you are interested in meeting, please contact me.

Rob has 2 sessions scheduled and we encourage you to attend.

Sessions

Security Considerations for Cloud Edge Computing
Date & Time: May 23 from 11:50 – 12:30pm

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre West – Level 2 – Room 205-207

Panel: (Moderator) Beth Cohen, Verizon : Rob Hirschfeld, RackN : Glen McGowan, Dell EMC : Shuquan Huang, 99cloud

Cloud Edge computing use cases range from IoT to VR/AR and any widely distributed application in between.  However, taking OpenStack out of the data center requires an entirely new approach to security when there is far less ability to restrict access and often the applications require a shared tenant model.

Avoiding Infrastructure at Rest – The Power of Immutable Infrastructure

Date & Time: May 23 from 3:30 – 4:10pm
Location: Vancouver Convention Center West – Level Three – Room 301

Keeping up with patches has never been more critical.  For hardware, that’s… hard.  What if servers were deployed 100% ready to run without any need for remote configuration or access?  What if we were able to roll a complete rebuild of an entire application stack from the BIOS up in minutes.  Those are key concepts behind a cloud deployment pattern called “immutable infrastructure”  because the servers are deployed from images produced by CI/CD process and destroyed after use instead of being reconfigured.

We’ll cover the specific process and it’s advantages.  Then we’ll dive deeply into open tools and processes that make it possible to drive immutable images into your own infrastructure.  The talk will include live demos and go discuss process and field challenges that attendees will likely face when they start implementation at home.  We’ll also cover the significant security, time and cost benefits of this approach to make pitching the idea effective.

Christine Yen on 2nd Wave of DevOps, Monitoring Containers, and Listening to Users at a Startup

Joining us this week is Christine Yen, Co-founder at Honeycomb coming from a recording at SRECon Americas in March 2018 at Santa Clara Convention Center Hyatt.

Highlights

  • Understanding of what developer tools are today
  • Observability vs Monitoring
  • Instrumenting Apps for Diagnostics to help Developers do More
  • Tool to build not just better engineers but teams as well to support customers
  • Brief history of Honeycomb and where it came from (Parse and Facebook)
  • How debug containers that are most likely gone by time problem arises?
  • AI / Machine Learning – can it really help today?
  • 2nd Wave of DevOps
  • Impact of listening to users at a startup – people problems vs technology

Topic                                                                                    Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                                             0.0 – 2.05
Integration of Honeycomb and Digital Rebar Provision  2.05 – 3.01 (Plugin Info)
Developer Tools – what is that category?                          3.01 – 5.15 (Not doing harm)
Observability vs Monitoring                                                  5.15 – 7.45 (Doctor analogy)
Instrumenting Applications for Diagnostics                      7.45 – 10.19
My View vs Team View                                                         10.19 – 14.45 (Build better eng & teams)
Why we built Honeycomb?                                                 14.45 – 18.38
Centralized Logging in Distributed Containers                18.38 – 19.25
Can AI / Machine Learning assist in Finding Issues?     19.25 – 21.35 (7 Different Ways by Barry Schwartz)
Team Specialties – 2nd Wave of DevOps                          21.35 – 26.35 (Teach Devs to Own Code)
Listening to Users as a Startup                                           26.35 – 35.35 (UI Issues)
Who is Charity Majors? Co-Founder Honeycomb          35.35 – 38.30
Wrap Up                                                                                  38.30 – END

Podcast Guest:  Christine Yen, Co-founder at Honeycomb

Christine Yen is a cofounder of Honeycomb, a startup with a new approach to observability and debugging systems with data. Christine has built systems and products at companies large and small and likes to have her fingers in as many pies as possible. Previously, she built Parse’s analytics product (and leveraged Facebook’s data systems to expand it) and wrote software at a few now-defunct startups.

 

Week in Review : The CTO Advisor talks RackN at InteropITX

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Rob Hirschfeld and The CTO Advisor from Interop ITX

During Interop ITX 2018, Keith Townsend had a chance to catch up with RackN CEO Rob Hirschfield to discuss the company. Learn how RackN orchestrates bare metal workloads to provide cloud capability to the data center.


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Meet with RackN Next Week at GlueCon

Look for the RackN team next week in Colorado at GlueCon 2018. As a Bronze sponsor, we have a small booth for attendees to meet with our team and talk DevOps, Bare Metal, Immutability, Edge Computing and other topics. In addition, be sure to attend Rob Hirschfeld’s session on Wednesday.

If you are interested in meeting with us during the event please contact me to setup a meeting time.

Session

Making Bare Metal Go Cloud Native: The Power of Immutable Deploys
Speaker: Rob Hirschfeld, Co-Founder/CEO RackN
Wednesday May 16 from 2:50 – 3:30pm
Breakout 2 Track: DevOps

The benefits of automated cloud deployments for speed, reliability and security are undeniable.  The cornerstone of this approach, immutable deployment, promotes the idea of continuously rolling safe, stable images instead of trying to keep up with managing a fixed pool of machines,  If this pattern is so great, shouldn’t we bring it into the physical layer too?

In this talk, we’ll explore the immutable infrastructure pattern and how to use continuous deployment and continuous integration (CI/CD) process to build and manage server images for any platform.  Then we’ll show how automate deploying these images quickly and reliability with open DevOps tools like Terraform and Digital Rebar.  Not only is this approach fast, it’s also more secure and robust for operators.

If you are running physical infrastructure, this talk will change how you think about your job in profound ways.

Podcast – Chetan Venkatesh talks Edge, IoT, and Dishwashers as a Service

Joining us this week is Chetan Venkatesh, CEO/President of Macrometa, a stealth startup. Chetan is actively engaged in the data issues for edge computing and provides insight into the reality of edge computing and its changes in application development and delivery.

Sample posts from Chetan:

Highlights

  • Overview of Edge Computing and Chetan’s 3 Edges
  • Internet of things, gateways and data aggregation
  • Can Telcos compete against cloud providers?
  • How apps handle massive scale? Developer’s support? Distributed architecture?
  • Multi-tenancy impact on edge infrastructure?
  • Re-think where data resides to support user location
  • What is possible with IoT is unknown
  • What are the first movers in the edge computing space?

Topic                                                                                   Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                                                 0.0 – 1.20
Background Info (Journey to Edge)                                         1.20 – 4:18
Edge Computing Definition (3 Edges)                                     4:18 – 7.28
Car as IoT?                                                                                    7.28 – 9.05
IoT Gateways                                                                                9.05 – 10.57
Data Aggregation                                                                        10.57 – 14.51
Can Telcos Build the Infrastructure like Cloud Providers?   14.51 – 19.03
App Management / Data State Problem                                19.03 – 29.00 (Redis Lab Podcast)
Distributed Edge Infrastructure – Multi-Tenant?                    29.00 – 32.16
Where Data Reside for Edge? (Not Blockchain)                     32.16 – 37.59
Value of Data & IoT Possibilities                                                37.59 – 40.14
First Movers in this Space                                                          40.14 – 44.33 (Dishwasher as a Service)
Wrap Up                                                                                        44.33 – END

Podcast Guest: Chetan Venkatesh, CEO/President Macrometa

Founder and executive focused on enterprise data center, cloud infrastructure, and software products/companies. Strong competency in helping early-stage teams find & exploit product-market fit, early customer wins to repeat sales and scaling startups from pre-revenue to growth stage and profitability. Experienced in building strong and productive teams in sales, product development, product management, gaining early lighthouse customer wins, stage centric positioning with customers & partners, venture scaling and capital raise (equity and debt) Chetan Venkatesh was the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantis.

Week in Review: Plugin Model for Digital Rebar Provision Example

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Enhancing Digital Rebar Potential with Plugins – Honeycomb Example

The open source Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) solution provides a basic set of features that are enhanced with plugins offering additional services to customers. These plugins are provided by the Digital Rebar community, customers, partners, and RackN delivering significant value over and above the base provisioning capability of DRP.

RackN and Honeycomb developed a unique plugin during SRECon Americas a few weeks back allowing DRP events to be visible within the Honeycomb tool. Offering partners like Honeycomb an opportunity to integrate with DRP provides partners with a methodology to offer their services to the Digital Rebar community. For the community, having a simple plugin capability allows for use of pre-existing infrastructure tools.

Full Post

Immutable Deployments Hands-On Lab from Interop ITX

Greg Althaus presented a hands-on lab to 50 attendees to use Digital Rebar Provision and the RackN Portal to provision a pre-built Linux image for rapid node availability.


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