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Tuesday 26 May 2015

SUSE Ruling the Stack in Vancouver

Rule the Stack

Last week during the the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Intel organized a Rule the Stack contest. That's the third one, after Atlanta a year ago and Paris six months ago. In case you missed earlier episodes, SUSE won the two previous contests with Dirk being pretty fast in Atlanta and Adam completing the HA challenge so we could keep the crown. So of course, we had to try again!

For this contest, the rules came with a list of penalties and bonuses which made it easier for people to participate. And indeed, there were quite a number of participants with the schedule for booking slots being nearly full. While deploying Kilo was a goal, you could go with older releases getting a 10 minutes penalty per release (so +10 minutes for Juno, +20 minutes for Icehouse, and so on). In a similar way, the organizers wanted to see some upgrade and encouraged that with a bonus that could significantly impact the results (-40 minutes) — nobody tried that, though.

And guess what? SUSE kept the crown again. But we also went ahead with a new challenge: outperforming everyone else not just once, but twice, with two totally different methods.

For the super-fast approach, Dirk built again an appliance that has everything pre-installed and that configures the software on boot. This is actually not too difficult thanks to the amazing Kiwi tool and all the knowledge we have accumulated through the years at SUSE about building appliances, and also the small scripts we use for the CI of our OpenStack packages. Still, it required some work to adapt the setup to the contest and also to make sure that our Kilo packages (that were brand new and without much testing) were fully working. The clock result was 9 minutes and 6 seconds, resulting in a negative time of minus 10 minutes and 54 seconds (yes, the text in the picture is wrong) after the bonuses. Pretty impressive.

But we also wanted to show that our product would fare well, so Adam and I started looking at this. We knew it couldn't be faster than the way Dirk picked, and from the start, we targetted the second position. For this approach, there was not much to do since this was similar to what he did in Paris, and there was work to update our SUSE OpenStack Cloud Admin appliance recently. Our first attempt failed miserably due to a nasty bug (which was actually caused by some unicode character in the ID of the USB stick we were using to install the OS... we fixed that bug later in the night). The second attempt went smoother and was actually much faster than we had anticipated: SUSE OpenStack Cloud deployed everything in 23 minutes and 17 seconds, which resulted in a final time of 10 minutes and 17 seconds after bonuses/penalties. And this was with a 10 minutes penalty due to the use of Juno (as well as a couple of minutes lost debugging some setup issue that was just mispreparation on our side). A key contributor to this result is our use of Crowbar, which we've kept improving over time, and that really makes it easy and fast to deploy OpenStack.

Wall-clock time for SUSE OpenStack Cloud

Wall-clock time for SUSE OpenStack Cloud

These two results wouldn't have been possible without the help of Tom and Ralf, but also without the whole SUSE OpenStack Cloud team that works on a daily basis on our product to improve it and to adapt it to the needs of our customers. We really have an awesome team (and btw, we're hiring)!

For reference, three other contestants succeeded in deploying OpenStack, with the fastest of them ending at 58 minutes after bonuses/penalties. And as I mentioned earlier, there were even more contestants (including some who are not vendors of an OpenStack distribution), which is really good to see. I hope we'll see even more in Tokyo!

Results of the Rule the Stack contest

Results of the Rule the Stack contest

Also thanks to Intel for organizing this; I'm sure every contestant had fun and there was quite a good mood in the area reserved for the contest.

Update: See also the summary of the contest from the organizers.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Deploying Docker for OpenStack with Crowbar

A couple of months ago, I was meeting colleagues of mine working on Docker and discussing about how much effort it would be to add support for it to SUSE OpenStack Cloud. It's been something that had been requested for a long time by quite a number of people and we never really had time to look into it. To find out how difficult it would be, I started looking at it on the evening; the README confirmed it shouldn't be too hard. But of course, we use Crowbar as our deployment framework, and the manual way of setting it up is not really something we'd want to recommend. Now would it be "not too hard" or just "easy"? There was only way to know that... And guess what happened next?

It took a couple of hours (and two patches) to get this working, including the time for packaging the missing dependencies and for testing. That's one of the nice things we benefit from using Crowbar: adding new features like this is relatively straight-forward, and so we can enable people to deploy a full cloud with all of these nice small features, without requiring them to learn about all the technologies and how to deploy them. Of course this was just a first pass (using the Juno code, btw).

Fast-forward a bit, and we decided to integrate this work. Since it was not a simple proof of concept anymore, we went ahead with some more serious testing. This resulted in us backporting patches for the Juno branch, but also making Nova behave a bit better since it wasn't aware of Docker as an hypervisor. This last point is a major problem if people want to use Docker as well as KVM, Xen, VMware or Hyper-V — the multi-hypervisor support is something that really matters to us, and this issue was actually the first one that got reported to us ;-) To validate all our work, we of course asked tempest to help us and the results are pretty good (we still have some failures, but they're related to missing features like volume support).

All in all, the integration went really smoothly :-)

Oh, I forgot to mention: there's also a docker plugin for heat. It's now available with our heat packages now in the Build Service as openstack-heat-plugin-heat_docker (Kilo, Juno); I haven't played with it yet, but this post should be a good start for anyone who's curious about this plugin.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Stepping down as openSUSE Board Chairman

Two years ago, I got appointed as chairman of the openSUSE Board. I was very excited about this opportunity, especially as it allowed me to keep contributing to openSUSE, after having moved to work on the cloud a few months before. I remember how I wanted to find new ways to participate in the project, and this was just a fantastic match for this. I had been on the GNOME Foundation board for a long time, so I knew it would not be easy and always fun, but I also knew I would pretty much enjoy it. And I did.

Fast-forward to today: I'm still deeply caring about the project and I'm still excited about what we do in the openSUSE board. However, some happy event to come in a couple of months means that I'll have much less time to dedicate to openSUSE (and other projects). Therefore I decided a couple of months ago that I would step down before the end of the summer, after we'd have prepared the plan for the transition. Not an easy decision, but the right one, I feel.

And here we are now, with the official news out: I'm no longer the chairman :-) (See also this thread) Of course I'll still stay around and contribute to openSUSE, no worry about that! But as mentioned above, I'll have less time for that as offline life will be more "busy".

openSUSE Board Chairman at oSC14

openSUSE Board Chairman at oSC14

Since I mentioned that we were working on a transition... First, knowing the current board, I have no doubt everything will be kept pushed in the right direction. But on top of that, my good friend Richard Brown has been appointed as the new chairman. Richard knows the project pretty well and he has been on the board for some time now, so is aware of everything that's going on. I've been able to watch his passion for the project, and that's why I'm 100% confident that he will rock!

Sunday 28 July 2013

From Thessaloniki with love -- openSUSE Conference 2013

Last week-end I was in Greece, in Thessaloniki, enjoying the openSUSE Conference 2013. If I had to summarize the event in one word, that would be: wow! It was the first time we had this event in another city than Nuremberg and Prague (two places where SUSE has offices), and it was the first time the organization was fully lead by the community. I was quite confident that things couldn't go wrong since, after all, what matters is that we're all in the same place. But I was amazed that the whole event went so smoothly! This was really a great job from a whole team of volunteers:

oSC13 volunteers

Just to give an example of the hard work that was accomplished: most (all?) talks were successfully streamed, and the recordings are already online! Stella and Kostas definitely deserve credits for the overall success, as they kept leading the organization in the right direction since last year, and the event wouldn't have been possible without their dedication. Our sponsors also helped make all this happen, so many thanks to SUSE, ARM, DevHdR and Oracle!

Having people from all over the world was once again an opportunity to meet up with old and new friends, who were coming from Brazil (Izabel, Carlos), the US, all over Europe obviously, but also India (Manu, Saurabh) and China as well as Taiwan (Sunny, Max, David, etc.)... The conference is the global event of the openSUSE community, without any doubt. With 250 attendees, there were a lot of hallway chats and informal meetings; I'm sure the GNOME couch tradition that we initiated with Dominique and Richard will stay over the years ;-)

oSC13 volunteers

Unsurprisingly, the openSUSE Board took opportunity of having so many community members to discuss several topics with as many people as possible. The board also organized for the first time a session about team reports. Even though several teams didn't participate to that session (generally because no team members was there), we had more than ten teams joining the party on stage, and this was probably one of the best way to see how broad our community really is and to learn the latest developments in various areas of the project. We also had our usual town hall meeting which went rather nicely, with useful feedback to the board.

oSC13 volunteers

The bad thing for me is that I had to stay only for a few days due to work, but there's already a next opportunity to meet with the community: this will be the openSUSE Summit in Orlando next November. And if you cannot make it, then I can only recommending making sure that you will join us next year, for the openSUSE Conference in Dubrovnik!

oSC13 volunteers

Monday 1 July 2013

OpenStack Rhône-Alpes Meet-up #1

Last Thursday was the first meet-up of the OpenStack Rhône-Alpes group, in Grenoble. The idea of organizing such a meet-up came up just one month ago, at Solutions Linux; having such an OpenStack meet-up in Rhône-Alpes feels so natural, given the amount of people we have in the area (we can even include Geneva ;-)). Dave did a great job with the organization, and HP provided a pretty nice venue (and sponsored food!).

First OpenStack Meet-up in Rhône-Alpes!

We managed to attract around 25 people to this event, and given that it was our first and that we did nearly no noise about it, it's not too bad :-) We had people attending from HP, Bull, Red Hat, SUSE and more, and four of us delivered quick talks about XLcloud (by Patrick Petit, from Bull), oVirt (by Dave Neary, from Red Hat), HP's public cloud (by Gavin Brebner, from HP) and Crowbar (by yours truly). I must admit that Gavin Brebner's presentation about abusing HP's public cloud was extremely interesting; there's a lot of cool stuff happening to keep a public cloud running.

Of course, we enjoyed some nice food afterwards and stayed chatting a bit longer about OpenStack and other technical bits. And best of all: we celebrated OpenStack's third birthday a bit early:

Happy birthday OpenStack!

If everything goes well, the next meet-up of the group will be in Lyon, in September, stay tuned! And we'll make more noise, so we hope more people will join!

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by Vincent