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Report written by Jean-Daniel Bonnetot et Hugo Bonnaffé

OVH at OpenStack Summit Vancouver 2015: What was learned from the event?

The biannual gathering of the OpenStack project brought together more than 6,000 people between the 18th and 22nd of May in the city of Vancouver. OVH participated in the event to learn what lies ahead for the project in the months ahead and to share its experience with the community. OVH uses OpenStack in particular for its most recent offer "Public Cloud" and is today part of the foundation of the open source project. The following is from an interview with Jean-Daniel Bonnetot, specialized OpenStack systems administrator at OVH.

What is an OpenStack Summit?

Launched in 2010, in five years, OpenStack has become one of the largest open source projects in the world with nearly 6000 active members (which of 3,500 are developers) and a foundation which unites some of the biggest IT players in the world: IBM, Intel, HP, Canonical, Red Hat, VMware, NetApp and Cisco. This community assembles itself twice a year, once in May and again in November during a Summit. The next summits will be held in Tokyo, then Austin (Texas) in 2016 before returning to Europe for a second time in Barcelona. At this event, with 55 countries represented, OpenStack contributors and users discussed the future of the project, its direction and reflected on its organization. This community collaboration is symbolized in the OpenStack Summit logo. This event was also the occasion to celebrate the latest release of OpenStack. In this case “Kilo”, the name of the latest release built by 1,500 developers , brings with it an accumulation of more than 3 million lines of code since its beginning.

What new changes does Kilo bring with it?

This newly crafted version of OpenStack brings with it not less than 400 new functionalities. Among them we note a new version of the API for Nova (version 2.1), which preserves backward compatibility. The API will continue to evolve without restricting functionality for those that may not update immediately. On the network side, Neutron is continues its rapid development. During the last six months, we spoke a lot about NFV (Network Function Virtualization)… Well, the first applications are finally present in Kilo. A new API is equally available for the LBaaS extension and major improvements have been made to DVR (Distributed Virtual Router). Furthermore, we finally see the erasure code in Swift. This new way of storing data provides better security while saving space. At the storage level, Cinder has incorporated two interesting functions: incremental backup of volumes and multi-attachment. These are two functions that our customers make regularly requests for. The big announcement was for Ironic, the component destined to manage bare metal on a cloud model. This did not come as a total surprise as the project has been in incubation for some time. Never the less, its appearance in Kilo put in on the same level as other components from past projects, which indicates its importance. At OVH we’re already thinking about how to integrate these new features in a way to enrich our offers. Beforehand, we are going to test and verify the stability of these new functions prior to offering them to our customers.

What other announcements were made at the OpenStack Summit Vancouver 2015?

For 5 days, there were fifteen parallel sessions which followed each other every 45 minutes. It is therefore difficult to provide an exhaustive list of all details of the event.
Major announcements on the innovation front, were clearly concerning container management, with Adriann Otto the PTL (Product Team Lead)on stage presenting project Magnum alongside Google (was he in the right place?). A project which brings with it Kubernetes, a component for container management.
Murano, which serves as the OpenStack application catalogue, was presented at the same time than as the new service managed by the foundation an index of all the packages, templates and images consumed by OpenStack. Project governance has also been amended under the leadership of Thierry Carrez Release Manager to enter the "Big Tent" mode. This means that many other projects such as the two mentioned above will be able to integrate OpenStack the moment they comply with workflow and conventions set forth by the community. No need to be approved by a committee ... who spent their time knowing what was the right direction for the project, and whether projects complied with the candidate’s roadmap. OpenStack will not be limited to laaS, but will be able to integrate the functionalities of PaaS for example, or evolve to meet other needs at "higher levels" in the software layers.
A new working group has been started in the community: Product Managers. Their role is to consolidate the roadmap, and bridge the gap between users and developers throughout the year.
A new feature of Kilo was presented during Monday morning’s keynote given by the PTL of Keystone, Morgan Fainberg: the “cloud federation”. A lot of work has been done to make it possible for several OpenStack infrastructures to be connected permitting a user to be registered in one location and to consume resources elsewhere. Moreover, we feel a general effort to move in this direction... The Hybrid Cloud is coming and OVH intends to participate.

We already know that NASA, CERN, HP, AT&T and other big names in IT are using OpenStack. During the OpenStack Summit, did other big companies announce their “coming out”? What particular projects have impressed you?

During the keynote, the Super User Awards recognized "big" users of OpenStack. This was the occasion to learn about some use cases from companies such as ComCast, TD Bank and even Walmart, which manage truly impressive OpenStack infrastructures with 100,000 cores, capable of handling nearly 1.5 billion page views during Thanksgiving or Black Friday.
Other major web players joined in the adventure like eBay and Paypal which announced 300,000 cores becoming some of the largest infrastructures today. It seems that they are still are under deployment as PayPal has moved entirely to OpenStack while eBay is at 20%. We can only imagine the final results!

OVH participated in the event not only as a spectator but also as an OpenStack operator. What is OVH’s place as an OpenStack user?

The exploitation of the OpenStack platform as a means of providing a public cloud is a use case that is relatively under-represented within the community. For this reason, OVH was able to provide OpenStack with interesting feedback, especially during the Design Summit, a privileged venue promoting exchanges between devs. Obviously it’s instructive to discover the problems of other operators and find that we share a number of them. The recurrent themes are naturally high availability and scalability which are two issues associated with cloud computing in general. This time OVH had a stand at the event. Despite the 2012 implantation of the largest data center in the world, located in Beauharnois (has the capacity to house 360,000 servers, 40 km from Montreal), we still have a lot of work to communicate our name on the other side of the Atlantic. A lot of visitors were interested by the fact that OVH operates its own datacenters, its own network and assembles its own servers. Finally, the time was right. During the OpenStack Summit OVH launched its “Public Cloud” offer under the brand (RunAbove, the group’s first public cloud offer is already based on OpenStack)

What are the next projects/challenges for OVH concerning the use of OpenStack?

We have been a part of the foundation since 2014 and we wish to participate in this community because we develop several products based on OpenStack. OpenStack is mainly private cloud orientated, most operators use a small to medium scale on site. As I said, we will use our public cloud provider experience to bring concrete elements in terms of major infrastructure operations and specific needs to the end customer for this type of offer. Of course open source projects require code contributors but it is also important to participate by raising the issue of user needs, identify bugs, provide sponsorship, discuss the direction of the project, etc.

What are the next projects/challenges for OVH concerning the use of OpenStack?

The “Public Cloud” product has been launched and we are very confident about its future. We are only at the beginning of a road map that will only continue to bring new features in the weeks and months ahead. Our past experiences have enabled us to learn how to manage thousands of nodes in an infrastructure. We must now think bigger and offer "Public Cloud" which is tailored for that. I want to take this opportunity to pass a message along to those listening, we are recruiting based on this technology! If you are interested to join in on a big adventure, check out OVH Careers.

View the OpenStack Summit video on our Youtube channel.