Category Archives: Rackspace

OpenStack Launches as Independent Foundation

OpenStack  today announced the launch of a new, independent OpenStack Foundation that will continue to promote the development, distribution and adoption of the OpenStack cloud software. As the independent home for OpenStack, the Foundation has already attracted more than 5,600 individual members, secured more than $10 million in funding and is ready to fulfill the OpenStack mission of becoming the ubiquitous cloud computing platform.

The goal of the OpenStack Foundation is to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry.

“The launch of the OpenStack Foundation is not only an important milestone for our community, but a defining moment for the open cloud movement,” said Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation. “When you look at what this community has done to innovate and make cloud technologies accessible, as well as make open source synonymous with cloud computing, you understand why huge technology industry leaders and users across the world are placing their bets on OpenStack. The opportunity for OpenStack to become the open source standard for cloud computing is real.”

Like the software, membership within the OpenStack Foundation is free and accessible to anyone. Members are expected to participate in the OpenStack community through technical contributions or community building efforts.

Growth of the OpenStack platform continues on an upward trajectory. Founded in July 2010 by Rackspace and NASA with the support of 25 companies and a few dozen developers, OpenStack has since grown to more than 180 participating companies and 550 contributing developers producing six software releases in a little over two years.

To date, Rackspace has been leading and investing in community management activities, but a year ago the company announced plans to establish an independent Foundation, recognizing the community was thriving and ready for a permanent home. Rackspace has now transitioned management activities and contributed the OpenStack trademark to the new Foundation, creating even greater opportunity for diverse contributors and a vibrant ecosystem necessary for long-term success.

“Since its inception, we knew a foundation was the ultimate goal for OpenStack,” said Lew Moorman, President of Rackspace. “Todaywe are proud to finalize the process by donating the assets, handing over community management and giving the OpenStack trademark to the OpenStack Foundation.”

In April 2012, intended Platinum and Gold Member companies formed a Drafting Committee to produce a set of Bylaws and legal documents for community review. In July 2012, 5,000 individuals and eighteen companies ratified the Foundation Bylaws and legal documents by signing up as members. Currently, the Foundation has eight Platinum Members including AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE, and thirteen Gold Members including CCAT, Cisco, Cloudscaling, Dell, DreamHost, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, Piston Cloud Computing, Yahoo!, with Intel, NEC and VMware joining in September. Additional new companies who have begun supporting the Foundation as corporate sponsors include Brocade, eNovance, Gale Technologies, GridCentric, Huawei, Internap, Metacloud, PayPal, RiverMeadow Software, Smartscale Systems, Transcend Computing and Xemeti.

The Individual, Gold and Platinum members each make up a third of the Board of Directors, which provides strategic and financial oversight of Foundation resources and staff. Alan Clark, Director of Industry Initiatives, Emerging Standards and Open Source at SUSE, was elected Chairman of the Board, and Lew Tucker, Vice President and CTO of Cloud Computing at Cisco, was elected Vice Chairman of the Board.

“Our priorities and vision for the Foundation include strengthening the ecosystem, accelerating adoption and empowering the community to deliver the best cloud software out there,” said Alan Clark, Chairman of the Board. “OpenStack’s popularity and industry momentum calls for a solid operational foundation. The new board of directors is feverishly working to ensure that the Foundation is structured with the right executive leadership, staff, fiduciary models and controls all while looking to the priorities and vision for the Foundation. I am honored to serve and support this tremendously innovative community.”

“The OpenStack Foundation represents a new era of establishing open source standards for cloud computing based on multi-vendor collaboration,” said Lew Tucker, Vice Chairman of the Board. “The evolution of OpenStack to an independent foundation is a landmark achievement that reinforces the growing momentum and industry support that has galvanized around this organization and its mission.”

Separate of the Board, the fully elected OpenStack Technical Committee – an evolution of the Project Policy Board – will steward the technical direction of OpenStack software development and includes elected Project Technical Leads from each of the core software projects. Tim Bell, Operating Systems and Infrastructure Services Group Leader at CERN, was appointed by the Board of Directors to help establish a new User Committee, created to represent a broad set of enterprise, academic and service provider users with the Technical Committee and Board of Directors.

Led by Executive Director, Jonathan Bryce, the Foundation is hiring 10-12 employees who, under the strategic direction of the Board, will help carry out the OpenStack mission. Specific responsibilities include coordinating the project’s infrastructure, such as systems for testing the software at scale, community building activities, and managing the OpenStack trademark, which was transferred from Rackspace following the first board meeting.

Meet the new community leaders and learn more about the Foundation at the next OpenStack Summit, October 15 – 18, in San Diego, CA.


Cloud Migrator Transfers Files between Amazon S3, Azure, Rackspace

CloudBerry Lab today announced the beta version of its new CloudBerry Cloud Migrator service that allows users to transfer files from one cloud storage to another. The service supports data migration between Amazon S3, Windows Azure Blob Storage, Rackspace Cloud Files and FTP servers.

Cloud Migrator service by CloudBerry Lab is a web application that lets users transfer their files across different cloud storage services without installing any additional software. All copy operations executes inside a cloud and managed through the web interface.

The service allows users to copy files between different locations or accounts within one cloud storage provider as well as between different. It’s a perfect solution to painlessly migrate data from one Amazon S3 bucket to another or from Amazon S3 to Azure Blob Storage or Rackspace Cloud Files and vice versa.

Finally, Cloud Migrator supports FTP so it can also be used to easily copy/move files from an FTP server to any of the supported cloud storage accounts with no need to implement complicated scripts.

In the Cloud Migrator future releases, the new low-cost Glacier storage by Amazon AWS will be added to the list of supported cloud storage accounts.

CloudBerry Cloud Migrator is available at http://sync.cloudberrylab.com/


Rackspace Launches OpenStack-based Private Cloud Software

Today, Rackspace Hosting announced the release of Rackspace Private Cloud Software, powered by OpenStack – making it simple and easy for companies to install, test and run a multi-node OpenStack based private cloud environment. The software, code named “Alamo,” uses the same OpenStack compute platform, Nova, used to run Rackspace clouds and is available as a free download from the Rackspace website. This software is based upon Rackspace’s experience in deploying and operating OpenStack-based public and private clouds in a variety of environments including in Rackspace’s own datacenters as well as in external datacenters. The Rackspace Private Cloud is backed by an optional support offering.

The Rackspace Private Cloud Software combines the capabilities of public cloud with the customization, reliability and control advantages of a dedicated environment. Customers now have a simple way to install an OpenStack-based private cloud in their own datacenter, at Rackspace, or in a colocation facility.

“We believe that the majority of our customers and cloud users will be running hybrid cloud environments for a long time,” said Jim Curry, general manager of Private Cloud business at Rackspace. “Today’s announcement allows businesses to utilize their existing investment in their own datacenter resources to run an open cloud solution for additional control and customization and also take advantage of Rackspace’s datacenter options.”

Key Benefits of Rackspace Private Cloud, Powered by OpenStack include:

  • Deploy in minutes To download, customers can go to www.rackspace.com/cloud/private
    and run a simple installer to deploy OpenStack components and
    configuration for private clouds.
  • Integrated and tested configuration – Based on customer
    feedback, Rackspace selected a proven configuration, which initially
    includes Ubuntu 12.04 LTS host operating system and KVM hypervisor. It
    is 100% open source OpenStack Essex with Compute, Image Service,
    Identity Service and Dashboard. Rackspace is working with partners
    like Red Hat and others to offer its customers choice of host
    operating systems and OpenStack distributions in the future.
  • Backed by Rackspace Fanatical Support® – Organizations running
    the software can utilize free support forums or can purchase
    Escalation Support services from Rackspace. Escalation Support
    includes 24x7x365 ticket and phone support for Rackspace Private Cloud
    powered by OpenStack from the experts at Rackspace.

“Since the founding of OpenStack, we have had requests from the marketplace and our customers for a private cloud software offering based on OpenStack that makes it easy to get up and running. We are making that solution available through Rackspace’s Private Cloud Software allowing organizations of any size to take advantage of open cloud technology that conforms 100% to the open source code base. Rackspace is making it easy for every IT decision maker, IT pro, and system administrator to install, test and run OpenStack clouds anywhere within minutes – you don’t need to be an OpenStack expert,” said Lew Moorman, president at Rackspace. “This is built, packaged and tested by the OpenStack experts at Rackspace, providing customers access to a proven configuration and to Rackspace’s expert Fanatical Support team.”

This software is the newest addition to the Rackspace Private Cloud suite along with OpenStack Training and Support services. For more information go to: www.rackspace.com/cloud/private


AppFog Collaborates with Rackspace to Support Open Cloud Ecosystem

Image representing Rackspace as depicted in Cr...

AppFog today announced it is collaborating with Rackspace to allow its customers to deploy applications to the open Rackspace Cloud powered by OpenStack. AppFog’s solution will be available through the recently announced Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace.

AppFog will offer customers the ability to develop and deploy apps to the open Rackspace Cloud in an efficient and cost effective manner. Highlighting a pay-for RAM approach, developers are able to receive 2GB free of RAM simply by creating an account. Users will reap the benefits of interoperability, as AppFog provides customers with the capacity to redeploy applications to Rackspace that are currently running on a different Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider with zero-code migrations, while helping users avoid vendor lock-in. AppFog’s IaaS deployment options continue to expand with the addition of Rackspace to a list that already includes AWS, HP, and Microsoft Azure. As a multi-language PaaS, AppFog supports Java, .NET, Node, Python, Ruby, PHP, MySQL, MongoDB, Postgres and more.

“We are very excited to align our efforts with Rackspace,” said Lucas Carlson, chief executive officer of AppFog. “As a market leader and a powerful force within OpenStack, Rackspace is a valuable option for developers looking for a reliable, scalable and secure IaaS option. With Cloud Databases and Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack, we can be assured that our efforts support open standards, protect against vendor lock-in and enable developers to deploy on public or private OpenStack-based clouds.”

The Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace is a comprehensive catalog of innovative, third-party-developed applications designed for the Rackspace Cloud. By leveraging OpenStack and developing solutions specifically for the open Rackspace Cloud, AppFog provides increased flexibility for customers and helps them avoid vendor lock-in. Additionally, through the marketplace, customers can now browse, review and connect to cloud solutions focused on management, monitoring, application deployment, security and a host of other areas.

“We’re excited to be working with AppFog and for their platform to be available through the Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace,” said Ven Shanmugam, senior manager of corporate strategy at Rackspace. “AppFog provides developers with a trusted platform for application development and deployment and we look forward to ongoing collaboration to have these capabilities available to our customers.”

For more information on AppFog, please visit www.appfog.com.


Bursting into the Clouds – Experimenting with Cloud Bursting

Guest Post by Dotan Horovits, Senior Solutions Architect at GigaSpaces

Dotan Horovits is one of the primary architects at GigaSpaces

Dotan Horovits is one of the primary architects at GigaSpaces

Who needs Cloud Bursting?

We see many organizations examining Cloud as replacement for their existing in-house IT. But we see interest in cloud even among organizations that have no plan of replacing their traditional data center.

One prominent use case is Cloud Bursting:

Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application runs in a private cloud or data center and bursts into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes. The advantage of such a hybrid cloud deployment is that an organization only pays for extra compute resources when they are needed.
[Definition from SearchCloudComputing]

Cloud Bursting appears to be a prominent use case in cloud on-boarding projects. In a recent post, Nati Shalom summarizes nicely the economical rationale for cloud bursting and discusses theoretical approaches for architecture. In this post I’d like to examine the architectural challenges more closely and explore possible designs for Cloud Bursting.

Examining Cloud Bursting Architecture

Overflowing compute to the cloud is addressed by workload migration: when we need more compute power we just spin up more VMs in the cloud (the secondary site) and install instances of the application. The challenge in workload migration is around how to build a consistent environment in the secondary site as in the primary site, so the system can overflow transparently. This is usually addressed by DevOps tools such as ChefPuppetCFEngine and Cloudify, which capture the setup and are able to bootstrap the application stack on different environments. In my example I used Cloudify to provide consistent installation between EC2 and RackSpace clouds.

The Cloud Bursting problem becomes more interesting when data is concerned. In his post Nati mentions two approaches for handling data during cloud bursting:

1. The primary site approach – Use the private cloud as the primary data site, and then point all the burst activity to that site.
2. Federated site approach – This approach is similar to the way Content Distribution Networks (CDN) work today. With this approach we maintain a replica of the data available at each site and keep their replicas in sync.

The primary site approach incurs heavy penalty in latency, as each computation needs to make the round trip to the primary site to get the data for the computation. Such architecture is not applicable to online flows.

The federated site approach uses data synchronization to bring the data to the compute, which saves the above latency and enables online flows. But if we want to support “hot” bursting to the cloud, we have to replicate the data between the sites in an ongoing streaming fashion, so that the data is available on the cloud as soon as the peak occurs and we can spin up compute instances and immediately start to redirect load. Let’s see how it’s done.

Cloud Bursting – Examining the Federated Site Approach

Let’s put up our sleeves and start experimenting hands-on with the federated site approach for Cloud Bursting architecture. As reference application let’s take Spring’s PetClinic Sample Application and run it on an Apache Tomcat web container. The application will persist its data locally to a MySQL relational database.

The primary site, representing our private data center, will run the above stack and serve the PetClinic online service. The secondary site, representing the public cloud, will only have a MySQL database, and we will replicate data between the primary and secondary sites to keep data synchronized. As soon as the load on the primary site increases beyond a certain threshold, we will spin up a machine with an instance of Tomcat and the PetClinic application, and update the load balancer to offload some of the traffic to the secondary site.

On my experiment I used Amazon EC2 and RackSpace IaaS providers to simulate the two distinct environments of the primary and secondary sites, but any on-demand environments will do.

REPLICATING RDBMS DATA OVER WAN

How do we replicate data between the MySQL database instances over WAN? On this experiment we’ll use the following pattern:

1.     Monitor data mutating SQL statements on source site. Turn on the MySQL query log, and write a listener (“Feeder”) to intercept data mutating SQL statements, then write them to GigaSpaces In-Memory Data Grid.

2.     Replicate data mutating SQL statements over WAN. I used GigaSpaces WAN Replication to replicate the SQL statements  between the data grids of the primary and secondary sites in a real-time and transactional manner.

3.     Execute data mutating SQL statements on target site. Write a listener (“Processor”) to intercept incoming SQL statements on the data grid and execute them on the local MySQL DB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To support bi-directional data replication we simply deploy both the Feeder and the Processor on each site.

AUTO-BOOTSTRAP SECONDARY SITE

When peak load occurs, we need to react immediately, and perform a series of operations to activate the secondary site:

1.     spin up compute nodes (VMs)

2.     download and install Tomcat web server

3.     download and install the PetClinic application

4.     configure the load balancer with the new node

5.     when peak load is over – perform the reverse flow to tear down the secondary site

We need to automate this bootstrap process to support real-time response to peak-load events. How do we do this automation? I used GigaSpacesCloudify open-source product as the automation tool for setting up and for taking down the secondary site, utilizing the out-of-the-box connectors for EC2 and RackSpace. Cloudify also provides self-healing  in case of VM or process failure, and can later help in scaling the application (in case of clustered applications).

Implementation Details

The result of the above experimentation is available on GitHub. It contains:

§  DB scripts for setting up the logging, schema and demo data for the PetClinic application

§  PetClinic application (.war) file

§  WAN replication gateway module

§  Cloudify recipe for automating the PetClinic deployment

See the documentation on GitHub for detailed instructions on how to configure the above with your specific deployment details.

Conclusion

Cloud Bursting is a common use case for cloud on-boarding, which requires good architecture patterns. In this post I tried to suggest some patterns and experiment with a simple demo, sharing it with the community to get feedback and raise discussion on these cloud architectures.

More information can be seen at an upcoming GigaSpaces webinar on Transactional Cross-Site Data Replication on June 20th (register at: http://bit.ly/IM0w9F)


Appcara Debuts Its AppStack Release 2 Platform, A Dynamic Application Layer Above the Cloud

Appcara, maker of cloud application lifecycle solutions, announced a major new version of its AppStack application and portability platform that helps enterprises and service providers accelerate complex applications into the cloud and deliver new application-based revenue sources. Incorporating a real time Dynamic Application Environment layer that eliminates the need for server templates or scripting, AppStack Release 2 changes the rules of cloud computing. With AppStack 2, enterprises and service providers gain exceptionally fast time-to-market for key business applications – maximizing time, knowledge and profitability.

While cloud deployments are common for simple web apps, the $385 billion enterprise application market remains the province of on-premises data centers, in large part because IT staffs lack the tools required to truly govern VMware, Citrix, or other private and hybrid applications running on Amazon Web Services, Citrix CloudStack or VMware vCloud. While cloud app management solutions exist, they require deep technical knowledge of application stacks, and a lot of manual, error-prone effort to use.

AppStack provides an advanced application layer above public and private clouds – to capture application components, configurations and dependencies in real-time in the industry’s only dynamic Configuration Repository – thereby automating all aspects of the application lifecycle. By decoupling apps from low-level dependencies such as operating systems and machine images into its uniquely visual, intuitive, real time environment, AppStack 2 enables total application portability, even across different public clouds – for instance, from Amazon to Rackspace – as well as from public to private clouds. AppStack allows cloud computing to expand beyond simple, predefined workloads, and into the realm of serious enterprise applications – with a single pane of glass management interface, and eliminating vendor lock-in.

“For a long time enterprises have been seeking to leverage cloud environments for more complex business applications and take advantage of the flexibility, faster time to market and markedly lower cost structures delivered by the cloud. AppStack’s ability to capture and assemble these application graphically, in real-time, is something that’s businesses can truly leverage for improved efficiency and faster time to market,” said William Fellows, analyst at 451 Research.

A major new capability in AppStack 2 is the App Marketplace functionality that connects application publishers and consumers and provides a platform to enable usage-based applications, so that:

  • Corporations have immediate access to business applications, enabling
    them to integrate applications without the need to purchase, install &
    configure apps as with packaged software.
  • ISV’s can readily publish business applications for usage-based
    consumption
  • Distributors can resell applications in a usage-based model in the
    cloud, and to move away from traditional box-based software sales.

“Many of our clients come from the Life Sciences industry where they have very sophisticated, mission critical applications running on their servers. Making a move to the cloud wasn’t an option worth considering until the AppStack solution came along,” said Tim Caulfield, chief executive officer at American Internet Services (AIS). “The idea that AppStack can do the heavy lifting on the back-end and provide the user with a very clean, single-pane-of-glass interface, is quite appealing and fits nicely with our BusinessCloud1 offering.”

AppStack 2 builds upon existing AppStack patent-pending components that have been in use by service providers and enterprise customers, including:

  • Dynamic Application Engine – which
    captures user-defined app environments, settings and relationships in
    real-time, construct data models and insert into Configuration
    Repository. It automates provisioning, lifecycle management, and
    portability.
  • Configuration Repository – which stores
    application settings, dependencies and change records for all
    application workloads. This enables speedy provisioning of application
    workloads as well as the ability to de-couple lower level components
    such as operating systems for portability across cloud vendors.
  • Cloud Target Optimizer – which maps
    provisioning elements and instructions to vendor specific API’s and
    available capabilities.

“Enterprises need to get critical apps to market with the least effort and cost possible, and the solutions on the market today help with only simple, static environments,” said John Yung, founder and CEO of Appcara. “AppStack keeps it simple, fast, and visual to deploy and manage even complex applications in the cloud, so customers and service providers can lower their IT costs – even with enterprise applications – and focus on scaling their business.”

AppStack Release 2 will ship in July 2012. Appcara is showcasing its latest version of AppStack at Cloud Computing Expo New York, in its booth #257.