Apache CloudStack

CloudStack European User Group Summary

The CloudStack European User Group met on Thursday 23rd January for our quarterly meeting. The event was kindly hosted by TrendMicro UK and we would like to thank Simon and Jon for making sure that everybody was comfortable, fed and watered. TrendMicro are one of the many vendors who are actively showing their support for Apache Cloudstack through contributions to the project and community.

There was a fantastic turnout, we had a packed room with standing room only. It is great that we continue to see a good mix of developers, users, integrators and customers; all in the room ready to share experiences and ideas around CloudStack. Also present were four members of the Apache CloudStack Project Management Committee (PMC), who are responsible for the management and oversight of the Apache CloudStack codebase. Their presence provides an ideal opportunity for attendees and organisations to ask questions, discuss and provide feedback on CloudStack and get further value from the user group.

Giles Sirett (CEO of ShapeBlue and Chairman of the Group) started the meet up with his usual roundup of all things Cloudstack and highlighted how the CloudStack business community continues to mature through major vendor involvement and increased backing from users. Now with availability of multiple commercial support offerings there are clear signs of the CloudStack market developing. Further statistics show how both the Cloudstack user and developer communities continue to rapidly increase inline together and interestingly, the CloudStack community is just as active as OpenStack’s. Giles finished off with a summary of the best talks from the successful European CloudStack Collaboration Conference which took place in Amsterdam last November.

Next up was Donal Lafferty of Citrix. For the last 12 months Donal has been working on the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor integration for CloudStack, which is due in the 4.3 release. Donal talked through his development work to integrate ‘the last hypervisor’, starting with the drivers behind this project, the problems he faced, the solutions and the lessons learnt. There were some good take-aways such as using QuickCloud in development as an alternative for System VMs.

After a quick break, Arjan Eriks from Schuberg Philis talked about the landscapes in which Schuberg Philis use cloud in general and CloudStack in particular. And what choices Schuberg Philis has made to come to this point. Arjan described the various scales of clouds and how organisations should choose a cloud based on requirements such as Compliancy, Feature Richness, Adaptability, Price and Pricing models and Level of Control.

Of particular interest were Schuberg Philis’s current cloud implementations on Apache CloudStack for the following clients:

  • Belgium Bank
  • Dutch Harbor Pilot
  • Royal Dutch Airline
  • Dutch Retailer
  • Dutch bank
  • Employee Cloud

 

Puppet and Chef have been become the dominant configuration management tools in most cloud environments. Many people think Ansible now presents a much more sys-admin focussed alternative to these established technologies. Paul Angus of ShapeBlue has been working with Ansibile in CloudStack environments for a while now and his presentation shared his experiences, looked at the use-cases for Ansible with CloudStack and walked through some real-world examples of using Ansible.

This was very much an interactive session with the audience asking questions around “What…?”, “Why…?”, “How…?” and even a moment of epiphany – “Can Ansible be used to burst from CloudStack to AWS?”. As others like David Nalley are finding “there are more and more tasks Ansible is a perfect fit for”. This talk certainly left many inspired to explore the possibilities of Ansible with CloudStack!

The final talk of the day was from Sebastian Goasguen on “Contributing to Apache CloudStack”. Many people new to an open-source project find the idea of contributing code a daunting prospect. However, keeping the product documentation up to date is just as valuable to the projects long term success and is open for anybody to contribute to.

Sebastian started by describing the many mechanisms for contributing to the CloudStack project from coding and supporting users via IRC and the User mailing list to marketing/promoting CloudStack. Those who make sustained contributions to the project may be invited to become Committers. Sebastian also gave an overview of the Cloudstack documentation, and showed just how easy it is for any user of Cloudstack to contribute. He rounded off his talk by discussing other indirect ways of contributing such as working on language translations, ecosystem tools/librarys/projects (Ansible, Docker, LibCloud, Puppet,Hadoop,etc), hosting and sponsoring events.

Already within the first six weeks of 2014, there are five CloudStack user group meet ups taking place worldwide and four classroom/online bootcamp training sessions scheduled, so if you are getting up to speed with CloudStack there is plenty of opportunity to get involved. It’s certainly looking to be an exciting year for Apache CloudStack.

We are all very much looking forward to the next European CloudStack User Group meeting in 3 months time, hopefully with even more new faces!