Troubleshooting Networking with RHEL OpenStack Platform: meet ‘plotnetcfg’

Network troubleshooting can be hard. Network troubleshooting in a complex distributed system like OpenStack can be even harder. With a typical Neutron deployment using the Open vSwitch (OVS) plug-in, one can expect rich networking configurations on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform nodes, the Compute and Controller nodes in particular.

While the network implementation details are well hidden from the end customer (who interfaces with the Neutron API or the Horizon Dashboard), the actual backend implementation involves the creation of various Linux devices, bridges, tunnel interfaces, and network namespaces. This is where the “magic” happens, and how OpenStack tenants can create and consume network resources such as networks, IP subnets and virtual routers, and get proper communication for their applications.

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What’s new in OpenStack Liberty: webinar recap

OpenStack “Liberty,” due for imminent release, represents the 12th release of the open source computing platform for public and private clouds. Recent OpenStack releases have focused on improving stability and enhancing the operator experience. This is still the case with Liberty, but there are still new features to consider.

On October 1st we provided a sneak peek into the highlights of OpenStack Liberty, if you missed out you can now view the recording of the event on demand. As well as providing an overview the highlights of the Liberty release we also discussed the recent restructure of the way governance of OpenStack projects works, colloquially referred to as the “big tent”, and what it means for you as a consumer of OpenStack.

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Big data in the open, private cloud

Organizations that take advantage of comprehensive insights from their data can gain a competitive edge. However, the ever-increasing amount of data coming in can make it hard to see trends. Adding to this challenge, many companies have data locked in silos, making it difficult—if not impossible—to gain critical insights. Big data technologies like Hadoop can help unify and organize data, but getting fast, meaningful insight still isn’t easy.

Organizations consistently face 4 main challenges when trying to implement big data initiatives:

  1. Setting up and operating a big data and analytics platform
  2. Attracting, managing, and applying big data and analytics skills
  3. Integrating insights into business processes
  4. Iterating quickly

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How Red Hat’s OpenStack partner Networking Solutions Offer Choice and Performance

Successfully implementing an OpenStack cloud is more than just choosing an OpenStack distribution. With its community approach and rich ecosystem of vendors, OpenStack represents a viable option for cloud administrators who want to offer public-cloud-like infrastructure services in their own datacenter.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform offers pluggable storage and networking options.  This open approach is contrary to closed solutions such as VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) which only supports VMware NSX for L4-L7  networking or VMware Distributed switch for basic L2 networking .

Below are some of the networking partners who have certified their OpenStack Networking plugins with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and will be on display at VMworld 2015, San Francisco, at the Red Hat booth, 528; (Cisco is at booth 1721). See exhibitor map

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How to choose the best-fit hardware for your OpenStack deployment

One of the benefits of OpenStack is the ability to deploy the software on standard x86 hardware, and thus not be locked-in to custom architectures and high prices from specialized vendors.

Before you select your x86 hardware, you might want to consider how you will resolve hardware/software related issues:

  • Is my distribution of OpenStack and the underlying Linux, certified to run on the hardware I use?
  • Will the vendor of my OpenStack distribution work with my hardware vendor to resolve issues?

There was a panel session  (Cisco, Ooyala, Sprint, and Shutterfly) on OpenStack use cases at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, May 2015. At the end, an audience member asked “How important is it that the OpenStack distribution is  certified to run on the hardware you use?

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Celebrating Kubernetes 1.0 and the future of container management on OpenStack

This week, together with Google and others we celebrated the launch of Kubernetes 1.0 at OSCON in Portland as well as the launch of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation or CNCF (https://cncf.io/), of which Red Hat, Google, and others are founding members. Kubernetes is an open source system for managing containerized applications providing basic mechanisms for deployment, maintenance, and scaling of applications. The project was originally created by Google and is now developed by a vibrant community of contributors including Red Hat.

As a leading contributor to both Kubernetes and OpenStack it was also recently our great pleasure to welcome Google to the OpenStack Foundation. We look forward to continuing to work with Google and others on combining the container orchestration and management capabilities of Kubernetes with the infrastructure management capabilities of OpenStack.

Red Hat has invested heavily in Kubernetes since joining the project shortly after it was launched in June 2014, and are now the largest corporate contributor of code to the project other than Google itself. The recently announced release of Red Hat’s platform-as-a-service offering, OpenShift v3, is built around Kubernetes as the framework for container orchestration and management.

As a founding member of the OpenStack Foundation we have been working on simplifying the task of deploying and managing container hosts – using Project Atomic –  and configuring a Kubernetes cluster on top of OpenStack infrastructure using the Heat orchestration engine.

To that end Red Hat engineering created the heat-kubernetes orchestration templates to help accelerate research and development into providing deeper integration between Kubernetes and the underlying OpenStack infrastructure. The templates continue to evolve to include coverage for other aspects of container workload management such as auto-scaling and were recently demonstrated at Red Hat summit:

The heat-kubernetes templates were also ultimately leveraged in bootstrapping the OpenStack Magnum project which provides an OpenStack API for provisioning container clusters using underlying orchestration technologies including Kubernetes. The aim of this is to make containers first class citizens within OpenStack just like virtual machines and bare-metal before them, with the ability to share tenant infrastructure resources (e.g. networking and storage) with other OpenStack-managed virtual machines, baremetal hosts, and the containers running on them. Providing this level of integration requires providing or expanding OpenStack implementations of existing Kubernetes plug-in points as well as defining new plug-in APIs where necessary while maintaining the technical independence of the solution. All this must be done while allowing application workloads to remain independent of the underlying infrastructure and allowing for true open hybrid cloud operation. Similarly on the OpenStack side additional work is required so that the infrastructure services are able to support the use cases presented by container-based workloads and remove redundancies between the application workloads and the underlying hardware to optimize performance while still providing for secure operation.

Containers on OpenStack Architecture

Magnum, and the OpenStack Containers Team, provide a focal point to coordinate these research and development efforts across multiple upstream projects as well as other projects within the OpenStack ecosystem itself to achieve the goal of providing a rich container-based experience on OpenStack infrastructure.

As a leading contributor to both OpenStack and Kubernetes we at Red Hat look forward to continuing to work on increased integration with both the OpenStack and Kubernetes communities and our technology partners at Google as these exciting technologies for managing the “data-centers of the future” converge.

Public vs Private, Amazon compared to OpenStack

Public vs Private, Amazon Web Services EC2 compared to OpenStack®

How to choose a cloud platform and when to use both

The public vs private cloud debate is a path well trodden. While technologies and offerings abound, there is still confusion among organizations as to which platform is suited for their agile needs. One of the key benefits to a cloud platform is the ability to spin up compute, networking and storage quickly when users request these resources and similarly decommission when no longer required. Among public cloud providers, Amazon has a market share ahead of Google, Microsoft and others. Among private cloud providers, OpenStack® presents a viable alternative to Microsoft or VMware.

This article compares Amazon Web Services EC2 and OpenStack® as follows:

  • What technical features do the two platforms provide?
  • How do the business characteristics of the two platforms compare?
  • How do the costs compare?
  • How to decide which platform to use and how to use both

OpenStack® and Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 defined

From  OpenStack.org “OpenStack software controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, managed through a dashboard or via the OpenStack API. OpenStack works with popular enterprise and open source technologies making it ideal for heterogeneous infrastructure.”

From AWS “Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers..”

Technical comparison of OpenStack® and AWS EC2

The tables below name and briefly describe the feature in OpenStack® and AWS. 

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Driving in the Fast Lane – CPU Pinning and NUMA Topology Awareness in OpenStack Compute

The OpenStack Kilo release, extending upon efforts that commenced during the Juno cycle, includes a number of key enhancements aimed at improving guest performance. These enhancements allow OpenStack Compute (Nova) to have greater knowledge of compute host layout and as a result make smarter scheduling and placement decisions when launching instances. Administrators wishing to take advantage of these features can now create customized performance flavors to target specialized workloads including Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and High Performance Computing (HPC).

What is NUMA topology?

Historically, all memory on x86 systems was equally accessible to all CPUs in the system. This resulted in memory access times that were the same regardless of which CPU in the system was performing the operation and was referred to as Uniform Memory Access (UMA).

In modern multi-socket x86 systems system memory is divided into zones (called cells or nodes) and associated with particular CPUs. This type of division has been key to the increasing performance of modern systems as focus has shifted from increasing clock speeds to adding more CPU sockets, cores, and – where available – threads. An interconnect bus provides connections between nodes, so that all CPUs can still access all memory. While the memory bandwidth of the interconnect is typically faster than that of an individual node it can still be overwhelmed by concurrent cross node traffic from many nodes. The end result is that while NUMA facilitates faster memory access for CPUs local to the memory being accessed, memory access for remote CPUs is slower.

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An ecosystem of integrated cloud products

In my prior post, I described how OpenStack from Red Hat frees  you to pursue your business with the peace of mind that your cloud is secure and stable. Red Hat has several products that enhance OpenStack to provide cloud management, virtualization, a developer platform, and scalable cloud storage.

Cloud Management with Red Hat CloudForms            

CloudForms contains three main components

  • Insight – Inventory, Reporting, Metrics red-hat-cloudforms-logo
  • Control – Eventing, Compliance, and State Management
  • Automate – Provisioning, Reconfiguration, Retirement, and Optimization

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An OpenStack Cloud that frees you to pursue your business

As your IT evolves toward an open, cloud-enabled data center, you can take advantage of OpenStack’s benefits: broad industry support, vendor neutrality, and fast-paced innovation.

As you move into implementation, your requirements for an OpenStack solutions shares a familiar theme: enterprise-ready, fully supported, and seamlessly-integrated products.

Can’t we just install and manage OpenStack ourselves?

OpenStack is an open source project and freely downloadable. To install and maintain OpenStack you need to recruit and retain engineers trained in Python and other technologies. If you decide to go it alone consider:

  1. How do you know OpenStack works with your hardware?
  2. Does OpenStack work with your guest instances?
  3. How do you manage and upgrade OpenStack?
  4. When you encounter problems, consider how you would solve them? Some examples:

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