SXSW: Our final Dev/Tech meet up

March 13, 2012

As I mentioned in my last several entries, during SXSW Michael Cote and I, on behalf of Dell, organized a series of mini meet-ups focusing on developers, tech and social media folks.  These were relaxed informal affairs with the idea of getting people together to learn what they were up to and for us to let them know what had been keeping us busy.

The final meet up was held on Sunday evening at the Hilton bar, Finn and Porter.  Here is a mini-montage from the event:

I asked the folks to say who they are, where they’re from, who they work for and what they hope to get out of SXSW.

The line-up

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


How to create a Basic or Advanced Crowbar build for Hadoop

November 29, 2011

As I mentioned in my previous entry, the code for the Hadoop barclamps is now available at our github repo.

To help you through the process, Crowbar lead architect Rob Hirschfeld has put together the two videos below.  The first, Crowbar Build (on cloud server), shows you how to use a cloud server to create a Crowbar ISO using the standard build process.  The second,  Advanced Crowbar Build (local) shows how to build a Crowbar v1.2 ISO using advanced techniques on a local desktop using a virtual machine.

Crowbar Build (on cloud server)

Advanced Crowbar Build (local)

Pau for now…


Citrix to launch OpenStack Distro (with a little help from Rackspace and Dell)

May 25, 2011

Today at Citrix Synergy, Citrix announced “Project Olympus,” their up coming OpenStack distribution.  In case you’re not familiar with it, OpenStack is an open source cloud platform based on the code from NASA’s Nebula cloud as well as Rackspace’s storage code.  The OpenStack project kicked of last summer and already has gathered support from over 60 commercial hardware and software vendors.

Mt. Olympus and the Cloud

Citrix’s OpenStack Distro

Citrix’s Project Olympus will produce a commercial distribution of the OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service platform.  This “Olympian” distribution will be made up of two main components: a Citrix-certified version of OpenStack and a cloud-optimized version of XenServer.  While Citrix will lead with their Xen technology, thanks to OpenStack the distro will support all leading hypervisors.

Project Olympus is targeted at both public cloud providers as well as enterprise customers looking to build out private clouds.  The distribution will be available later this year.

But I want it now — The Citrix/Rackspace/Dell Early Access Program

For those who don’t want to wait until the official distribution is ready, don’t fret you can get started today through the Early Access Program (EAP).  The EAP is designed to help customers kick-off pilots and proof-of-concept deployments.  The program provides access to a beta version of the Citrix distro plus Dell hardware and deployment software as well as deployment services, training and on going customer support for customer clouds via Rackspace’s Cloud Builders program.

To get going with Citrix’s Project Olympus Early Access Program, please visit  http://www.citrix.com/olympus

Dell, Crowbar and Reference Architectures

Dell’s above-mentioned deployment software, aka “crowbar,” was a big hit at the last OpenStack Design summit.  The software which leverages Opscode’s Chef, allows folks to get an Openstack cloud up in running in less than four hours (instead of  days).  In addition to the deployment software and systems, to support the project Olympus EAP, Dell will also be providing reference architectures so keep your eyes peeled for those.

If you have any questions about what Dell is doing with OpenStack or want to get started, email us at OpenStack@Dell.com.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Gettin’ the scoop on the OpenStack Design Summit

April 28, 2011

Earlier this week, I attended the first two days of the OpenStack Design Summit out in Santa Clara, CA.  Before I took off I grabbed sometime with Jim  Curry, GM of Rackspace Cloud Builders and the leader of Rackpace’s OpenStack efforts.

I got Jim’s thoughts on how the summit was going, how the project was going as well as some breaking news.

Some of the ground Jim covers:

  • Jim’s areas of responsibility
  • How this week’s Design summit is different from the first two?  (how its grown and changed)
  • Some of the hot topics at this summit
  • Breaking news re. the next release, Diablo, milestones and a regular cadence
  • Note: I had a brain cramp and said Ubuntu follows the Mozilla schedule, I meant GNOME (go figure)

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


A walk thru Facebook’s HQ on Open Compute day

April 12, 2011

Last Thursday a group of us from Dell attended and participated in the unveiling of Facebook’s Open Compute project.

Much the way open source software shares the code behind the software, the Open Compute project has been created to provide the specifications behind the servers and the data center.    By releasing these specs, Facebook is looking to promote the sharing of data center and server technology best practices across the industry.

Pre-Event

The unassuming entrance to Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters.

The Facebook wall.

Facebook headquarters at 8am. (nice monitors! :)

Words of wisdom on the wall.

The Event

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg kicks off the Open Compute event.

The panel moderated by Om Malik that closed the event. Left to right: Om, Graham Weston of Rackspace, Frank Frankovsky of Facebook, Michael Locatis of the DOE, Alan Leinwand of Zynga, Forrest Norrod of Dell (with the mic) and Jason Waxman of Intel.

Post-event show & tell: Drew Schulke of Dell's DCS team being interviewed for the nightly news and showing off a Dell DCS server that incorporates elements of Open Compute.

Extra credit reading

  • GigaOM: Bringing Facebook’s Open Compute Project Down to Earth
  • The Register:  Facebook’s open hardware: Does it compute?

Pau for now…


Rackspace’s head of OpenStack talks about Facebook’s Open Compute

April 7, 2011

This morning at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto the company announced their Open Compute project  Partners and kindred spirits were there to tell the story behind Open Compute and explain what they think it means to the industry.  One group of kindred spirits were the individuals from Rackspace.  I got some time with Jim Curry who heads up OpenStack at Rackspace after the event officially ended.

Here is what Jim had to say:

Some of the topics Jim covers:

  • Driving efficiencies in data center design requires looking at the issue holistically.
  • Learning from Facebook’s successes and failures.
  • Looking forward to collaboration in an area that hasn’t historically had a lot of collaboration.
  • Engagement with Facebook engineers on how to run OpenStack on their hardware.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Facebook, OpenCompute and Dell

April 7, 2011

Today at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Facebook and a collection of partners such as Dell, Intel and AMD  — as well as kindred spirits like RackSpace’s founder (the company behind OpenStack) and the CIO of the Department of Energy — are on hand to reveal the details behind Facebook’s first custom-built data center and to announce the Open Compute project.

Efficiency: saving energy and cost

The big message behind Facebook’s new data center, located in Prineville Oregon, is one of efficiency and openness.  The facility will use servers and technology that deliver a 38 percent gain ìn energy efficiency.  To bring the knowledge that the company and its partners have gained in constructing this hyper-efficient hyper-scale data center Facebook is announcing the Open Compute project.

Much the way open source software shares the code behind the software, the Open Compute project has been created to provide the specifications behind the hardware.  As a result, Facebook will be publishing the specs for the technology used in their data center’s servers, power supplies, racks, battery backup systems and building design.  By releasing these specs, Facebook is looking to promote the sharing of data center and server technology best practices across the industry.

How does Dell fit in?

Dell, which has a long relationship with Facebook, has been collaborating on the Open Compute project.  Dell’s Data Center Solutions group has designed and built a data center solution using components from the Open Compute project and the server portion of that solution will be on display today at Facebook’s event.  Additionally Forrest Norrod, Dell’s GM of server platforms will be a member of the panel at the event talking about the two companies’ common goal of designing the next generation of hyper efficient data centers.

A bit of history

Dell first started working with Facebook back in 2008 when they had a “mere” 62 million active users.  At that time the three primary areas of focus in with regards to the Facebook IT infrastructure were:

  1. Decreasing power usage
  2. Creating purpose-built servers to match Facebook’s tiered infrastructure needs
  3. Having tier 1 dedicated engineering resources to meet custom product and service needs

Over the last three-plus years, as Facebook has grown to over 500 million active users, Dell has spefically helped out to address these challenges by:

  • Building custom solutions to meet Facebook’s evolving needs, from custom-designed servers for their web cache, to memcache systems to systems supporting their database tiers.
  • Delivering these unique servers quickly and cost effectively via Dell’s global supply chain.  Our motto is “arrive and live in five”, so within five hours of the racks of servers arriving at the dock doors, they’re live and helping to support Facebook’s 500 million users.
  • Achieving the greatest performance with the highest possible efficiency. Within one year, as the result of Dell’s turnkey rack integration and deployment services, we were able to save Facebook 84,000 pounds of corrugated cardboard and 39,000 pounds of polystyrene during that same year.

Congratulations Facebook! And thank you for focusing on both open sharing and on energy efficiency from the very beginning!

Pau for now…


Dell, Equinix and Rackspace launch Free OpenStack Demo environment

March 30, 2011

OpenStack, the open source cloud platform based on code donated by NASA and Rackspace, has gained considerable traction since it was launched eight months ago.  The community has rapidly grown and there have been several releases.  Now its time to get potential customers trying it out and kicking the tires.

With the idea of removing friction to adoption and make the testing out of the platform as easy as possible, Dell, Equinix and Rackspace are announcing today the availability of a free OpenStack cloud demonstration and test environment.

The idea of the demo environment is to allow organizations to easily evaluate OpenStack and assess application performance on the platform in a low risk environment for free.  The next step after a successful demo would be a proof of concept.

Movin workloads around the country

This demo environment is initially available in three U.S. data centers and in Q2 of this year this offering will also be available in Equinix data centers in Europe and Asia.  The initial data centers are:

  • Equinix Silicon Valley
  • Equinix Asburn, VA
  • Rackspace Chicago

By having geographically dispersed facilities customers are able to test out the moving of applications and workloads between them.

The various parts

The OpenStack demo environment is made up of the following components

Widening the circle

The name of the game here is making the trying out of OpenStack as easy as possible.  There are a lot of community members and open source aficionados who are already testing out OpenStack.  The idea with OpenStack cloud demonstration environment is to provide a set up where a greater number of organizations feel comfortable evaluating the platform for themselves.

Try it, you just might like it :)

Extra-credit reading

Updated reading

Pau for now…


Rackspace evolves OpenStack Governance

March 16, 2011

One of the trickiest things to get right in an open source project is the governance model.  Who makes up the various boards and gets what authority is something struggled over and something that virtually no one gets right straight out of the gate.  Its particularly interesting if you are a commercial entity sponsoring a project and want to maintain a certain amount of influence over the endeavor but also want it to grow and flourish.

Two weeks ago Jonathan Bryce, Rackspace cloud co-founder and one of the leads of the OpenStack project policy board, announced the changes that were being made to OpenStack’s governance.

I ran into Jonathan on Monday during South by Southwest and sat down with him to get some more insight into what the changes were and why they were being made.

Some of the ground Jonathan covers:

  • From Mosso to Rackspace cloud to OpenStack
  • How they’ve been surprised by the great uptake by the community and how this has led them to evolve the governance structure.
  • What the various boards are and what their make up will be
  • Which roles will be 6-month stints.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..


OpenStack Installer Demo at SXSW

March 15, 2011

Last week and this, Austin’s downtown has been taken over by the South by Southwest festival (SXSW).  What started out nearly 25 years ago as a music festival/conference has grown to include parallel film and interactive events as well.  During the event every bar and venue downtown is occupied with bands, films or tech companies showing their stuff.

Yesterday Rackspace commandeered the Kung Fu Saloon in the name of the OpenStack project.  As part of this event, and before the drinking began, Dell did a demo of “Crowbar,” our OpenStack installer that we recently announced.

Check out the mini montage below that includes a quick interview I did with Dell solutions engineer Greg Althaus right after he finished the demo.

Don’t take our word for it

Dell is currently field testing crowbar and plans to donate the code to the OpenStack community after testing.  If you are interested in testing crowbar yourself, email us at OpenStack@Dell.com.

Some of the ground the video covers

  • Intro montage: Welcome to the Kung Fu Saloon, setting up and a snippet of the demo
  • [0:40] Talking to Greg
    • What actually is crowbar and how does it work with OpenStack compute and storage?
    • How fast can you spin up a cloud using it?
    • Where does OpsCode’s Chef fit in?
    • Our plan to donate this code to the community after field testing.  

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


OpenStack heads into Interstellar Overdrive

March 8, 2011

One small step for OpenStack, one giant step for mankind!  Ok, that may be taking it a bit far but today there is some exciting news that Dell and Rackspace have announced.

(I grabbed this image from a blog by varundev kashimath)If OpenStack is new to you it’s the open source cloud platform based off of the Nebula cloud code base donated by NASA (hence all the rocket allusions) and the storage code base from Rackspace.  The project is now about eight months old and its community is over 50 organizations strong including NASA, Citrix, AMD, Intel, NTT, cloud.com, RightScale, Dell, Opscode and Puppet labs.

(Graphic source: varundev kashimath’s blog)

The News

To help the community and organizations get up and going building out their own OpenStack based clouds we are announcing the following:

  1. Proof of Concepts: Rackspace and Dell are working together to deliver an OpenStack solution to market later this year.  As the first step along the way we are currently seeking customers for OpenStack proofs of concept (POC).  If you are interested in learning more about the POCs and possibly participating or getting engaged, email: OpenStack@Dell.com.
  1. Code: Dell has developed an OpenStack installer that can be used to quickly install OpenStack on bare metal Dell PowerEdge C servers.  This tool is being field tested, and Dell will contribute the code to the OpenStack community once testing is complete.  To help users out further, once the OS is installed, the servers can be updated with all the latest packages and be automatically configured by Opscode’s Chef to provide their services in the OpenStack infrastructure.
  2. Technical whitepaper: A technical whitepaper, “Bootstrapping OpenSource Clouds” which lays out the design of a hyperscale OpenStack cloud on Dell PowerEdge C servers.

But wait, there’s more, “Cloud Builders”…


To help support OpenStack deployments, Rackspace announced today that its launching  a new division, “Cloud Builders.”  Cloud Builders “will provide training, certification, deployment services and ongoing support and management to enterprises and service providers via the team of OpenStack experts and its partner network.”

Specifically the offerings will include (taken from the Rackspace blog):

  • Training & Certification – Rackspace Cloud Builders will provide training classes and certification testing for designing, developing and administering OpenStack Clouds. Rackspace also plans to empower a network of training and certification experts.
  • Deployment Services – Rackspace Cloud Builders, in conjunction with other experts from the OpenStack community, will help customers design and deploy OpenStack Clouds.
  • Support & Management – Customers will have ongoing access to remote support and escalation assistance from the OpenStack specialists, including proactive monitoring and fixes.

OpenStack is picking up momentum, stay tuned for more and in the meantime, set the controls for the heart of the sun! :)

Extra-credit reading and resources:

Pau for now…


Talking to NASA CTO about OpenStack Cloud Platform

November 10, 2010

One of the featured speakers during the kick off of the OpenStack design summit yesterday was NASA CTO of IT, Chris Kemp.   OpenStack is an open source cloud platform and the compute side of the project is based on code from NASA’s Nebula cloud.

I got some time with Chris and learned about NASA’s involvement in the project:

Some of the ground Chris covers:

  • Nebula and the cloud computing platform code base
  • NASA’s huge data needs and what they do with the data
  • Serendipity: NASA’s cloud engine + Rackspace’s file system engine
  • How NASA is working with the project: a two-way street

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Dell’s hyper scale cloud efforts — Everything you wanted to know in 3 minutes

October 14, 2010

Last week a couple of us went down to San Antonio to help represent the OpenStack project at Rackspace’s partner summit.  While there I met up with the VAR Guy.   Mr. Guy got me chatting about Dell’s Data Center Solutions group, where we’ve been and where we’re going.  Below is the resulting video he put together featuring myself and San Antonio’s greenery. (See the original article this came from).

Some of topics I tackle:

  • How Dell’s Data Center Solutions Group is designing servers for high-end cloud computing
  • How Dell is integrating hardware with software in cloud servers
  • Coming soon: Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications/Leveraging Joyent‘s software
  • Dell’s cloud partner program – where Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, Aster Data and Greenplum fit in.
  • Dell’s commitment to OpenStack

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Meet OpenStack’s Community Manager

October 6, 2010

One of the key ingredients for the success of any open source project is a strong community manager.  Coming on board to fill that role for the not-quite three-month-old OpenStack project is Stephen Spector. (If you’re not familiar with OpenStack, it’s an open source cloud platform).

Stephen made his first public appearance in his new role today at the Rackspace partner summit in San Antonio.  I was able to catch Stephen first thing this morning before the summit kicked off.

Some of the ground Stephen covers:

  • His background: 14 yrs at Citrix.  He initially ran developer alliance programs.  He spent the last 3yrs running the Xen.org community.
  • Why Stephen joined OpenStack (he jumped at the chance to build a community from scratch).
  • He sees his role as that of a communication conduit
  • One of his first tasks is to find out who makes up the community e.g. developers, users, students, research, partners..
  • He’s very interested in making events like next months design summit successful as well as the importance of globalization.
  • If you have any questions at all regarding the project contact Stephen at stephen.spector@openstack.org

Extra credit reading:

Pau for now..


What’s happening — A Dell / OpenStack Update

September 15, 2010

A couple of days ago Bret Piatt, who handles Technical Alliances for OpenStack, came up to Austin to have further discussion with our team’s software engineers around OpenStack.  If you’re not familiar with OpenStack, it is an open source cloud platform founded on contributed code from Rackspace and NASA’s Nebula cloud.

The project was kicked off a couple of months ago at an inaugural design summit held here in Austin.  The summit drew over 25 companies from around the world, including Dell, to give input on the project and collectively map out the design for the project’s two main efforts, Cloud Compute and Object Storage.

Since the summit, and the project’s subsequent announcement the following week at the OSCON Cloud Summit, the community has been digging in.  The first object storage code release will be available this month and the initial compute release, dubbed the “Austin” release, is slated for October  21.  Additionally, the second OpenStack Design Summit has been set for November 9-12 in San Antonio, Texas, and is open to the public.

OpenStack visits Dell

During Bret’s visit to Dell he met with a bunch of folks including two of our software architects, Greg Althaus and Rob Hirschfeld.  The three talked about how things were going with the project since the summit as well as specific ways in which Dell can contribute to the OpenStack project.

Below you can see where I crashed the three’s whiteboard session and made them tell me what they were doing.  I then followed them, camera in hand, down to the lab where Greg and Rob showed Bret the system that we have targeted for running OpenStack.

Some of the topics (L -> R) Bret, Greg and Rob touch on:

  • Bret:  Getting ready for the object storage release in September and compute in October.  Looking to get the right hardware spec’d out so that people can start using the solution once its released.
  • Rob: Learning about how the project is coming together since the design summit.  Interested in how the 3 code lines, storage, NASA compute and Rackspace compute, along with the input that was gathered at the Design summit and community input, are coming together.
  • Greg and Rob take Brett to the lab to show him the C6100 which could be a good candidate for open stack.
  • Next step, getting OpenStack in the lab and start playing with it.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


OpenStack insights and code

August 11, 2010

I’m now at the mid-point of the videos I shot at OSCON Cloud Summit a few weeks ago.  Today’s feature is Brett Piatt from the OpenStack ecosystem development team who has been working on the project since it kicked off nine months ago.  Brett’s particular area of focus is the partners who have joined and are participating in the effort.  I got some of Brett’s time after the cloud summit ended and this is what he had to say:

Some of the topics Brett tackles:

  • Over 20 companies participating from hardware makers to software vendors who help you manage or operate OpenStack, e.g. Cloud kick and Rightscale as well as other service providers (who are actually Rackspace competitors.)
  • The Rackspace API and coupling it with feature releases.
  • The projects near term goal which is to get it in production beyond Rackspace and NASA.
  • What code is available now – OpenStack object storage (aka Swift) which powers Rackspace’s cloud files.
  • The Nova code = Rackspace cloud sw + NASA’s Nebula cloud = Cloud and VM orchestration system management package.  It’s mostly written in Python, some C & C++ as well as a dash of Erlang.  It also has built-in ipad, iphone apps, android apps and web control panel — something for the whole family!

Still to come in my OSCON video series:

  • J.P. Rangaswami, Chief Scientist at BT — Nature doesn’t require SLAs
  • Simon Phipps about his new company ForgeRock

Pau for now…


OpenStack Compute – talking to the chief architect

July 18, 2010

Rick Clark used to be the engineering manager at Canonical for Ubuntu server and security as well as lead on their virtualization for their cloud efforts.  He’s now at Rackspace and is applying much of what he learned while at Canonical to his new gig as project lead and chief architect of the just announced OpenStack Compute.

Rick talked to me about what he brought with him from Canonical as well as the details behind OpenStack Compute.

Some of the topics Rick tackles:

  • What is the OpenStack Compute project (hint its a fully open sourced IaaS project)
  • Leveraging what Rick learned from the Ubuntu community, including a regular six month cadence.
  • Rick’s goals for design summit: develop a roadmap for the first release, spec out the software and spend the last two days prototyping and hacking.
  • Why they went with the Apache 2 license and why not AGPL?
  • The Rackspace API (NASA had already started to switch from the Amazon API before combing
  • The project’s core principles: open, open, open

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Introducing OpenStack — an open source cloud platform

July 18, 2010

Today Rackspace and NASA announced OpenStack, an open source cloud platform that they are collaborating on and building a community around.  Last week the inaugural OpenStack design summit was held here in Austin with 20 companies from around the world, including Dell, participating.

During one of the breaks I grabbed sometime with Rackspace’s cloud president, Lew Moorman to learn more about the effort and get his thoughts:

Some of the topics Lew tackles:

  • What is OpenStack (an opensource set of technologies for building clouds…)
  • Why Rackspace decided to opensource their code .
  • How Rackspace got hooked up with NASA and what each brings to the party.
  • Taking Nebula’s core foundation and adding some elements from Rackspace’s side in order to put together a release candidate that should be available to the community this Fall.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


NASA’s chief cloud architect talks OpenStack

July 16, 2010

At the inaugural design summit for OpenStack, an open source set of technologies for building clouds, Nebula’s chief architect Josh McKenty played a prominent role in leading the assembled folks.  I caught Josh during a break and chatted with him about Nebula and NASA’s role in the newly announced OpenStack project.  Here’s what he had to say:

Some of the topics Josh tackles:

  • What is Nebula (hint: NASA’s, primarily IaaS, cloud computing platform)
  • The history of Nebula and how it morphed from nasa.net.
  • Why NASA wants a cloud – and the importance of having an elastic set of resources.
  • NASA and Nebula’s use of open source and how it has evolved (they don’t simply fling tarballs over the wall anymore and they can use licenses other than the “NASA open source agreement”)
  • A match made in heaven:  NASA has put together a strong compute platform and was looking to building a real object store,  Rackspace had a strong object store and work looking for a new compute platform.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Talking to the Co-Founder of Rackspace Cloud

August 25, 2009

Earlier this month at Cloud World/Open World I bumped into Jonathan Bryce one of the two founders of the cloud platform formerly known as “Mosso”  (now known as Rackspace Cloud). 

Last year when I interviewed Jonathan, I did an audio podcast.  This time around I was armed with my Flip Mino and caught it all on video for the little(r) screen.


Some of the topics Jonathan addresses:

  • When Rackspace funded employees Jonathan and Todd to go off and start their cloud venture 4 years ago, why didn’t they brand it “Rackspace?”
  • Why did they recently decide to roll Mosso back into the mothership and rebrand it?
  • The progression of in-house -> colocation -> managed hosting -> cloud.
  • The three pieces of Rackspace Cloud: Cloud Servers & Cloud Files (infrastructure as a service) and Cloud Sites (platform as a service with the option of using either the LAMP or .NET stack).
  • Which offering is getting the most traction.
  • Why their customer Fresh Books went with Cloud Files.

Pau for now…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers

%d bloggers like this: