Tech insights and news. Best served hot.

2016

November
28

OpenStack Mitaka and More

An old IT adage says that every company has a test environment. Yet some companies are in the fortunate position of having a separate production environment as well...
All joking aside, we firmly believe that we can only ensure reliable operations in production when using a separate test environment – and our customers will surely agree with us on this point. The topics in this brief review:

Upgrade to OpenStack "Mitaka"

We have previously described our approach regarding OpenStack upgrades: We are running a separate test environment using the same hardware components as in our productive setup. There we are able to test every change until we are convinced that it can be rolled out safely into production.

A few weeks ago, another OpenStack upgrade was scheduled: "Mitaka" was going to replace "Liberty". A delicate matter, if one bears in mind that OpenStack is at the very heart of our cloud infrastructure. Thanks to comprehensive tests in advance, we were able to upgrade all of the systems smoothly and without affecting our customers' virtual servers. Only changes through our cloud control panel were not possible for a short period of time – the corresponding announcement to our customers was, of course, already part of the preparatory work.

Faster Live Migration

In addition to major upgrades, regular systems maintenance and improvements are part of our day-to-day routine. Usually, our customers do not notice a thing: we can move all virtual servers to other compute hosts on the fly thus avoiding disruptions to customer systems. We were even able to speed up this process by a factor of 5 by switching from "libvirt tunnelled migration" to "QEMU direct migration" recently. Now maintenance tasks such as kernel upgrades that require a restart of all compute hosts can be completed even faster.

OpenStack Summit in Barcelona

For us as an active member of the OpenStack community, the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona in late October 2016 was more than just a mandatory appearance. In an inspiring environment consisting of thousands of developers and users from around the world, everything revolved around OpenStack and its comprehensive ecosystem. A wide range of presentations provided insights into all possible aspects, including how to manage huge setups, maintaining OpenStack's own open-source code, and a look ahead at future improvements to Ceph. Since 2014, Ceph has been the backbone of our distributed storage cluster and is now being used more and more frequently with OpenStack.

Equally valuable, of course, was the personal exchange with new and familiar faces, whether in numerous sessions with core developers or spontaneous discussions outside the official agenda. And, as far as statistics go, our regular upgrades to new versions of OpenStack make us one of the most modern OpenStack cloud service providers in the world.

 

Our own past experience as well as the community with its combination of drive and professionalism continue to reinforce our opinion: OpenStack as the technological basis for our self-service cloud was clearly the right choice.

With this conviction we will therefore continue to contribute to further developing the OpenStack source code in the future and are already working on the next features for our own cloud.

First and foremost,
Your cloudscale.ch team

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