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On Docker and Kubernetes on CloudStack

Posted by on in Cloud Strategy

Docker has pushed containers to a new level, making it extremely easy to package and deploy applications within containers. Containers are not new, with Solaris containers and OpenVZ among several containers technologies going back 2005. But Docker has caught on quickly as mentioned by @adrianco. The startup speed is not surprising for containers, the portability is reminiscent of the Java goal to "write once run anywhere". What is truly interesting with Docker is that availability of Docker registries (e.g Docker Hub) to share containers and the potential to change the application deployment workflows.

Rightly so, we should soon see IT move to a docker based application deployment, where developers package their applications and make them available to Ops. Very much like we have been using war files. Embracing a DevOps mindset/culture should be easier with Docker. Where it becomes truly interesting is when we start thinking about an infrastructure whose sole purpose is to run containers. We can envision a bare operating system with a single goal to manage docker based services. This should make sys admin life easier.

The role of the Cloud with Docker

While the buzz around Docker has been truly amazing and a community has grown over night, some may think that this signals the end of the cloud. I think it is far from the truth as Docker may indeed become the killer app of the cloud.

A IaaS layer is what is: an infrastructure orchestration layer, while Docker and its ecosystem will become the application orchestration layer.

The question then becomes: How do I run Docker in the cloud ? And there is a straightforward answer: Just install Docker in your cloud templates. Whether on AWS or GCE or Azure or your private cloud, you can prepare linux based templates that provide Docker support. If you are aiming for the bare operating system whose sole purpose is to run Docker then the new CoreOS linux distribution might be your best pick. CoreOS provides rolling upgrades of the kernel, systemd based services, a distributed key value store (i.e etcd) and a distributed service scheduling system (i.e fleet)

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Gstack, a GCE compatible interface to CloudStack

Google Compute Engine (GCE) is the Google public cloud. In december 2013, Google announced the General Availability (GA) of GCE. With AWS and Microsoft Azure, it is one of the three leading public clouds in the market. Apache CloudStack now has a brand new GCE compatible interface (Gstack) that lets users use the GCE clients (i.e gcloud and gcutil) to access their CloudStack cloud. This has been made possible through the Google Summer of Code program.

Last summer Ian Duffy, a student from Dublin City University participated in GSoC through the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and worked on a LDAP plugin to CloudStack. He did such a great job that he finished early and was made an Apache CloudStack committer. Since he was done with his original GSoC project I encouraged him to take on a new one :), he brought in a friend for the ride: Darren Brogan. Both of them worked for fun on the GCE interface to CloudStack and learned Python doing so.

They remained engaged with the CloudStack community and has a third year project worked on an Amazon EC2 interface to CloudStack using what they learned from the GCE interface. They got an A :). Since they loved it so much, Darren applied to the GSoC program and proposed to go back to Gstack, improve it, extend the unittests and make it compatible with the GCE v1 API.

Technically, Gstack is a Python Flask application that provides a REST API compatible with the GCE API and forwards the requests to the corresponding CloudStack API. The source is available on GitHub and the binary is downloadable via PyPi. Let's show you how to use it.

Installation and Configuration of Gstack

You can grab the Gstack binary package from Pypi using pip in one single command.

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Tb2ap3_thumbnail_xenproject.pnghis week the Linux Foundation announced that Xen was becoming a Linux Collaboration project, Xen Project. In the announcement Amazon Web Services, AMD, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon all pledged their support both monetarily and through continued contribution to the development of Xen Project.

Why is this Good For Xen?

Xen Community manager, Lars Kurth, lists a number of reasons why this move is a good for the Xen community on the Xen blog. 

  • An increase in Diversity 
  • Bringing Users and Developers Together
  • More Collaboration

That's interesting with over 10 million users worldwide and over 60% of the code base coming from outside the walls of Citrix (the former sponsor of the Xen.org project) there was already a fair amount of diversity, users, developers and collaboration so things can only get better. 

What the Industry is Saying

The industry is abuzz talking about this move and it's been overwhelmingly positive. First off I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more elite group of users and software developers collectively behind a single virtualization solution. Secondly, the technology has over ten years of software history one of the most mature technologies in it's field. Finally, the software has the support and committment of some of the world's biggest virtualization "power users". 

For example, Verizon also added a very publics statement about their use of Xen and Apache CloudStack on their blog, Chris Drumgoole, Senior Vice President, Global Operations for Verizon Terramark wrote:

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Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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