Happiness is a Hong Kong SIM

In 1996 Regurgitator released a song called “Kong Foo Sing“. It starts with the line “Happiness is a Kong Foo Sing”, in reference to a particular brand of fortune cookie. But one night last week at the OpenStack Summit, I couldn’t help but think it would be better stated as “Happiness is a Hong Kong SIM”, because I’ve apparently become thoroughly addicted to my data connection.

I was there with five other SUSE engineers who work on SUSE Cloud (our OpenStack offering); Ralf Haferkamp, Michal Jura, Dirk Müller, Vincent Untz and Bernhard Wiedemann. We also had SUSE crew manning a booth which had one of those skill tester machines filled with plush Geekos. I didn’t manage to get one. Apparently my manual dexterity is less well developed than my hacking skills, because I did make ATC thanks to a handful of openSUSE-related commits to TripleO (apologies for the shameless self-aggrandizement, but this is my blog after all).

Given this was my first design summit, I thought it most sensible to first attend “Design Summit 101“, to get a handle on the format. The summit as a whole is split into general sessions and design summit sessions, the former for everyone, the latter intended for developers to map out what needs to happen for the next release. There’s also vendor booths in the main hall.

Roughly speaking, design sessions get a bunch of people together with a moderator/leader and an etherpad up on a projector, which anyone can edit. Then whatever the topic is, is hashed out over the next forty-odd minutes. It’s actually a really good format. The sessions I was in, anyone who wanted to speak or had something to offer, was heard. Everyone was courteous, and very welcoming of input, and of newcomers. Actually, as I remarked on the last day towards the end of Joshua McKenty’sCulture, Code, Community and Conway” talk, everyone is terrifyingly happy. And this is not normal, but it’s a good thing.

As I’ve been doing high availability and storage for the past several years, and have also spent time on SUSE porting and scalability work on Crowbar, I split my time largely between HA, storage and deployment sessions.

On the deployment front, I went to:

On High Availability:

On Storage:

  • Encrypted Block Storage: Technical Walkthrough. This looks pretty neat. Crypto is done on the compute host via dm-crypt, so everything is encrypted in the volume store and even over the wire going to and from the compute host. Still needs work (naturally), notably it currently uses a single static key. Later, it will use Barbican.
  • Swift Drive Workloads and Kinetic Open Storage. Sadly I had to skip out of this one early, but Seagate now have an interesting product which is a disk (and some enclosures) which present disks as key/value stores over ethernet, rather than as block devices. The idea here is you remove a whole lot of layers of the storage stack to try to get better performance.
  • Real World Usage of GlusterFS + OpenStack. Interesting history of the project, what the pieces are, and how they now provide an “all-in-one” storage solution for OpenStack.
  • Ceph: The De Facto Storage Backend for OpenStack. It was inevitable that this would go back-to-back with a GlusterFS presentation. All storage components (Glance, Cinder, object store) unified. Interestingly the
    libvirt_image_type=rbd option lets you directly boot all VMs from Ceph (at least if you’re using KVM). Is it the perfect stack? “Almost” (glance images are still copied around more than they should be, but there’s a patch for this floating around somewhere, also some snapshot integration work is still necessary).
  • Sheepdog: Yet Another All-In-One Storage for Openstack. So everyone is doing all-in-one storage for OpenStack now ;-) I haven’t spent any time with Sheepdog in the past, so this was interesting. It apparently tries to have minimal assumptions about the underlying kernel and filesystem, yet supports thousands of nodes, is purportedly fast and small (<50MB memory footprint) and consists of only 35K lines of C code.
  • Ceph OpenStack Integration Unconference (gathering ideas to improve Ceph integration in OpenStack).

Around all this of course were many interesting discussions, meals and drinks with all sorts of people; my immediate colleagues, my some-time partners in crime, various long-time conference buddies and an assortment of delightful (and occasionally crazy) new acquaintances. If you’ve made it this far and haven’t been to an OpenStack summit yet, try to get to Atlanta in six months or Paris in a year. I don’t know yet whether or not I’ll be there, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll still have a good time.

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