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What’s the 411 on OpenStack based Summit Collaboration in Vancouver?

Last week, I was prepping for the 11th OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, when I suddenly had a question pop up. How on earth would I, much less over a hundred of us, from Cisco communicate at an international destination in an easy and organized way?

Some group ideas were:

  • Temporary international data plans for $30
  • For the thrifty, call forwarding via Wi-Fi to messaging clients such as Cisco Jabber
  • Email


Even just organizing using one of these methods would be fragmented and painful. Ironically, an OpenStack based solution called Cisco Spark  comes into play here much more nicely. It allows to more easily organize and communicate with each other at events like the OpenStack Summit.

Cisco Spark: Built and Hosted on OpenStack

Did you know that WebEx is the 3rd largest cloud SaaS solution in the world? Or that it has been operating on OpenStack for over three years? Additionally, the new Cisco Spark solution for team collaboration was developed on and is hosted on an OpenStack cloud to our customers.  As someone who hates the inefficiency of email bombardment, this sleek new collaboration solution is ideal for teams to organize around projects.

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OSPod #31: Anne Gentle

I know I often say nice things about the guests on this podcast–because they routinely blow me away with their technical acumen and genuine enthusiasm–but really, there aren’t enough nice words in the dictionary to adequately express my fondness for Anne Gentle. She’s been an exceptional contributor to OpenStack as the project team lead for documentation, plus she serves as the OpenStack Documentation Technical Lead at Rackspace. And she’s a mom. And she spends her spare moments helping both women and school-age children find a passion for technology and a pathway to a career in the industry.


Can you see why I like her?

In last week’s podcast we talked to Anne about a wide variety of OpenStack- and open source-related subjects, including:

  • How quilting got her into technology
  • How she gets elementary school kids (and their teachers) excited about network topology design
  • Why she loves doing OpenStack documentation
  • How a “book sprint” works
  • Which audiences she’d like the foundation to write guides for next
  • Why her team is transitioning from Docbooks to RST
  • What the Night Scout Foundation is doing to help kids manage diabetes

You can follow Anne on Twitter at @annegentle and find her OpenStack sessions here.

Jeff and I are headed to Vancouver! Check out Jeff’s sessionsmy sessions, and follow @openstackpod to catch the Summit Minicasts of OSPod.

See past episodes, subscribe, or view the upcoming schedule on the OSPod website.

For a full transcript of this podcast, click “Read more,” below

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OpenStack and Containers

Containers just might be the hottest technology in the business and quickly becoming a focal point within the OpenStack community and several members of the OpenStack team here at Cisco have been very involved. Daneyon Hansen and Steven Dake have helped me give a quick look at how Containers and OpenStack are coming together.

Two container-focused OpenStack projects, Magnum and Kolla, have evolved significantly through the Kilo development cycle. Kolla formed shortly before the Kilo Design Summit, while Magnum was created shortly afterward. Both projects use Docker for containers, but leverage the technology for different purposes. Magnum is a Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) system, allowing users to build and run container-based applications in OpenStack clouds, while Kolla’s mission is to simplify the OpenStack operational experience.

Kolla improves OpenStack operations by containerizing OpenStack into micro services and providing additional tooling to simplify management. Containerizing OpenStack services improves operations such as providing deployment consistency, simplified upgrades, portability, scaling, etc.. These capabilities are achieved by encompassing the entire application runtime for each OpenStack service into a lightweight, portable unit. Each micro service becomes an atomic unit of management such as deployment, upgrading, scaling, etc. Kolla was developed as an integration project, allowing other tools such as TripleO, Heat, Ansible, etc.. to manage OpenStack at scale using Docker containers.

Magnum is an API service developed for OpenStack to make container management tools such as Docker, Kubernetes, etc. available as first class resources in OpenStack. Magnum uses Heat to orchestrate an operating system image that includes the container management tools and runs the image in a Nova instance cluster. Magnum is meant to launch a minimalistic host operating system such as Fedora Atomic, CoreOS, or Ubuntu Snappy. The operating system includes enough tools to launch Docker, Kubernetes, etc.. Once the operating system is launched, Magnum configures the  clusters to run a Container Orchestration Environment for multi-tenancy.

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OSPod #30: Edgar Magana of Workday

If there was an award for “The Nicest Guy in OpenStack” my vote would be coin toss between Edgar Magana from Workday and Tim Bell of CERN. Actually, Sean Lynch, Metacloud Co-founder is right up there, too, but since he’s technically my boss’s boss, he’s inelgible for my vote. But I digress….

Edgar’s story begins with his “low income” upbringing in Mexico, to an interest in computers, a PhD in Computer Science in Barcelona, and a great career as an authority on OpenStack at Workday. The most difficult part of Edgar’s journey? Learning English!

This episode was certainly one of the most pragmatic shows we’ve done. I expected to hear a bunch of enthusiam about OpenStack Neutron, but that wasn’t compeletely the case. Edgar, formerly of Cisco, shared his opinion on the readiness of Neutron for large-scale production workloads and where OpenvSwitch falls short (40-50 nodes, in case you’re wondering.) Edgar believes that from the operator perspective, Neutron still has shortcomings and more must be done to simplify networking for developers and operators.

Edgar was also kind enough to share information about how he and others have transformed the team at Workday to take advantage of the agility that cloud provides. Through training, labs, and bringing departments together, Edgar is biulding a private cloud suitable for scaling and deplying Workday’s data-sensistive applications. We closed out with Edgar’s willingness to build diverse teams—something Edgar is passionate about since he has one daughter and another on the way. (Congrats!)

If you follow Neutron, SDN, or networking in general, don’t pass this podcast up!

You can follow Edgar on Twitter at @emaganap and find his OpenStack sessions (including a use case session) here.

Jeff and I are headed to Vancouver! Check out Jeff’s sessions, my sessions, and follow @openstackpod to catch the Summit Minicasts of OSPod.

See past episodes, subscribe, or view the upcoming schedule on the OSPod website.

For a full transcript of this podcast, click “Read more,” below

Read More »

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A Kilo of Cisco Contributions

“Voices of Cisco” is a short-term blog series that will feature insight from Cisco OpenStack experts in the lead-up to the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. The intent is to shine light on our involvement in the project, explain some of the newest features that are coming out, and explain how our own products are engineered to take advantage of all that this powerful platform has to offer. The first post in the series comes courtesy of Patrick Amor, Director of Engineering, OpenStack:

Voices of OpenStack

OpenStack has gathered considerable momentum and I’m looking forward to the community release of Kilo and the upcoming Summit in Vancouver. Here at Cisco, we have been busy this month putting the final touches on our contributions across the various OpenStack projects in which we are actively involved. As one might expect from a company known for networking, Cisco has completed several blueprints in the Neutron project as well as in other projects such as Horizon, Ceilometer, Barbican, Magnum, and Kolla. We are committed to helping OpenStack mature and succeed so that our customers can succeed. In my engineering team this has always been our focus and this is now reflected in our corporate theme for the Summit. “Committed to OpenStack. Committed to You.”

OpenStack is often perceived as an ever expanding universe, with new projects, new services, and new features being added everywhere and frequently. That’s a fine thing as long as the center of the universe remains stable. That center, or core, roughly defined as compute, storage, and networking, need to be strong, stable, and robust or else that universe will start to contract.

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