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Monthly Archives: October 2016

16 Partners, One Live Demo – OpenStack Barcelona Interop Challenge

 

During Wednesday morning’s keynote session at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona, I will be on stage along with several other vendors to show off some of our latest work on interoperability between OpenStack clouds.  We will be demonstrating a single workload running successfully on over a dozen different vendors’ OpenStack products without modification, including VMware Integrated OpenStack 3.0.  The idea got started back in April at the last OpenStack Summit when our friends at IBM challenged vendors to demonstrate that their products were interoperable publicly.


VMware has long been a proponent of fostering interoperability between OpenStack clouds.  I currently co-chair the Interop Working Group (formerly known as the DefCore Committee), and VMware Integrated OpenStack 3.0 is an approved OpenStack-Powered product that is compliant with the 2016.08 interoperability guideline, the newest and strictest guideline approved by the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors.  We also helped produce the Interop Working Group’s first ever report on interoperability issues.  So why do we care about interoperability?  Shouldn’t everything built on OpenStack behave the same anyhow?  Well, to quote the previously mentioned report on interoperability issues:

 

“OpenStack is tremendously flexible, feature-rich, powerful software that can be used to create clouds that fit a wide variety of use cases including software development, web services and e-commerce, network functions virtualization (NFV), video processing, and content delivery to name a few. Commercial offerings built on OpenStack are available as public clouds, installable software distributions, managed private clouds, appliances, and services. OpenStack can be deployed on thousands of combinations of underpinning storage, network, and compute hardware and software. Because of the incredible amount of flexibility OpenStack offers and the constraints of the many use cases it can address, interoperability between OpenStack clouds is not always assured: due to various choices deployers make, different clouds may have some inconsistent behaviors.  One of the goals of the [Interop Working Group]’s work is to create high interoperability standards so that end users of clouds can expect certain behaviors to be consistent between different OpenStack-Powered Clouds and products.”

 

Think of it this way: another amazingly flexible, powerful thing we use daily is electricity.  Electricity is pretty much the same stuff no matter who supplies it to you or what you are using it for, but the way you consume it might be different for different use cases.  The outlet I plug my laptop into at home is a different shape and supplies a different voltage than the one my electric oven is connected into since the oven needs a lot more juice to bake my cookies than my laptop does to type up a blog post.  My home’s air conditioner does not even have a plug: it is wired directly into the house’s circuit breaker.  I consume most of my electricity as a service provided by my power company, but I can also generate some of my power with solar panels I own myself as long as their outputs can are connected to my power grid.  Moreover, to power up my laptop here in Barcelona, I brought along a plug adapter since Europe has some differences in their power grid based on their set of standards and requirements.  However, even though there are some differences, there are many commonalities: electricity is delivered over metal wiring, terminated at some wall socket, most of the world uses one of a few different voltage ranges, and you pay for it based on consumption.  OpenStack is similar: An OpenStack deployment built for NFV workloads might have some different characteristics and interfaces exposed than one made as a public compute cloud.

 

What makes the Interop Challenge interesting is that it is complimentary to the work of the Interop Working Group in that it looks at interoperability in a slightly different light.  To date, the Interop Working Group has mostly focused its efforts on API-level interoperability.  It does so by ensuring that products bearing the OpenStack-Powered mark, pass a set of community-maintained Tempest tests to prove that they expose a set of capabilities (things like booting up a VM with the Nova v2 API or getting a list of available images using the Glance v2 API).  Products bearing the OpenStack-Powered logo are also required to use designated sections of upstream code, so consumers know they are getting community-developed code driving those capabilities.  While the Interop Working Group’s guidelines look primarily at the server side of things, the Interop Challenge seems to address a slightly different aspect of interoperability: workload portability.  Rather than testing a particular set of API’s, the Interop Challenge took a client-side approach by running a real workload against different clouds—in this case, a LAMP stack application with a load-balanced web server tier and a database backend tier, all deployed via Ansible.  The idea was to take a typical application with commonly-used deployment tools and prove that it “just works” across several different OpenStack clouds.

 

In other words, the guidelines produced by the Interop Working Group assure you that certain capabilities are available to end users (just as I can be reasonably confident that any hotel room I walk into will have a socket in the wall from which I can get electricity).  The Interop Challenge compliments that by looking at a more valid use case: it verifies that I can plug in my laptop and get some work done.

 

Along the way, participants also hoped to begin defining some best practices for making workloads more portable among OpenStack clouds to account for some of the differences that are a natural side effect of OpenStack’s flexibility.  For example, we found that the LAMP stack workload was more portable if we let the user specify certain attributes of the cloud he intended to use – such as the name of network the instances should be attached to, the image and flavor that should be used to boot up instances, and block device or network interface names that would be utilized by that image.   Even though we will only be showing one particular workload on stage, that one workload serves as a starting point to help flesh out more best practices in the future.

 

If you want to learn more about VMware’s work on interoperability or about VMware Integrated OpenStack, see us at the keynote or stop by our booth at the OpenStack, and if you’re ready to deploy OpenStack today, download it now and get started, or dare your IT team to try our VMware Integrated OpenStack Hands-On-Lab, no installation required.


*This article was written by Mark Voelker – OpenStack Architect at VMware

VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) and NSX – Free webinar

On November 2nd, at 9 am PST/12 pm EST I will be hosting a free webinar, as part of our Getting More Out Of series, focused on OpenStack Integration with VMware NSX. We will also cover how easy it is to deploy VMware’s OpenStack distribution, VIO, and the Day-2 operational tools in the VMWare SDDC portfolio that make it possible for Cloud admins to properly monitor and optimize their OpenStack deployments.

As I mentioned in my 3-part blog series on Neutron-NSX integration, as more features are added to OpenStack (especially to Neutron), its architecture becomes more complex (a universal perception amongst OpenStack users). NSX mitigates these issues and provides a scalable and robust platform that incorporates Enterprise-grade network services into your OpenStack architecture.

Come and learn more about the benefits and participate in this unapologetically technical webinar, with live Q&A with our expert panel.

 

REGISTER NOW!

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Also, don’t forget to visit us at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona, where we will be talking about this and many other relevant topics.

¡Nos vemos en España!

Marcos

Tired of Waiting? Deploy OpenStack in 15 Minutes or Less

Watch this video to learn how to deploy OpenStack in Compact Management Mode in under 15 minutes


If you’re ready to try VIO, take it for a spin with the Hands on Labs that illustrates a step-by-step walkthrough of how to deploy OpenStack in Compact Management Mode in under fifteen minutes.

Deploying OpenStack challenges even the most seasoned, skilled IT organizations. With integrations, configurations, testing, re-testing, stress testing and more. For many, deploying OpenStack appears as an IT ‘Science Project’, wherein the light at the end of the tunnel dims with each passing month.

VMware Integrated OpenStack takes a different approach, reducing the redundancies and confusion of deploying OpenStack with the new Compact Management Control Pane. In the Compact Mode UI, wait minutes, not months. Enterprises seeking to evaluate OpenStack or those that are ready to build OpenStack clouds in the most cost efficient manner now have the ability to deploy in as little as 15 minutes quickly.

 

The architecture for VMware Integrated OpenStack is optimized to support compact architecture mode, reducing the need for support, overall resource costs, and the operational complexity keeping an enterprise from completing their OpenStack adoption.

The most recent update to VMware Integrated OpenStack focuses on the ease of use and the immense benefit to administrators – access and integration to the VMware ecosystem. The seamless integration of the family of VMware products allows the administrators to leverage their current VMware products to enhance their OpenStack, in combination with the ability to manage workloads through developer friendly OpenStack APIs.

The most recent update to VMware Integrated OpenStack focuses on the ease of use and the immense benefit to administrators – access and integration to the VMware ecosystem. The seamless integration of the family of VMware products allows the administrators to leverage their current VMware products to enhance their OpenStack, in combination with the ability to manage workloads through developer friendly OpenStack APIs.


If you’re ready to deploy OpenStack today, download it now and get started, or dare your IT team to try our VMware Integrated OpenStack Hands-On-Lab, no installation required.


You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in 15 minutes

Advanced Security Services with Neutron, NSX and Palo Alto Next Generation Firewall

Building on the concepts and implementation that I have been working on for the past few weeks around service chaining in Neutron, this post will now focus on how to onboard the Palo Alto Next Generation Firewall platform onto OpenStack.

Palo Alto Networks has one of the most mature and robust integrations with VMware NSX and we also share many joint customers in production. Together, we have seen tremendous success in the market, and that success can now extend to those prospects wanting to do OpenStack, while augmenting their security strategy with the added visibility and protection that Palo Alto offers.

The basic tenets for this integration between Palo Alto Networks and VMware NSX, in the context of an OpenStack deployment, remain the same:

  • The Security/Firewall Team is in complete control of the security lifecycle of the tenant apps.
  • Although not mandatory, Provider Networks are preferred in this context over Tenant Networks.
  • Tenants use the OpenStack API to consume Compute and Storage Services, while Networking and Security remain under the control of the Cloud Admins or Central IT.
  • This model is relatively common in the Enterprise, but not common in the DevOps use case where Tenants control their own network and security workflows.

If the above prerequisites are met, one can safely implement the VMware NSX + Palo Alto integration and overlay OpenStack Neutron on top, offering a complete private Cloud deployment that incorporates advanced security controls for East-West traffic. VMware NetX is the glue holding everything together.

Here is the high level workflow:

  • Integrate VMware NSX and Palo Alto Networks following best practices and recommended software versions for NSX, Panorama and the PAN VM Series. The instructions to do this can be found here.
  • Deploy VMware Integrated OpenStack 3.0 (if it hasn’t been done already) or any OpenStack distribution compatible with the Mitaka release, using VMware vSphere and VMware NSX as the underlying infrastructure components.
  • Identify the Compute clusters that will host your OpenStack workloads and deploy Palo Alto network introspection to those clusters:

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  • Ensure the Service VMs (local firewalls) are properly registered and licensed in Panorama:

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  • Create an NSX Security Group with a classification criteria that meets your needs. In this example we are using the proverbial example based on VM Name (Name Contains Web in this case):

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  • In Panorama, create a Dynamic Address Group for the OpenStack Instances, that corresponds to the NSX Security Group created in the previous step:

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  • Then, in Panorama, create the Policy you want to apply to the redirected traffic:

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  • Back on NSX, create a redirection policy, or Partner Security Rule, for the interesting traffic that will be subject to inspection (Network Introspection). In this example we are redirecting inbound HTTP/HTTPS traffic for additional security controls:

Note 1: You will also need to create DFW rules to allow the traffic that will be redirected, as these rules are applied prior to the redirection for outbound traffic (VM >> World) and are applied after redirection for inbound traffic (World >> VM). More details on how these flows move through the Hypervisor can be found on the NSX Design Guide.

Note 2: You may need to use the “ApplyTo” Field in NSX to limit the redirection policy to the specific VMs in question.

  • screenshot7Finally, you can use OpenStack Nova to boot Instances (VMs) that satisfy the membership criteria of the appropriate NSX Security Group. It is extremely important that you DO NOT attach a Neutron Security Group to these Instances. We are bypassing self-service security provisioning in OpenStack and delegating all security controls to the Firewall Team.

Note 3: If you are using Horizon (OpenStack GUI), you may need to detach the default Neutron Security Group after you launch your Instance(s).

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Note 4: Another approach, not covered in this document, has to do with the manipulation of the policy.json file for Neutron, in order to restrict Security Group changes or additions by anyone other than the Admin. In this case, launching Instances without a Neutron Security Group attachment is not required, as the Neutron Security Group that is used would only be modified by said Admin.

  • Verify your configuration and security policies.

As we can see, the above approach safely integrates value-add security and visibility services into OpenStack today, and showcases the power of NSX as a platform for Private Cloud deployments based on OpenStack.

Follow these links for the previous two articles in our 3-part blog series:

Part 1: Next Generation Security Services in OpenStack

Part 2: Advanced Security Services in OpenStack and Fortinet

VMware and Palo Alto Networks will be discussing this and many other interesting topics at VMworld Europe 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. Don’t forget to swing by the Palo Alto Networks booth in the Solutions Exchange if you need more information.

Apples To Oranges: Why vSphere & VIO are Best Bests for OpenStack Adoption

OpenStack doesn’t mandate defaults for compute, network and storage, which frees you to select the best technology. For many VMware customers, the best choice will be vSphere to provide OpenStack Nova compute capabilities.

 

It is commonly asserted that KVM is the only hypervisor to use in an OpenStack deployment. Yet every significant commercial OpenStack distro supports vSphere. The reasons for this broad support are clear.

Costs for commercial KVM are comparable to vSphere. In addition, vSphere has tremendous added benefits: widely available and knowledgeable staff, vastly simplified operations, and proven lifecycle management that can keep up with OpenStack’s rapid release cadence.

 

Let’s talk first about cost. Traditional, commercial KVM has a yearly recurring support subscription price. Red Hat OpenStack Platform-Standard 2 sockets can be found online at $11,611/year making the 3 year cost around $34,833[i]. VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus (multiplied by 2 to match Red Hat’s socket pair pricing) for 3 years, plus the $200/CPU/year VMware Integrated OpenStack SnS is $14,863[ii]. Even when a customer uses vCloud Suite Advanced, costs are on par with Red Hat. (Red Hat has often compared prices using VMware’s vCloud Suite Enterprise license to exaggerate cost differences.)

 

 

When 451 Research[iii] compared distro costs based on a “basket” of total costs in 2015 they found that commercial distros had a cost that was close to regular virtualization. And if VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) is the point of comparison, the costs would likely be even closer. The net-net is that cost turns out not to be a significant differentiator when it comes to commercial KVM compared with vSphere. This brings us to the significant technical and operational benefits vSphere brings to an OpenStack deployment.

 

In the beginning, it was assumed that OpenStack apps would build in the resiliency that used to be assumed from a vSphere environment, thus allowing vSphere to be removed. As the OpenStack project has matured, capabilities such as VMware vMotion and DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) have risen in importance to end users. Regardless of the application the stability and reliability of the underlying infrastructure matters.

 

There are two sets of reasons to adopt OpenStack on vSphere.

 

First, you can use VIO to quickly (minutes or hours instead of days or weeks) build a production-grade, operational OpenStack environment with the IT staff you already have, leveraging the battle-tested infrastructure your staff already knows and relies on. No other distro uses a rigorously tested combination of best-in-class compute (vSphere Ent+ for Nova), network (NSX for Neutron), and storage (VSAN for Cinder).

 

Second, only VMware, a long-time (since 2012), active (consistently a top 10 code contributor) OpenStack community member provides BOTH the best underlying infrastructure components AND the ongoing automation and operational tools needed to successfully manage OpenStack in production.

 

In many cases, it all adds up to vSphere being the best choice for production OpenStack.

 


[i] http://www.kernelsoftware.com/products/catalog/red_hat.html
[ii] http://store.vmware.com/store/vmware/en_US/cat/ThemeID.2485600/categoryID.66071400
[iii] https://451research.com/images/Marketing/press_releases/CPI_PR_05.01.15_FINAL.pdf


This Article was written by Cameron Sturdevant,  Product Line Manager at VMware