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Tag Archives: Cinder

VMware Integrated OpenStack Video Series: Working with Block Storage

The OpenStack block storage service (Cinder) allows users to attach volumes to their instances. VMware Integrated OpenStack simplifies storage management tasks so that users can be productive much quicker.

One way that we simplify management is by allocating storage to Nova compute clusters using VMware vSphere data stores. The VMware vCenter VMDK driver can utilize Virtual SAN (VSAN), VMware File System (VMFS), and Network File System (NFS) data stores. This significantly reduces the amount of information that the OpenStack administrator needs to specify in the nova, cinder, and glance configuration files. The administrator simply specifies the VMDK driver and the data store names.

VMware Integrated OpenStack provides a further simplification to storage management: wizard-driven storage allocation within the VMware vSphere Web Client! See Figure 1 for an example.

Wizard-driven process for assigning storage to compute clusters.

Figure 1: OpenStack Storage Allocation

This allows administrators to automate the necessary changes to the OpenStack configuration files mentioned earlier and removes potential sources of error in the deployment.

Finally, VIO fully supports Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM). See Figure 2 for a brief overview.


VMware SPBM OpenStack Integration

Figure 2: VMware SPBM OpenStack Integration

Storage policies are applied normally to VMware vSphere data stores by administrators. Then, administrators create custom volume types in OpenStack that correspond to the vSphere storage policies. When OpenStack users create their cinder volumes, they specify an extra specification with the desired volume type, and VMware vSphere will create the volume on the appropriate data store according to the policy.

The following video provides a detailed walkthrough of using the OpenStack block storage service.


Stay tuned for the next installment covering the OpenStack Image service! In the meantime, you can learn more on the VMware Product Walkthrough site and on the VMware Integrated OpenStack product page.

VMware Integrated OpenStack Video Series: Working with Instances

In our last installment, we discussed the simplicity of the VMware Integrated OpenStack deployment process. Today, we will discuss how VMware Integrated OpenStack users can provision virtual machines. First, we need to get familiar with some OpenStack terminology:

  • Instance – a running virtual machine in your environment. The OpenStack Nova service provides users with the ability to manage hypervisors and deploy virtual machines.
  • Image – similar in concept to a VM template. The OpenStack Glance service maintains a collection of images from which users will deploy their instances.
  • Volume – this is an additional virtual disk (VMDK) that is attached to a running instance. Volumes can be added to instances ad hoc via the OpenStack Cinder service.
  • Flavor – allocation of resources (i.e. number of vCPUs, storage, RAM).
  • Security Group – rules governing network access to your deployed instance (ex: this instance may be accessed via TCP port 22 from a certain IP range).
  • Network – the VMware vSphere port group that your instance will be attached to. Your port groups are automatically created by the OpenStack Neutron service.

OpenStack emphasizes the capability for users to manage their infrastructure programmatically through REST APIs, and this is exhibited in the multiple ways that a user can deploy an instance. The Horizon GUI provides the capability to launch instances with a point-and-click interface. The Nova CLI provides users with simple commands to deploy your instances, and these commands can be combined in shell scripts.

For users who want even more control and flexibility over instance deployment, the REST APIs can be leveraged. The important thing to note is that regardless of the interface the user selects, the REST API is utilized behind the scenes. For example, if I use the nova boot CLI command, it translates my simple inputs into an HTTP request that the Nova service will understand.

If you would like to see the API code being generated by your CLI commands, you can use the “–debug” option with CLI tools (ex: nova –debug boot…). An example HTTP Request generated by the nova boot CLI command is included below:

curl -g -i -X POST https://vio-dashboard.eng.vmware.com:8774/v2/b228bcefad9f487fb6ae4821bfb90130/servers
-H "User-Agent: python-novaclient"
-H "Content-Type: application/json"
-H "Accept: application/json"
-H "X-Auth-Token: {SHA1}c1ef2534845b985dc4c52b803e357c08daea265b"
-d '{
"server": {
"name": "apitest",
"imageRef": "0723d0ac-9a08-49f5-9160-97efe05aa6ca",
"flavorRef": "2",
"max_count": 1,
"min_count": 1,
"networks": [{"uuid": "a722cb2b-f041-40b1-ad6a-74a27d30539a"}],
"security_groups": [{"name": "default"}]

My instance name (“apitest”) may seem too generic, and it’s possible that another user may use the same name. Not to worry, instance names do not need to be unique: OpenStack identifies all resources, including instances, by unique identifiers. In the sample code above, my source image, flavor, and network are all identified by their unique identifiers. Well, what about vCenter?  In vCenter, my virtual machine’s name includes its OpenStack identifier:


VMware Integrated Openstack instance uuid in vCenter

How vCenter Displays an OpenStack Instance

As we saw in the code above, the user specifies the source image, flavor, network, and security group during instance deployment. In the background, the user’s credentials and the interactions between the various OpenStack components are authenticated by the OpenStack Identity service (Keystone). The following graphic provides an illustration of these interactions:


VMware Integrated OpenStack Component Interaction

OpenStack Component Interaction

Check out the following video to see instance deployment in action with the Horizon GUI and the Nova CLI, :


Stay tuned for next week’s blog post when we discuss working with OpenStack networks! In the meantime, you can learn more on the VMware Product Walkthrough site and on the VMware Integrated OpenStack product page.