Taking the FUD out of private cloud and OpenStack

Even though it’s been around since 2000, with technology like OpenStack, there’s a lot of hype (and fear, uncertainty, and doubt–or FUD) to weed through. Is OpenStack being used in production? Is public cloud the new cloud?

Margaret Dawson, head of global product marketing at Red Hat, started her Building a private cloud with OpenStack Summit session saying she would arm us with “ways to combat the hype in the marketing, ways to justify why you want to use OpenStack, and real-world examples of OpenStack deployments.”

What is OpenStack?

A modular, open-source software platform for cloud computing with components that manage resources or compute, networking, and storage. In IT parlance, it’s private cloud, or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Why should you care?

  • Private cloud computing is the #1 major IT initiative planned for completion in 2016 by Red Hat customers
  • OpenStack is the leading private cloud technology (40% of Red Hat customers polled plan on launching OpenStack POC or production deployment)

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Open source hardware sparks innovation

Nathan Seidle, founder and CEO of SparkFun Electronics, believes open source is not only good for humanity, but also good for business. SparkFun is a successful online retailer that sells the parts people need to build electronics projects.

He started his talk by describing some of the “crazy” (his word, not mine) things some of his customers have made with SparkFun products:

  • One customer used SparkFun cell phone modules and solar cells to track falcon migration across North America.
  • Another put a SparkFun sensor under a trampoline and connected it to the valve (and flame) on a propane tank. The idea was, the harder you jump, the bigger the flame.
  • And my favorite: A customer used a SparkFun motion sensor, a microcontroller, and a blender to create the “blender defender.” The purpose? To keep cats off kitchen counters.

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Red Hat Container Technology Strategy

“Control and choice”

containers_r

In the late 20th century, the datacenter underwent a succession from proprietary mainframes to UNIX to Linux®. This was largely a result of software innovation presenting robust, cheaper alternatives to the previous extremes of vertical integration. As new freedoms arose, the centralized control once held by IT administrators was fragmented, and developers began assuming some of the responsibilities. With diversified ownership and the ability to combine and tailor software, innovation became a major factor in creating new markets and technologies. Things became more flexible.

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Push it real good: Continuous delivery at the push of a button

Andrew Rubinger, an architect within Red Hat’s developer programs group, showed us how to revolutionize your deployments. Sounds like a long, complicated talk–surely something like this takes forever to set up. Actually, this was the shortest talk I’ve ever experienced at a Red Hat Summit. 

That’s not a bad thing. It speaks volumes to the shift that we’re seeing in IT. The tools are there. They have the power and can do what we want and need. The change is in how people interact with those tools.

Good news: It’s finally getting easy.

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Lessons learned on the DevOps front: A Red Hat tale

I love a good story. I love it even more when the story is true. Today’s session with two fellow Red Hatters, Katrinka McCallum, VP of product and technology operations, and Jay Ferrandini, senior director of worldwide DevOps, gave me both. And it makes me even more excited that their session was about Red Hat eating its own dogfood or, if you prefer, drinking its own champagne.

“We might not be delivering what our customers want…”

Red Hat engineering had a problem when it came to dealing with Red Hat operations. This was referred to as the “banana and pickle problem.” Engineering/QE would come to operations asking for something–a solution that they desperately needed. Let’s call the requested solution the banana. They came to the team and asked for a banana. Ops went away into a black box development cycle and delivered…a pickle. Not exactly the same thing. Similar in some ways, but not what was requested.

This is an issue that many teams face. They’re segmented in such a way that there’s no collaboration or communication across the teams, at least not in a meaningful way.

Maybe DevOps can save the day?

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The future of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

What customers wanted: 2002

Gunnar Hellekson’s been with Red Hat long enough to remember what customers wanted in the early days, when they were still buying boxed software off the shelf of the local big box electronics store. What did they expect from the upstart software company back then? In Hellekson’s parlance, Red Hat’s business was “lighting up hardware and making software run.” Customers at that time primarily wanted:

  • Quality support
  • A vast* ecosystem
  • Peerless security response team
  • Options for life cycles (2 years, 10 years, etc.)
rhel-dependency-firefox-example
Firefox only has around 500 packages, and their dependency graph looks like this. Can you imagine what 10K might look like?

What’s happened since then?

The creation of separate streams for Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and Fedora was a beneficial change that gave both room to grow. They continued to add value over time by, as Hellekson noted, “stuffing more things in the bag.” However, after a decade of adding value, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 has nearly 6,000 packages—plus all of their associated dependencies and complexity. According to Hellekson, if you were to package up everything in the upstream of RHEL today, there would be around 10,000 packages.

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The Red Hat security roadmap

Josh Bressers, security strategist for Red Hat, laid down the law for the current state and future of security at Red Hat in today’s roadmap session. When talking roadmaps, nothing is definite–Josh stressed that on several occasions and offered some guidance on when we might see some of these advancements. Still, nothing is certain until it’s certain.

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Photo by Marc Falardeau

Foundation > Platform > Technologies > Usage

Security is big. Really big. Especially within the past year, we’ve seen lots of security issues and vulnerabilities exposed, freaked out over, and resolved. It’s on everyone’s mind and the answer to all of this isn’t a silver bullet. Security is not a single solution, but everything in your infrastructure working together–along with your users. If you don’t use it securely, it doesn’t matter how secure it is at the bottom.

 

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