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Hybrid Clouds: Dancing with Virtual Machines

Today, the model of hybrid cloud comes under the eyes of a lot of organizations. The idea of combining resources of public cloud providers with private depending on the terms of execution, the need of more resources, an extra protection of the data, more or less security in services with sensitive information, etc. are some of the capabilities that this model has to answer. The case of CSUC, acting as Opennebula powered cloud provider and at the same time as user of external IaaS and PaaS services, is analyzed sharing its first experiences in the way to archive a real multicloud architecture.

hybrid_cloud

Figure 1- The Hybrid Cloud, acts as a slicing bridge.

The majority of organizations have not been born in the “cloud”, situation that produces a lot of cases where the cloud resources have to interact or to be connected to traditional systems and applications with some criticality and usually are situated in its own dependencies. This kind of architecture is the most usual, where the main keys for its success go through to be aware about things like the integration capabilities or the impact in the organization roles where could exist different interpretation of the same concept.

For a solutions designer the model has to offer flexibility, speed and capacity. In the case of the infrastructure team it’s easy to think that more “different things” have to be managed. The business development staff will ask if it will be more expensive and which is the value that the hybrid model will contribute.

From the IT infrastructure perspective, when a public cloud provider is selected/procured, a good approach to start with in the adoption of hybrid cloud model is to focus in these first three challenges.

  • Networking: to extend your network layers with capable “dedicated” circuits provision with bandwidth control outside and inside public cloud provider(s).
  • Management: to consolidate a truly global infrastructure management platform through a cloud orchestrator and its cloud bursting capabilities.
  • Security: to extend to public cloud provider current security layers (platforms, tools, policies,…) under the current organizations umbrella.

Definitely, the model or architecture to implement will be different depending on each case where the applications/services have a lot to say and have to be listened. The pure reality is that nowadays almost all the organizations work in two different speeds and this is something that the technology departments have to work with. Some very changing environments like web and mobile applications and other more robust systems associated to critical processes with high levels of stability and security. A real cloud hybrid model should support the combination of this two speed ecosystems maintaining its specific dependences and needs.

The CSUC use case: driving to a hybrid cloud architecture

CSUC, in these last two years has worked in these challenges with some actions that are transforming roles, the management models at ICT infrastructure level, the way of services provision, etc.

The first action was to start a procurement process to provision the first IaaS provider with the idea of infrastructure and services optimization in a new model of payment by use. In parallel as RREN, the adoption of a orchestrator role with its own cloud management platform (Opennebula based) to manage distributed resources in a real multicloud environment. The network design, the unified management and security conditioned the strategy.

Regarding the new external cloud provider and after an a intense procurement process, the company Nexica  resulted adjudicator for four years of the provision of IaaS services for Catalan Universities and CSUC.

Nowadays, the catalan institutions who are using this shared service are:

What work has already been done:

  • First IaaS provider procurement process.
  • Service catalog, service-level agreements and governance.
    Architecture redefinition.
  • RREN extended to the provider: Layers 2&3.
  • A new Opennebula cloud bursting driver was developed (VCLOUD compliance)
  • Integration of CSUC opencloud orchestrator.
  • Deployment of first production services.

If you are interested to see more details, please contact with us.  This initiative will be presented in the next TNC17 , the annual Géant congress, at Linz – Austria [31/5/2017] (see the full paper here).

Cloud Interoperability and Portability with OpenNebula

OpenNebula 2.0 emphasizes interoperability and portability, providing cloud users and administrators with choice across most popular cloud interfaces, hypervisors and public clouds for hybrid cloud computing deployments, and with a flexible software that can be installed in any hardware and software combination. The functionality provided by the new version of OpenNebula and the components in its quickly growing ecosystem enable:

Because two data centers are not the same, building a cloud computing infrastructure requires the integration and orchestration of the underlying existing IT systems, services and processes. OpenNebula enables interoperability and portability, recognizing that our users have data-centers composed of different hardware and software components for security, virtualization, storage, and networking. Its open, architecture, interfaces and components provide the flexibility and extensibility that many enterprise IT shops need for internal cloud adoption. You only have to chose the right design and configuration in your Cloud architecture depending on your existing IT architecture and the execution requirements of your service workload.

Ignacio M. Llorente

OpenNebula Implements vCloud Express API

OpenNebula has contributed to its ecosystem a new Cloud Service to access OpenNebula clouds through the vCloud Express API.  The OpenNebula vCloud Service is a web service that enables you to launch and manage virtual machines in your OpenNebula installation through the vCloud Express API. The vCloud web service is implemented upon the new OpenNebula Cloud API (OCA) layer that exposes the full capabilities of an OpenNebula private cloud; and Sinatra, a widely used light web framework. The vCloud Express API in which this implementation is based, is the one specified by Terremark. This API consists of a subset of standard vCloud API calls that have been customized for a Terremark installation as well as Terremark-specific API calls. The new vCloud service has been tested to work with the vCloud drivers of libcloud and Red Hat deltacloud.

With this new cloud service, OpenNebula implements most common Cloud interfaces: Amazon EC2 Query, OGF OCCI and VMware vCloud. Besides theses interfaces, OpenNebula also brings libvirt and a powerful CLI, and all of them can be used on the same OpenNebula instance, so users can use their favorite interface. Moreover all those interfaces can be used on any of the virtualization technologies supported, Xen, KVM and VMware. These unique features confirm OpenNebula as the leading open-source technology for cloud computing, and demonstrate its adaptability and extensibility capabilities that many enterprise IT shops need for internal cloud adoption.

Ignacio M. Llorente