Monthly Archives: May 2012

Conan the Ops Guy

Conan the Problem ManagerLately I have been thinking of incident analysis and Problem Management (in the ITIL sense), and when I do that I always hark back to the immortal words of Conan The Ops Guy, who spoke thusly on what was best in life:

To crush your incidents, to have their root causes identified, and to see the prevention of their recurrence.

That is good Conan! That is good.


LSPE Presentation on Openstack

On April 19th, I gave a brief presentation at the San Francisco Large Scale Production Engineering (LSPE) meetup group.  The night’s topic was “Private Clouds.” I talked about an Openstack-based private cloud deployment that we at Cloudscaling have done for a large enterprise. Despite all the buzz around and interest in Openstack, there’s a relatively small amount of real production deployments that have happened so far, so I wanted to reassure people that yes, petunia, you can deploy a real production cloud using Openstack. The deck (available on slideshare and at the bottom of this post) stands pretty well on its own – I covered the high points of planning, building, and running an Openstack-based cloud. I also gave some specifics about what tools and techniques Cloudscaling is using in our builds. I hope this will be informative and also generate some discussion and feedback so we can improve what we’re doing for the next time!

The most interesting thing in here IMO is organizational, not technological. Cloud is a different kind of IT, and it requires different skillsets and mindsets in an IT group. Because of that, I recommend building a new Ops group to run your cloud. However in any good-size deployment you’re likely to be integrating with an existing IT Ops team at some point or another – and probably right before you launch! In order for this to work, you need to build bridges to that team from day one. Nothing can derail a new cloud like resistance (active or passive) from an entrenched Ops team – so make sure they’re on your side from the start!

At the beginning of my presentation I asked for a show of hands for who had heard of Openstack (it was about 50%) and then who knew what the difference was between Nova and Swift (which is a good marker for people who are familiar with Openstack vs having just heard about it). Only 2-3 people (out of 50+) raised their hands! I was pretty surprised by this – my day-to-day circles are pretty much packed with cloudy folks and it was a good reminder that there’s still tons of people out there who don’t know much about Openstack and are curious to learn more. Keep spreading the word!

As with any 20 minute presentation, there is tons more to say – if you have questions about what’s in here or would like more information on anything, please let me know in the comments!

All in all it was a great evening (including some free Racer 5 beers)! Big thanks to Chris Westin for letting me speak, to Yahoo for hosting, and to the entire LSPE group for being so attentive and welcoming. I definitely hope to spend more time at the LSPE meetups in the future.