Monday, March 4, 2013

Santa Barbara Cloud Meetup

Few years back I heard Santa Barbara referred as Silicon Beach. The first Cloud Meetup confirmed the rumor. The kick-off meetup, was co-organized between AppScale and Eucalyptus,  and it was held at AppScale HQ. We got a recording of the meetup (a better quality one should be on the way), at least of the presentation parts: sorry no food or drinks in it. The first meeting was meant as a very quick introduction to both Eucalyptus and AppScale and where they respectively fit into the Cloud Computing landscape (hint one is IaaS while the other is PaaS). In the spirit of any good developer meetup, some hacking was involved. After the presentation, laptops were fired up, demos were given, and more in-depth questions were asked.

AppScale on Eucalyptus

My share of the hacking was done ahead of time. At Eucalyptus we maintain a CommunityCloud (ECC). The idea behind the ECC is to allow our community access to the latest Eucalyptus without having to install it. It has been extensively used by library or tool developers, by University classes, by current Euca-user before upgrading their own cloud, and by just anyone interested in playing with a running cloud. I do use it sometimes to share big files (spins up an instances and scp big files there), or to experiment with new images, or software. The draconian SLA (instances, volumes, and buckets will be terminated or deleted at regular intervals) is not an issue for my use cases, so I found it a lot more convenient then having to poke at  my home firewall.

The ECC seems the perfect place to have an AppScale image for everyone to try, so ahead of the meetup we set to add a newer AppScale image. After some initial setbacks due to iptables not willing to co-operate, we had the image uploaded and ready to go (emi-76294490) with the latest appscale (1.7 at the time of this writing). Chris has a step by step write up: just follow it and you will get it up and running in no time.

Of course you are not limited to run AppScale on the ECC. If you want to run it on your Eucalyptus cloud, Shaon has a blog for you explaining how to set it up.

Heads up: enabling DNS 

Eucalyptus can be configured to provide DNS resolution for instances IP addresses and bucket names. Incidentally ECC is configured in such a way, so that describe instances will return hostnames instead of IP address, for example instead of Although this is a very useful feature, currently there are 2 bugs against it, EUCA-1433 and EUCA-1456, which may create some difficulties. In particular AppScale relies on the AWS split-horizon behavior observed within the instances. 

The workaround here could be to either create a split-horizon DNS server for your cloud, or to ensure that the instances will associate the private IP to their public name.

Ready for the next meetup?

We just finished our first meetup, but we are already planning for the next one! Topics are still up for grab, so make sure you join the group and propose your favorite one.