In a recent online meetup "Overcoming the Challenges of Microservices with PaaS on OpenStack," John Wetherill from ActiveState, along with Frank Rego, Pete Chadwick and Cameron Seader from SUSE, showed how SUSE and Stackato, together, can help users obtain a quicker time to value for an OpenStack-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) deployment. Using the SUSE distribution of OpenStack combined with Stackato distribution of Cloud Foundry, companies can stand up a simple cloud and start deploying an app in an hour.
Below is a partial transcript and recording of the meetup.
Overcoming the Operational Complexity of Microservices
John Wetherill: The focus of this meetup is on the underlying development. There are a lot of challenges that microservices developers and adopters are facing today: the lack of mature tools; the lack of developers and people experienced with it; and the requirement to adopt a DevOps mindset and culture.
But one of the big one challenges is just the increased operational complexity and overhead of building out microservices and there is a lot of extra complexities. The demonstration illustrated how the operational complexity, challenges and barriers are alleviated significantly when using the SUSE and Stackato platforms
An Overview of SUSE
Frank Rego: The OpenStack ecosystem is fairly large and SUSE does the infrastructure piece of it. SUSE has been in the Linux business for 22 or 23 years. In the past few years, of course, we've had a lot of our customers now exploring moving to the Cloud. Either to a private cloud solution, a public cloud solution or some hybrid solution in between. Over the last several years we've introduced our OpenStack distribution, SUSE OpenStack Cloud. We're seeing also a lot of traction for people who want to move workloads to the public cloud and they're using the private cloud either for dev tests or even now starting production workloads in the private cloud in OpenStack.
Pete Chadwick: One of the things we're starting to see is increasing interest from customers to use OpenStack as the basis for their Platform-as-a-Service. This discussion with ActiveState is very timely, and addresses what we see as a really emerging trend in the marketplace.
Pete: One of the questions we get is ... why use an OpenStack distribution? Why don't I just download it from OpenStack.org and do it myself? It's freestyle Legos. You got a tub of Legos, you put them together, you've got a lot of different options. You have flexibility, but there's still 1,400 parameters you've got to specify. You've got 11 components, and increasing, that you need to get working together.
We've had feedback from customers and partners that it can take weeks or months to get up and running if, in fact, you can get it up and running at all. An analyst even talked about the need if you're going to do OpenStack on your own, you're going to hire a fairly large team to build up the internal skills necessary to do that.
The trade-off of going to a distribution is this, you get the Legos, you get something that's designed to work together, and the whole idea is that you want to drive down the time to implement from weeks or months to hours.
That's the real value is how do I get these 2,000,000 users quickly, rapidly, and in a way that's reliable, supported over a long term, and at the same time is scalable. So as my requirements grow, I can grow my cloud, I can add new capabilities on top of it and it becomes a core part of my solution.
The Role of PaaS in the Cloud Stack
John: The PaaS is independent of the infrastructure layer, so it runs beautifully on OpenStack. It also runs on other infrastructures as well. The VMware vSphere infrastructure, or an AWS and other platforms. It's basically an abstraction layer above the infrastructure, but does work very well with OpenStack. It is works with things like scaling and some other features.
Above the infrastructure, this is where the PaaS itself comes into play. it provides instantly a number of languages, frameworks, runtimes and containers that are available instantly for the application to use. Such as languages like Java, Perl, PHP, and Scala, etc. These are all provided out of the box. There are also frameworks like Spring, Bottle for Python, and others that are also available. And containers, that these things need to run in, like Tomcat and Nginx.
To deploy it to the cloud, to the PaaS, you don't need to download, configure and maintain all of these languages, frameworks, runtimes and containers. They are just provided as part of the PaaS itself. In Stackato, specifically, we're using Docker to host the application, so we use Docker containers. Docker, as everyone knows, is taking the world by storm.
Overview of Demo
Cameron Seader: I'm going to show a SUSE batch deployment. The environment was prepared and ready to go so that all the systems were up and running and were joined to our administration server called Crowbar. Crowbar is an open source tool that is used to deploy the cloud framework and works in conjunction with Chef. It has functionality to allow you to deploy all of OpenStack and, also to deploy a full high-availability environment for our control plan as well.
I'm going to show this to you. As you can see in here, we have all of the components for OpenStack that are available, so you can install those. I'm not going to edit and create any of these through the web interface. I'm going to the command line on the administration node. Everything, as you can notice, is running under VMware workstation in this particular demo environment.
The simple cloud stack would take about 12 minutes. Then for the full high-availability, it takes about 18 to 20, depending on the hardware and the size of your configuration or the parameter. Watch the entire meetup: