Nectar at the OpenStack Summit Sydney

Nectar at the OpenStack Summit Sydney
November 27, 2017 Karen Mecoles
Openstack Summit

The Nectar Research Cloud technical and operations team are regular participants in OpenStack Summits and have been since the decision was made to use OpenStack as the cloud fabric in March 2011. Involvement in the OpenStack Summits helps keep Nectar’s priorities in the development roadmap, as well as providing skills for the team – in presenting as well as important networking and technical skills. Team member Jake Yip found “having the chance to talk to fellow operators allowed me to compare notes and find areas of improvement to make the Nectar Research Cloud better.” 

The Sydney OpenStack Summit in 2017 was Australia’s turn to host this large three day international conference.  At the Keynote introduction the audience was asked to raise hands if they were “not from Australia” and about 50% of the room did so.   Nectar participation at Sydney included:

  • Keynote – Two Nectar supported research projects were profiled in the Keynote session – Griffith Climate Change Response Program representing the Nectar funded Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory and Monash Biomedical Imaging representing the Nectar funded Characterisation Virtual Laboratory.
  • Bringing Research to the cloud – the Nectar Research Cloud – Director, Glenn Moloney
  • OpenStack Clouds as Research Infrastructure – Director Glenn Moloney, Deputy Director Paul Coddington and Steve Quenette, head of the Monash node of the Nectar cloud.
  • Monitoring in the Nectar Research Cloud – Technical and Operations team members, Andy Botting and Jake Yip delivered an excellent overview of the technology and processes used.
  • Scientific Working Group – as per previous Summits Technical and Operations team member, Blair Bethwaite co-chaired multiple sessions
  • Australia vs the Rest of the World: A discussion on how OpenStack compares down under included Nectar Deputy Director, Paul Coddington on the panel.
  • Open Research Cloud Association Congress – although not part of OpenStack the ORCA looks to be an agnostic uniting voice for the research community to signpost technology direction to developers,  providers and funders and  to work to global research community agreed standards and interoperability frameworks.  A two day meeting was held in concert with the Summit.  Technical and Operations Manager,  Wilfred Brimblecombe is co-chair of the congress.

“From the three Summits I have attended I can see the themes building to support enterprise level deployments in research, commercial and industrial use.  Nectar’s selection of OpenStack in 2011/2012 is re-confirmed as a good cost effective choice. “

Wilfred Brimblecombe, Nectar Technical and Operations Manager, reflecting on his experience at OpenStack Summits.

The signals that OpenStack has become mainstream across research, industry, and commerce areas was continued en-force at the November 2017 Sydney OpenStack Summit.

Companies presenting at the Summit, such as Commonwealth Bank, Adobe, Tencent (Wechat), China UnionPay, China Railway show that OpenStack is being truly embraced in business critical areas and being embraced at scale.

  • Commonwealth Bank – OpenStack being used in Data Analytics (AI and machine learning) to provide timely insights for CBA employees to allow better support of customers.  Allowing data experiments and providing costs savings.
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud – low latency requirements, 200+ billion requests per day, billions of objects in the database – 100,000 cores over 6 data centres – 30% savings over previous implementation.
  • Tencent – including their Wechat platform – 6,000,000 cores over 6 data centres – 30% saving on server costs and 55% saving on O&M (operations and maintenance) costs.
  • Tencent Wechat – 1 billion active users per month, 50 million merchants, and 200,000 orders per day.
  • China UnionPay – 10,000 cores across two data centres running 80% of UnionPay’s production applications.  500,000,000 users, 50,000,000 transactions per day, 3,000 transactions per second at peak.
  • China Railway – 2,810,000,000 trips per year and 3,500,000,000 tons of freight – over 300,000,000 registered users.
The participation by these and other companies for business critical areas is influencing the development and maturation of OpenStack.  At the Sydney Summit the following themes were evident:
  • Better and more formal integration between OpenStack projects
  • Better and more formal collaboration with other open source projects
  • Improved end-to-end testing between OpenStack and other allied projects
  • Focus on security, authentication and authorisation
  • Composability of some OpenStack components – allowing some components to stand-alone from OpenStack and be used with alternative open or proprietary tools (currently only Ironic and Cinder).

Other points of interest from the Sydney summit were:

  • OpenStack is a force in the Public Cloud space – is not just for Private Cloud – OpenStack public cloud providers are not individually as large as Amazon, and Google, but in aggregate are very significant in the market place.
  • OpenStack Passport Program – allows prospective users to quickly experience OpenStack – free trials (will be) available from participating OpenStack powered public clouds – Catalyst, City Networ, Elastx, Home at Cloud, Memset, OVH, Scale Up Tech, Telefonica, UKCloud and Vexxhost.
  • Microservices – this theme is mixed in with the integration theme.