GanetiCon 2013

10/09/2013 by Apollon Oikonomopoulos

Last week I had the honour of co-organizing the 1st Ganeti Users & Developers Summit. The event spanned 3 full days and was sponsored by Google, GRNET and Skroutz and hosted at the new Skroutz headquarters in Athens.

The goal of the event was to bring developers and current and prospective users of Ganeti together in order to shape the project's near future. 50 participants from different companies and academic institutions from all over the globe showed up at the event, with lots of interesting feedback for the project.

For those not familiar with it, Ganeti is an open-source (GPL) virtualization cluster management software, supporting both Xen and KVM. It is great at treating a bunch of physical machines as a single resource pool and automatically managing virtual machines running on this pool. It also features a sysadmin-friendly CLI as well as a RESTful API for integration with other services.

Ganeti is primarily developed and used by Google, but also features other big installations like GRNET's ~okeanos.

Workshop and user reports

The slides of all presentations mentioned below can be found at the official site.

The summit opened with a half-day briefing by the Google Ganeti team on the latest and greatest features of Ganeti, as well as a tour on some less-known tools:

  • Introduction to the new monitoring & performance data collection system (ganeti-mond)
  • Capacity planning (hspace) and auto-repair tools (harep)
  • High-speed, fault-tolerant information queries using ganeti-confd

The rest of the first day went on with user report scenarios from Skroutz, the Debian Project and OSUOSL, all of whom are using Ganeti on their infrastructure.

The second day started with the user reports from GRNET on synnefo and GRNET NOC's ViMa VPS service (by good friend @kargig), both of which use Ganeti as the underlying VM management platform.

Design discussions

The last day-and-half was dedicated to design discussions (or BoFs or however you want to call them :-); technical around-the-table talk to facilitate upcoming design decisions on a number of subjects, among others:

  • Smarter VM placement on the individual nodes, taking availability/performance constraints into account.
  • Improvements on the new network/IPAM functionality introduced in 2.7.
  • More fine-grained job queue management to allow easier maintenance of busy clusters.
  • Build system and packaging overhaul to support atomic, cluster-wide version upgrades.
  • More flexible and robust guest OS installation.

The results of these discussions will hopefully appear as design documents on the development mailing list sometime soon.

Conclusion

GanetiCon was both, fun and interesting (and a bit too short!). As a user, I was happy to see my requests discussed and new ideas being shaped; as a contributor, I was excited to meet the people who review my code and participate in the design discussions; as a packager for Debian, it was interesting to listen to other people's needs; and as a co-organizer, I was particularly pleased that everyone left Athens happy after 3 full days.

All in all I think it was a successful event. I'm pretty sure the next GanetiCon will be at least as good, if not better! Thanks go out to everyone who made this possible!


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