First Look at Platform9

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Having had a chance to play with Platform9 ( http://www.platform9.com ) as part of some SolidFire internal training I am building, it really does deliver on its promise of getting OpenStack functionality to the user quickly (i.e. 10 minutes), into an existing environment. During my time of using it they also have also added new features and functionality to Platform9 with out outage which has also been great to see. I will be asking for some time on the SE call shortly to get this in front of people.

Getting Started with Platform9 – Preparing the hosts

To get started I built an initial Ubuntu 14.04 VM. That VM had two networks (1GbE and 10GbE) – I moved the 1GbE network onto a Linux bridge and installed KVM using the instructions below. KVM does need to be installed (apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin virt-manager) and ideally Nested Virtualisation supported in VMware.

https://support.platform9.com/support/solutions/articles/5000511644-setup-linux-network-bridges-on-ubuntu

https://support.platform9.com/support/solutions/articles/5000517472-how-to-prepare-a-ubuntu-server-to-be-added-to-your-platform9-private-cloud

Finally I downloaded and installed the platform9 binaries ( platform9-install-debian.sh )

Setting up the first host

Logging in to Platform9 for the first time – you are given a unique URL and username/password – I found the host waiting to be authorized which is the first step. As part of this you select a location where you will store your instances and where you will store your images.

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This then gives you the dashboard view of your infrastructure. As you add hosts and resources this gives you your ‘pain of glass’ view on the environment.

 

 

 

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Managing and creating instances

I grabbed an standard Ubuntu template for OpenStack and uploaded it to my KVM instance in the template directory. After a few seconds Platform9 picks this up as an image that can be used. Traditional OpenStack tools can also be used such as the command-line glance/nova/cinder tools. From glance image-list, used with the right credentials I get the output below – also see the instance management dashboard below.

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Cinder Integration

With 1.3 of Platform9 the initial Cinder integration has been released. This allows SolidFire storage to be used and automatically provisioned as we do with OpenStack already. The process is to enable Cinder block storage and select SolidFire as the backend which enables the service on your host. After that it is simply a case of adding a small config file with the same syntax that we use with cinder.conf and restarting a service on the host. The setup details are here: https://platform9.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/8000007669-cinder-integration-with-solidfire

From the UI this looks like:

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Currently QOS is not available however the automatic creation and delete of volumes works and the volume creation is the same as before. This is all using the existing SolidFire Cinder Driver.

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Conclusion

The ability to get OpenStack delivered really quickly is what I like. It is even quicker and easier than a devstack instance to get going. Also keeping the storage and hypervisors local will clearly appeal to a lot of customers. Ultimately, its cool!

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