Ben Golub

Docker Out in Force at the OpenStack Summit


I. Overview

The 2013 OpenStack summit has come to a close, and Docker was out in force. We sent a full 16% of the company there! (Well, three people—Ben Golub, Sam Alba, and Nick Stinemates).

The conference itself was incredible—over 3,000 people from 58 countries were there, over 2/3 of whom had never attended a summit before. Overall, the pace of OpenStack adoption and growth has been very impressive. (For a quick overview on OpenStack, see the keynote,  or Randy Bias and Scott Sanchez’s latest “State of the Stack” talk.)

While a Docker driver for OpenStack Nova had already been accepted into OpenStack for the Havana release, it became clear during the conference that Docker and containers had impacts and implications far beyond the Nova driver.

The Docker team met with and joined public panel discussions with key community members, gave 8 interviews, led design sessions, and gave three important presentations/talks. Read below to learn more about:

II. Crowbar

Nick went early to Hong Kong on October 30, 2013. The goal was twofold – meet with the Dell Crowbar team to discuss 3 major topics:

  • Improving Crowbar documentation for new users
  • Deploying an OpenStack cluster with Nova provisioning Docker containers by default.
  • Allowing containers to be provisioned for Crowbar 2.0 workloads.

Working with the Crowbar team was great. They showed true southern hospitality and were both extremely helpful in getting Nick up to speed and gracious in accepting advice and improvements to the project.

Over the 3 hack days, and some extra time in the summit, all goals were achieved and are currently demoable.

III. Write Once and Really Run Anywhere with Docker and OpenStack

This talk was a culmination of effort and testing through the past Docker meetups with an added twist. The premise: Any Docker Image, Hosted on Any Docker Registry, can be Run on Any Cloud Provider in seconds. In a joint presentation with Rackspace to a packed room, we demonstrated:

  • Building from source using a Dockerfile
  • Moving from laptop to the Rackspace Public Cloud, without modification or any noticeable delay
  • Migrating to a second public cloud, without modification or any noticeable delay
  • Migrating to an OpenStack cluster, without modification or any noticeable delay
  • Doing all of the above using the OpenStack Horizon Interface, Glance as an Image registry, etc.

While a few networking glitches caused a few minor issues with the  demo, you can see the demo running properly below in the asciicast, as well as the full presentation and slides.

IV. Orchestrating Docker with Heat

Sam Alba presented an alternative approach to the Nova driver (which treats a Docker container as a variant of a VM). In this new approach, Docker containers are orchestrated directly using OpenStack Heat.

While both approaches have pros and cons, this approach exposes far more of the full capabilities of the Docker API.



V. Docker, PaaS, OpenShift and Solum

Solum is a new OpenStack Related project designed to make cloud services easier to consume and integrate into your application development process. Solum is still in design phase,  with participation by Rackspace, RedHat, Docker, Ebay, ActiveState, and others. While this PaaS-related project is not without controversy, the discussion and roadmap give a good overview of the role that Docker is playing in the evolution of PaaS in general.

VI. A New Service to Manage Containers in OpenStack

Some of the most critical aspects of an OpenStack conference are not the presentations, but the design sessions, in which the technical leaders and contributors discuss and agree on blueprints for future releases of OpenStack. In a very interesting session  led by Sam Alba and Krishna Raman from Red Hat, there was a lively debate about whether containers should be managed through Nova (e.g. as with our current Nova driver), or with a new service. At the end of the day, it was determined that a new service was needed, and Sam will help lead the charge.

The output of the session can be seen here.


Overall, this was an incredible event, and showed the momentum both behind OpenStack and Docker/Containers. Many thanks to Sam and Nick, as well as our many friends from Red Hat (Clayton ColemanRussell Bryant, Diane Muller,  and Krishna Raman), Dell (Rob Hirschfeld), and Rackspace (Adrian Otto and Jason Smith).


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Ben Golub

Docker Out in Force at the OpenStack Summit

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