OpenNebula Consultant

one_2In the past few weeks, I’ve sold a few hours deploying OpenNebula-based clouds, or even consulting for a (small) Russian-based hosting provider.

Starting my freelance activities, I had no idea OpenNebula could be relevant to such customers. From what I’ve seen, OpenStack or CloudStack are way more popular for those looking for private clouds, while AWS or GCE are leading the market, there’s very little space left for OpenNebula.

OpenNebula is really a great project, implementing Open Cloud Computing Interface standards, offering a both command line and graphical user interfaces, managing private, hybrid or public clouds, as well as allowing clouds federation.
Like its alternatives, OpenNebula embeds drivers dealing with Xen (3 & 4), KVM, vmware or even EC2 instances, it may use dummy bridges or complex OpenVSwitch setups, you could use LVM, Ceph or GlusterFS based datastores, …
What may differentiate OpenNebula from its direct competitors, is the focus on users needs: bootstrapping your cloud is a matter of hours, you won’t need any specific understanding of the technologies involved, documentation is pretty straight forward.
In comparison, OpenStack is sometimes charged of being vendor driven. Since I haven’t tried it yet, I won’t feed that troll.

Before trying OpenNebula, I had short experiences with OpenQRM (mostly patching) and Archipel. I didn’t dig too deep though: back then, my manager refused anything that wouldn’t have allowed him to manage our OpenVZ containers.
I’m not a big fan of graphical user interfaces in general, and especially when it comes to managing my servers. I used to stick to basic scripts creating, migrating and backing up my virtual machines.
Still, late 2014, I started building my own private cloud, to keep up with modern practices mostly. Having worked with Ceph a few times already, I wanted to build something around a single datastore, allow my physical servers to dynamically attach network disks to their containers.

It’s been seven month now, that my privates services are mostly hosted on my cloud.
4 KVM hosts, 5 Ceph hosts, a Xen host and a mfsBSD NAS serving iSCSI disks. 42Tb disk, 84Gb RAM.
Ceph is definitely something I would recommend to have. Migrating a VM from a server to another takes a few seconds, using your libvirt in the best conditions there is.

Meanwhile, I installed an other OpenNebula/Ceph based cloud in Smile, where I was still working. 9 physical hosts with 3 OSD each, a 10th hosting a single Ceph MON, OpenNebula core and Sunstone, and 4 compute nodes.
I was able to build an ElasticSearch cluster on this cloud, storing syslog messages from all our hosts, and serving them using Kibana.

A while ago, responding to a job post on Elance, I was hired to install some hosting solution that would allow my customer to re-sell Cpanel-based VPS.
After discussing the subject, giving away my scripts would have been too complicated, my customer wasn’t into SSH, he wasn’t even interested by Proxmox. As a last resort, I introduced him to OpenNebula.
Starting from a fresh wheezy install, on a SoYouStart host, I installed both OpenNebula core and compute node packages locally. I build a CentOS7 template, installed the latest Cpanel and csf, added some script reading OpenNebula CONTEXT media and configuring instances during their first boot. I wrote a small PDF documenting usual actions, what to do when a customer orders a server, how to suspend his account, … And we finished by a small live training, on skype, reviewing my PDF, making sure the customer understood what he as doing.
Lately, I’m still providing this customer with support services. Looking at his server from time to time, I ended up installing fail2ban to prevent SSH bruteforces, fixing my templates so each cpanel instance would update itself at a different hour, setting up a cron job backing up disk images daily and writing a procedure to restore these backups.

This week, after responding to a job post on Upwork, I was hired to provide with support services to a system administrator, in Russia, that wants to install his first cloud.
He’s not interested in distributed file systems: right now, he’s just looking for a web manager to deal with his images, start and stop his VMs, ease up daily administration.
I provided him with a few tips and recommendations, I’m still waiting to hear back from him. As far as I know, he just identified which hosts he’ll be using.

Anyway, I haven’t found a public platform listing OpenNebula consultants.
There is a few OpenNebula Google Groups, mostly inactive.
If you ever need assistance setting up your own cloud, feel free to get in touch!

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