Behind the Scenes: The F5 Private Cloud Solution Package for Red Hat OpenStack  – Measuring Success

F5 and Red Hat have just released our Private Cloud Solution Package for OpenStack. There are all kinds of marketing pieces which describe this package, what it includes, how to buy it, and what the target market looks like. I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you why I think this is such a cool offering. But first, let me steal the description paragraph from the Deployment Guide:

F5 Private Cloud Solution Package for OpenStack

The F5 private cloud solution package for OpenStack provides joint certification and testing with Red Hat to orchestrate F5® BIG-IP® Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) with OpenStack Networking services. The validated solutions and use cases are based on customer requirements utilizing BIG-IP ADC and OpenStack integrations. F5’s OpenStack LBaaSv2 integration provides under-the-cloud L4–L7 services for OpenStack Networking tenants. F5’s OpenStack orchestration (HEAT) templates provide over-the-cloud, single-tenant onboarding of BIG-IP virtual edition (VE) ADC clusters and F5 iApps® templating for application services deployment. 

So why did we spend the time to develop this Private Cloud Solution Package for Red Hat OpenStack Platform v9? And why do I think it is valuable? Well several different reasons. First, if you are like me, six months ago I had no idea where to start. How do I build an OpenStack cloud so I can test and understand OpenStack? Do I build a Faux-penStack in a single VM on my laptop? Do I purchase a labs worth of machines to build it out? Those were my initial questions. It seems to be the question a lot of enterprises are also facing. In a study commissioned by Suse, 50% of those who have started an OpenStack initiative have failed. The fact is, OpenStack is difficult. There are many, many options. There are many, many configuration files. Until you are grounded in what each does and how they interact, it all seems like a bunch of gibberish. So, we first created this Private Cloud Solution Package with Red Hat to provide that starting point. It is intended to be the ‘You Are Here’ marker for a successful deployment of a real-world production cloud which meets the needs of an enterprise.

The deployment guide marries the Red Hat install guide with specific instruction gained through setting up our Red Hat OpenStack Platform many times. The aim isn’t to provide answers to questions about each configuration option, or to provide multiple paths with a decision tree for options which differ and many times conflict with each other. Our guidance is specific, and prescriptive. We wanted a documentation path that ensures a functioning cloud. Follow this step by step using the variable inputs we did and you will end up with a validated, known-good cloud.

I hope you will find the effort we put into it to be of value. John, Mark, Dave, and I (Our “Pizza team”, as John called it—although we didn’t eat any pizza as we were all working remotely from one another) spent many hours getting to the point where we could create documentation, that when followed, creates a reproducible, functioning, and validated Red Hat OpenStack Platform v9 Overcloud with F5 LBaaS v2 functionality connected to a pair of F5’s new iSeries 5800 appliances. Get that, REPRODUCABLE, and VALIDATED. We can wipe our overcloud away, and redeploy the overcloud in our environment in 44 minutes. That includes reinstalling the LBaaS components and validating that they are working using OpenStack community tests.

VALIDATED. That is the second reason we spent all this time creating this solution package. We wanted to define a way for our customers, the Red Hat and F5 support organizations, and for our two awesome Professional Services organizations to KNOW that what has been built is validated, and will function.

To that end, as part of the package development we created a test and troubleshooting Docker container, and have released it on Github here. This container bundles up all the software requirements and specific software versions required to run the community OpenStack tempest tests against any newly installed OpenStack Red Hat Platform environment. These tests let you know definitely whether the cloud was built correctly. We’ll run a set of test against your cloud installation assuring networking is working before we install any F5 service components. We’ll run a set of tests after we install F5 service components assuring the proper functionality of these services we provide. We’ll leave you with the test results in a common testing format as documentation that your cloud tenants should be good to go.  As we develop certified use cases of our technologies with our customers, we’ll write tests for those and run those too. Cool huh? This is DevOps after all. It’s all about tested solutions. 

You don’t have to wait for our professional services to test your own cloud. By default, the test client includes all of the community tempest tests needed to validate LBaaS v2 on Liberty Red Hat OSP v8 (just for fun and to demonstrate the extensibility of the toolset) and Mitaka Red Hat OSPv9. Not only does it include the tests, and the toolsets to run them, get this, John even created a script which will generate the required tempest configuration files on the fly. Simply provide your overcloudrc file and the environment will be interrogated and the proper settings will be added to the config files. Again Cool. Testing is king, and we’re doing our best to hand out crowns.

Published Apr 17, 2017
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