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Introducing Mirantis Cloud Platform -- Webinar Q&A

Just before the OpenStack Summit we gave a webinar introducing Mirantis Cloud Platform. Here are the answers to your questions.

Why does Mirantis Cloud Platform have two SDNs?

The Calico SDN is only used for K8s networking. It’s used for container-to-container connectivity. For the OpenStack SDN we support both Neutron ML2 OVS and OpenContrail in MCP 1.0. In general most applications only require L3 connectivity and do not require the same overlay network between containers and OpenStack. There are some exceptions, such as NFV workloads, that could demand that the container in K8s has L2 connectivity to a VM inside of OpenStack, however, and for that specific NFV workload case, we’ve shown a demo of using OpenContrail as the SDN for both OpenStack and K8s. You can view it here:

Can existing MOS environments be upgraded to MCP 1.0? If yes, which version(s) of MOS can be upgraded?

Transition from MOS to MCP for particular customers will require engagement with the Mirantis Services organization. The migration path will largely depend on the configuration of the original cloud and installed extensions/plugins, and in most cases will require additional engineering effort to develop. Clouds running on versions of MOS earlier than 9.0 are unlikely to transition to MCP in-place or in-service due to the extreme complexity of the transition path. Customers can still go from MOS to MCP by installing MCP separately and gradually moving data and workloads to the MCP cloud.

Why isn't Mirantis Cloud Platform available for download like MOS 9?

As we transition from Mirantis OpenStack to MCP, which includes DriveTrain, a new operations-centric deployment and lifecycle management capability based on a CI/CD pipeline, a number of new considerations need to be in place for successful access, download and evaluation of the technology.  Please be patient as we work towards a new download capability that will enable the evaluation of MCP.

Are there any plans to support plugins, similar to MOS version 9.x ?

MCP is highly customizable, so it can be extended to enable deployment of a wide range of infrastructure (such as SDNs, storage back-ends, and so on) beyond the default choices. For the time being, however, Mirantis intends to avoid making such customizations except as required by customers, or where otherwise justified in terms of closing engineering gaps or satisfying business objectives. We do not anticipate creating frameworks (like Fuel Plugin SDK) enabling third parties to engineer infrastructure-level integrations of their products with MCP.

So are you going to continue to develop MOS? Will we see MOS 10?

We truly believe that the MCP model is the right way to deliver OpenStack and other private cloud components, so we feel like we'd be doing our customers a disservice by providing it any other way.
That said, MOS is part of MCP, so we'll continue to develop it. As far as a standalone OpenStack that's deployed via Fuel, we'll continue to support MOS 9.2 through at least mid-2019 to give our customers a chance to migrate to MCP at their own convenience, rather than on an arbitrary schedule.

Are containers deployed on bare metal or on VMs? Or both?

MCP currently incorporates two independent cloud frameworks: OpenStack, which is an IaaS framework used to host virtual machines, and Kubernetes, an orchestration framework for (Docker) containers and containerized applications. At present, in MCP, the OpenStack and Kubernetes frameworks are deployed separately on aggregations of bare metal nodes provisioned with Linux. In the simplest case, an MCP cloud operator could deploy container workloads on bare-metal Linux-provisioned nodes in the Kubernetes cluster (which have nothing to do with OpenStack). The operator could also start VMs on OpenStack, provisioned with a Linux guest OS, and deploy a container host (such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and so on) on these VM nodes, using these to host containers. Finally, the operator could use MaaS to provision bare-metal nodes separate from either the OpenStack or Kubernetes clusters, deploy Linux and a container host on these nodes (such as Docker Swarm), and deploy container workloads to them directly. Other layerings are also possible.

So is MCP a bundle of pieces with OpenStack and Kubernetes working together for OpenStack and container platforms or is OpenStack deployed on Kubernetes? Please clarify.

Mirantis Cloud Platform currently incorporates two independent cloud frameworks: OpenStack, which is an IaaS framework used to host virtual machines; and Kubernetes, an orchestration framework for (Docker) containers and containerized applications. At present, in MCP, the OpenStack and Kubernetes frameworks are deployed separately on aggregations of bare metal nodes provisioned with Linux. Mirantis has also demonstrated deployment of a containerized OpenStack control plane on Kubernetes: an architecture that enables agile scale-out of OpenStack capacity on demand and facilitates in-place-updating of OpenStack components with minimal downtime. No release date for availability of this architecture in production MCP has yet been provided.

Is a specific version of OpenContrail and Kubernetes used, or will it be continuously integrated by the CI/CD chain more or less live from upstream?

OpenContrail, Kubernetes, and all of the other components of Mirantis Cloud Platform will be updated as appropriate. For example, a needed driver might lag behind, delaying the release of a component, but as soon as it's ready, the component will be released into the toolchain with the new version of the driver. All components are tested and hardened before being added to or upgraded in MCP.

Is DriveTrain free?

DriveTrain is included in the overall pricing of MCP and MMO.

Is DriveTrain only for MCP, or can it be used for MOS?

DriveTrain is a core component to MCP. It is used as the LCM for all open cloud software within MCP, and can also be utilized for other software deployment and LCM.  Part of that open cloud software includes the latest OpenStack from Mirantis, Mirantis OpenStack, but MOS 9.x and earlier versions included Fuel as the means of deployment.  DriveTrain is not for use with earlier versions of MOS.

What is the difference between Mirantis Cloud Platform and Red Hat's Openshift?

MCP is a complete cloud platform that includes OpenStack, Kubernetes, and various other services. OpenShift is basically a Kubernetes distribution and PaaS.

Does MOS still exist, or it is completely obsoleted by MCP?

MOS is a component of Mirantis Cloud Platform, so is not obsoleted in any sense. With the release of MCP 1.0, the importance of MOS as a stand-alone product deployed by Fuel is reduced -- though Mirantis will continue supporting and evolving MOS to serve the requirements of customers who cannot, or prefer not to adopt MCP.

How is Mirantis prepared to support their customers across all the components of the private cloud ecosystem, such as the host and guest OS, hypervisor, and virtual switch?

Mirantis -- historically a top 3 contributor to OpenStack -- also contributes to Kubernetes, OpenContrail and many other open source projects encompassed by Mirantis Cloud Platform, and is a member of key industry groups such as OPNFV. Mirantis works closely with providers of Linux distributions, platform and network hardware, and other MCP components.

Are acceleration technologies such as SR-IOV, DPDK supported? Are Smart-NICs supported?

Yes, SR-IOV and DPDK environments are supported depending on the NIC that is being used. Smart-NICs may be supported upon validation of them on a case by case basis per customer request.

What is Jenkins' role?

Jenkins serves as the pipeline automation tooling within DriveTrain for delivering LCM features to MCP.

Can Cisco ACI be used instead of openContrail?

Not currently, but features and additional support are being integrated continually.

Will it ever be possible for smaller operators with order of 10-15 OpenStack compute nodes to "self-consume" MCP (or perhaps a subset thereof) the way they could with MOS? Otherwise, where do you suggest they turn to so they can adopt MCP once they reach critical mass?

The best way to prepare for MCP is to transform your company culture into a cloud-native organization, and to start using DevOps principles such as CI/CD. These changes will benefit your organization by giving you greater agility and development speed outside regardless of the cloud platform you're using.  MOS 9.2 will be available for the next few years, so you can gradually ramp up to the point where you're ready for MCP.

How does MCP differ from MOS ?

MCP is an ecosystem of around 100 cloud services, including OpenStack and Kubernetes environments deployed with DriveTrain (SaltStack/Reclass) lifecycle management capabilities. MOS is strictly OpenStack with Fuel as a deployment tool and plugin framework.

DriveTrain is the new Fuel?

In a manner of speaking, yes. DriveTrain is the new way we are deploying both Mirantis Cloud Platform OpenStack and Kubernetes environments, as well as managing their lifecycles. Fuel is the deployment and LCM tool strictly for MOS.

What is the timeline for release for MCP?

MCP 1.0 became generally available in mid-April, 2017.

How do I get the details from StackLight? What is the client using?

StackLight is a toolchain of many various logging, metering, and alerting applications; including but not limited to Kibana, Elasticsearch, Grafana, InfluxDB, Sensu, and Uchiwa, wrapped around a Heka framework. Please visit the StackLight page for additional details.

With MCP, do you first build a Kubernetes cluster as a base and then run OpenStack services in Kubernetes?

MCP deploys both OpenStack and Kubernetes as separate environments under the same lifecycle management architecture. Currently, both environments are parallel in nature, and not installed on top of each other.

In the managed solution, will Mirantis deploy MCP on the customer's own infrastructure (servers/storage) or 3rd party clouds (AWS, Azure, etc)?

MMO on-premises delivery is onto customer managed hardware, this can be in their own physically owned datacenter or a colocation facility. However, we do not deliver MMO onto public cloud infrastructures such as AWS or Azure.

Can MCP span private and public clouds?

One of the great things about MCP is that it leaves things open for the latest technology.  Mirantis delivers hybrid cloud solutions through MCP technology and professional services. One of those technologies is Kubernetes Federation. Once this is in place, your applications will be able to easily span Kubernetes to both public and private clouds.

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