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Murano and OpenStack Community App Catalog

John Jainschigg - June 23, 2015

In the immediate wake of the release of OpenStack Community App Catalog by the OpenStack Foundation, at last month’s OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, today’s release of Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 clarifies and refines the role of Murano as a cornerstone enabler.

In tandem with Community App Catalog, Murano reduces time-to-value for open cloud by providing a self-service on-ramp for over-the-internet acquisition and highly-automated, self-service configuration and deployment of:

  • End-user-facing Platform-as-a-Service and container-orchestration solutions, like Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry, Stackato and Apcera HCOS

  • Core technology (like Docker) on which these solutions depend

  • Application point solutions (like Zabbix monitoring), standard building-blocks (like MongoDB, PostgresDB, InfluxDB and other SQL, noSQL and special-purpose databases), composable tool collections and key CI/CD toolchain components (like Jenkins) used to assemble and enhance agile, modern development and production environments

  • Prepared cloud images that simplify and speed deployment and management of all of the above

Murano does all this by providing a relatively simple but powerful kit of parts, including a YAML-based standard for stateless deployment descriptions, an engine that processes these templates and resolves their dependencies with the help of OpenStack Heat and other low-level tools, an agent that embeds in a VM guest operating system and executes local deployment tasks, and a web UI and CLI for interactions. Murano documentation has been moved to readthedocs for stable Kilo, and is well worth detailed review.

Described with extreme (not to say trivializing) lack of drama, Murano works as an “Application Catalog” for OpenStack tenants. Which is to say, it lets you configure and present a local catalog of authorized packages, bundles, and images. This can (obviously) include your own packages, bundles and images, which can be prepped for upload and deployment with impressive speed. And it can include packages provided by the community or by vendors and presented in Community App Catalog. Either way, making packages is usually pretty simple: during the run-up to OpenStack Community App Catalog release, we watched over the shoulder of the development team as several Mirantis partners and key vendors — some having no prior Murano experience — packaged their solutions for inclusion. With few exceptions, nobody seems to have encountered serious difficulties, even on a very short pre-launch timetable.

By providing this core local App Catalog/environment-deployer functionality, Murano enables self-service — clearly important. The growing number of individually-packaged solutions in Community App Catalog leverage this functionality by making the job of tracking down and using authoritative solutions ‘app store’ convenient: eliminating the many steps (host OS determination, dependency resolution, deployment engineering) required to get complex deployments running for evaluation and/or production.

Perhaps more important over time, since Community App Catalog solutions include a range of state-of-the-art Platform-as-a-Service and cloud/container orchestration solutions, like Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry, Murano is now in line to become a major tool for bootstrapping OpenStack IaaS clouds to end-user relevance — both by helping you painlessly implement complex, powerful, end-user-facing platform abstractions to power smooth developer self-service and speed dev/test/QA/deployment (ideally under continuous integration), and by recruiting the underlying container technologies like Docker on which these solutions depend. Not to mention that each of these platforms — and its underlying container standard — is backed up by a large community of individuals and vendors, busily packaging applications in their own authoritative repositories, like Docker Hub — apps that are directly consumable via Murano and deployable onto prepared container hosts and/or appropriately-configured orchestration and availability clusters (e.g., Kubernetes Pods), also deployed by Murano.

The vision for Murano is thus rapidly becoming elaborated. Yes, it’s a local App Catalog. But it’s also a gateway to the Community App Catalog. And a jumping-off-point to numerous additional catalogs, all fast growing and evolving.

Check out our video about Murano, and see how easy it is to exploit this functionality: deploying a Kubernetes Cluster, a Kubernetes Pod, and a Dockerized webserver. And download Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 to try Murano and Community App Catalog for yourself.

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