Native Containers for OpenStack Instances

By Bill Bauman, Cloud Marketing Manager, Canonical

How do you run the world’s fastest OpenStack? By running OpenStack in containers.

How do you run the fastest workload instances on top of OpenStack? The same way, by running the instances in containers.

With the release of Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS, Canonical has included nova-lxd. Nova-lxd is an OpenStack plugin that allows you to natively launch container instances using the Horizon dashboard without any additional OpenStack projects or interfaces.

While virtual machines on KVM are effective for many workloads, they aren’t nearly as lightweight, low latency, and high performing as container instances. Using LXD, the pure container hypervisor, you get all the benefits of a virtual machine with bare metal performance. You also don’t have the overhead of VMs. So, while VMs might scale to dozens or a hundred instances on a server, containers could potentially scale to several hundred—up to 10x the density.

If you’d like an easy way to give container-based instances a try, another new inclusion with Ubuntu 16.04 is the conjure-up command. You can think of conjure-up as a Devstack replacement that better mirrors what a production OpenStack will look and act like. Conjure-up is a menu-driven system that can deploy an entire OpenStack on a single laptop, or multiple machines, running in LXD machine containers. In this way, developers can test how their apps will really work in a production OpenStack.

If you don’t have Ubuntu, you can get started here. To learn more about LXD, the pure container hypervisor, go here.

We’ll be at OpenStack Silicon Valley next month and would love to chat about OpenStack and containers. We’re also sponsoring a session on Juju, our modeling tool for OpenStack and hundreds of other cloud-based services, from 1:30-1:55 p.m. on August 9. Hope to see you there.

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