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Posts tagged with 'canonical'

Dustin Kirkland


For up-to-date patch, package, and USN links, please refer to: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SecurityTeam/KnowledgeBase/SpectreAndMeltdown

This is cross-posted on Canonical's official Ubuntu Insights blog:
https://insights.ubuntu.com/2018/01/04/ubuntu-updates-for-the-meltdown-spectre-vulnerabilities/


Unfortunately, you’ve probably already read about one of the most widespread security issues in modern computing history -- colloquially known as “Meltdown” (CVE-2017-5754) and “Spectre” (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715) -- affecting practically every computer built in the last 10 years, running any operating system. That includes Ubuntu.

I say “unfortunately”, in part because there was a coordinated release date of January 9, 2018, agreed upon by essentially every operating system, hardware, and cloud vendor in the world. By design, operating system updates would be available at the same time as the public disclosure of the security vulnerability. While it happens rarely, this an industry standard best practice, which has broken down in this case.

At its heart, this vulnerability is a CPU hardware architecture design issue. But there are billions of affected hardware devices, and replacing CPUs is simply unreasonable. As a result, operating system kernels -- Windows, MacOS, Linux, and many others -- are being patched to mitigate the critical security vulnerability.

Canonical engineers have been working on this since we were made aware under the embargoed disclosure (November 2017) and have worked through the Christmas and New Years holidays, testing and integrating an incredibly complex patch set into a broad set of Ubuntu kernels and CPU architectures.

Ubuntu users of the 64-bit x86 architecture (aka, amd64) can expect updated kernels by the original January 9, 2018 coordinated release date, and sooner if possible. Updates will be available for:

  • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful) -- Linux 4.13 HWE
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial) -- Linux 4.4 (and 4.4 HWE)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty) -- Linux 3.13
  • Ubuntu 12.04 ESM** (Precise) -- Linux 3.2
    • Note that an Ubuntu Advantage license is required for the 12.04 ESM kernel update, as Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is past its end-of-life
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) will release in April of 2018, and will ship a 4.15 kernel, which includes the KPTI patchset as integrated upstream.

Ubuntu optimized kernels for the Amazon, Google, and Microsoft public clouds are also covered by these updates, as well as the rest of Canonical's Certified Public Clouds including Oracle, OVH, Rackspace, IBM Cloud, Joyent, and Dimension Data.

These kernel fixes will not be Livepatch-able. The source code changes required to address this problem is comprised of hundreds of independent patches, touching hundreds of files and thousands of lines of code. The sheer complexity of this patchset is not compatible with the Linux kernel Livepatch mechanism. An update and a reboot will be required to active this update.

Furthermore, you can expect Ubuntu security updates for a number of other related packages, including CPU microcode, GCC and QEMU in the coming days.

We don't have a performance analysis to share at this time, but please do stay tuned here as we'll followup with that as soon as possible.

Thanks,
@DustinKirkland
VP of Product
Canonical / Ubuntu

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Dustin Kirkland


I'm the proud owner of a new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (9630) laptop, pre-loaded from the Dell factory with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Desktop.

Kudos to the Dell and the Canonical teams that have engineered a truly remarkable developer desktop experience.  You should also check out the post from Dell's senior architect behind the XPS 13, Barton George.

As it happens, I'm also the proud owner of a long loved, heavily used, 1st Generation Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop :-)  See this post from May 7, 2012.  You'll be happy to know that machine is still going strong.  It's now my wife's daily driver.  And I use it almost every day, for any and all hacking that I do from the couch, after hours, after I leave the office ;-)

Now, this latest XPS edition is a real dream of a machine!

From a hardware perspective, this newer XPS 13 sports an Intel i7-7660U 2.5GHz processor and 16GB of memory.  While that's mildly exciting to me (as I've long used i7's and 16GB), here's what I am excited about...

The 500GB NVME storage and a whopping 1239 MB/sec I/O throughput!

kirkland@xps13:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/nvme0n1
/dev/nvme0n1:
Timing cached reads: 25230 MB in 2.00 seconds = 12627.16 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 3718 MB in 3.00 seconds = 1239.08 MB/sec

And on top of that, this is my first QHD+ touch screen laptop display, sporting a magnificent 3200x1800 resolution.  The graphics are nothing short of spectacular.  Here's nearly 4K of Hollywood hard "at work" :-)


The keyboard is super comfortable.  I like it a bit better than the 1st generation.  Unlike your Apple friends, we still have our F-keys, which is important to me as a Byobu user :-)  The placement of the PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End keys (as Fn + Up/Down/Left/Right) takes a while to get used to.


The speakers are decent for a laptop, and the microphone is excellent.  The webcam is placed in an odd location (lower left of the screen), but it has quite nice resolution and focus quality.


And Bluetooth and WiFi, well, they "just work".  I got 98.2 Mbits/sec of throughput over WiFi.

kirkland@xps:~$ iperf -c 10.0.0.45
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 10.0.0.45, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[ 3] local 10.0.0.149 port 40568 connected with 10.0.0.45 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-10.1 sec 118 MBytes 98.2 Mbits/sec

There's no external display port, so you'll need something like this USB-C-to-HDMI adapter to project to a TV or monitor.


There's 1x USB-C port, 2x USB-3 ports, and an SD-Card reader.


One of the USB-3 ports can be used to charge your phone or other devices, even while your laptop is suspended.  I use this all the time, to keep my phone topped up while I'm aboard planes, trains, and cars.  To do so, you'll need to enable "USB PowerShare" in the BIOS.  Here's an article from Dell's KnowledgeBase explaining how.


Honestly, I have only one complaint...  And that's that there is no Trackstick mouse (which is available on some Dell models).  I'm not a huge fan of the Touchpad.  It's too sensitive, and my palms are always touching it inadvertently.  So I need to use an external mouse to be effective.  I'll continue to provide this feedback to the Dell team, in the hopes that one day I'll have my perfect developer laptop!  Otherwise, this machine is a beauty.  I'm sure you'll love it too.

Cheers,
Dustin

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admin

Hello MAASters!

I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 (final) is now available!
This new MAAS release introduces a set of exciting features and improvements to the overall user experience. It now becomes the focus of maintenance, as it fully replaces MAAS 2.2
In order to provide with sufficient notice, please be aware that 2.3.0 will replace MAAS 2.2 in the Ubuntu Archive in the coming weeks. In the meantime, MAAS 2.3 is available in PPA and as a Snap.
PPA’s Availability
MAAS 2.3.0 is currently available in ppa:maas/next for the coming week.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maas/next
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install maas
Please be aware that MAAS 2.3 will replace MAAS 2.2 in ppa:maas/stable within a week.
Snap Availability
For those wanting to use the snap, you can obtain it from the stable channel:
sudo snap install maas –devmode –stable

MAAS 2.3.0 (final)

Important announcements

Machine network configuration now deferred to cloud-init.

Starting from MAAS 2.3, machine network configuration is now handled by cloud-init. In previous MAAS (and curtin) releases, the network configuration was performed by curtin during the installation process. In an effort to improve robustness, network configuration has now been consolidated in cloud-init. MAAS will continue to pass network configuration to curtin, which in turn, will delegate the configuration to cloud-init.

Ephemeral images over HTTP

As part of the effort to reduce dependencies and improve reliability, MAAS ephemeral (network boot) images are no longer loaded using iSCSI (tgt). By default, the ephemeral images are now obtained using HTTP requests to the rack controller.

After upgrading to MAAS 2.3, please ensure you have the latest available images. For more information please refer to the section below (New features & improvements).

Advanced network configuration for CentOS & Windows

MAAS 2.3 now supports the ability to perform network configuration for CentOS and Windows. The network configuration is performed via cloud-init. MAAS CentOS images now use the latest available version of cloud-init that includes these features.

New features & improvements

CentOS network configuration

MAAS can now perform machine network configuration for CentOS 6 and 7, providing networking feature parity with Ubuntu for those operating systems. The following can now be configured for MAAS deployed CentOS images:

  • Bonds, VLAN and bridge interfaces.
  • Static network configuration.

Our thanks to the cloud-init team for improving the network configuration support for CentOS.

Windows network configuration

MAAS can now configure NIC teaming (bonding) and VLAN interfaces for Windows deployments. This uses the native NetLBFO in Windows 2008+. Contact us for more information (https://maas.io/contact-us).

Improved Hardware Testing

MAAS 2.3 introduces a new and improved hardware testing framework that significantly improves the granularity and provision of hardware testing feedback. These improvements include:

  • An improved testing framework that allows MAAS to run each component individually. This allows MAAS to run tests against storage devices for example, and capture results individually.
  • The ability to describe custom hardware tests with a YAML definition:
    • This provides MAAS with information about the tests themselves, such as script name, description, required packages, and other metadata about what information the script will gather. All of which will be used by MAAS to render in the UI.
    • Determines whether the test supports a parameter, such as storage, allowing the test to be run against individual storage devices.
    • Provides the ability to run tests in parallel by setting this in the YAML definition.
  • Capture performance metrics for tests that can provide it.
    • CPU performance tests now offer a new ‘7z’ test, providing metrics.
    • Storage performance tests now include a new ‘fio’ test providing metrics.
    • Storage test ‘badblocks’ has been improved to provide the number of badblocks found as a metric.
  • The ability to override a machine that has been marked ‘Failed testing’. This allows administrators to acknowledge that a machine is usable despite it having failed testing.

Hardware testing improvements include the following UI changes:

  • Machine Listing page
    • Displays whether a test is pending, running or failed for the machine components (CPU, Memory or Storage.)
    • Displays whether a test not related to CPU, Memory or Storage has failed.
    • Displays a warning when the machine has been overridden and has failed tests, but is in a ‘Ready’ or ‘Deployed’ state.
  • Machine Details page
    • Summary tab – Provides hardware testing information about the different components (CPU, Memory, Storage).
    • Hardware Tests /Commission tab – Provides an improved view of the latest test run, its runtime as well as an improved view of previous results. It also adds more detailed information about specific tests, such as status, exit code, tags, runtime and logs/output (such as stdout and stderr).
    • Storage tab – Displays the status of specific disks, including whether a test is OK or failed after running hardware tests.

For more information please refer to https://docs.ubuntu.com/maas/2.3/en/nodes-hw-testing.

Network discovery & beaconing

In order to confirm network connectivity and aide with the discovery of VLANs, fabrics and subnets, MAAS 2.3 introduces network beaconing.

MAAS now sends out encrypted beacons, facilitating network discovery and monitoring. Beacons are sent using IPv4 and IPv6 multicast (and unicast) to UDP port 5240. When registering a new controller, MAAS uses the information gathered from the beaconing protocol to ensure that newly registered interfaces on each controller are associated with existing known networks in MAAS. This aids MAAS by providing better information on determining the network topology.

Using network beaconing, MAAS can better correlate which networks are connected to its controllers, even if interfaces on those controller are not configured with IP addresses. Future uses for beaconing could include validation of networks from commissioning nodes, MTU verification, and a better user experience for registering new controllers.

Upstream Proxy

MAAS 2.3 now enables an upstream HTTP proxy to be used while allowing MAAS deployed machines to continue to use the caching proxy for the repositories. Doing so provides greater flexibility for closed environments, including:

  • Enabling MAAS itself to use a corporate proxy while allowing machines to continue to use the MAAS proxy.
  • Allowing machines that don’t have access to a corporate proxy to gain network access using the MAAS proxy.

Adding upstream proxy support also includes an improved configuration on the settings page. Please refer to Settings > Proxy for more details.

Ephemeral Images over HTTP

Historically, MAAS has used ‘tgt’ to provide images over iSCSI for the ephemeral environments (e.g commissioning, deployment environment, rescue mode, etc). MAAS 2.3 changes the default behaviour by now providing images over HTTP.

These images are now downloaded directly by the initrd. The change means that the initrd loaded on PXE will contact the rack controller to download the image to load in the ephemeral environment. Support for using ‘tgt’ is being phased out in MAAS 2.3, and will no longer be supported from MAAS 2.4 onwards.

For users who would like to continue to use & load their ephemeral images via ‘tgt’, they can disable http boot with the following command.

  maas <user> maas set-config name=http_boot value=False

UI Improvements

Machines, Devices, Controllers

MAAS 2.3 introduces an improved design for the machines, devices and controllers detail pages that include the following changes.

  • “Summary” tab now only provides information about the specific node (machine, device or controller), organised across cards.
  • “Configuration” has been introduced, which includes all editable settings for the specific node (machine, device or controllers).
  • “Logs” consolidates the commissioning output and the installation log output.

Other UI improvements

Other UI improvements that have been made for MAAS 2.3 include:

  • Added DHCP status column on the ‘Subnet’s tab.
  • Added architecture filters
  • Updated VLAN and Space details page to no longer allow inline editing.
  • Updated VLAN page to include the IP ranges tables.
  • Zones page converted to AngularJS (away from YUI).
  • Added warnings when changing a Subnet’s mode (Unmanaged or Managed).
  • Renamed “Device Discovery” to “Network Discovery”.
  • Discovered devices where MAAS cannot determine the hostname now show the hostname as “unknown” and greyed out instead of using the MAC address manufacturer as the hostname.

Rack Controller Deployment

MAAS 2.3 can now automatically deploy rack controllers when deploying a machine. This is done by providing cloud-init user data, and once a machine is deployed, cloud-init will install and configure the rack controller. Upon rack controller registration, MAAS will automatically detect the machine is now a rack controller and it will be transitioned automatically. To deploy a rack controller, users can do so via the API (or CLI), e.g:

maas <user> machine deploy <system_id> install_rackd=True

Please note that this features makes use of the MAAS snap to configure the rack controller on the deployed machine. Since snap store mirrors are not yet available, this will require the machine to have access to the internet to be able to install the MAAS snap.

Controller Versions & Notifications

MAAS now surfaces the version of each running controller and notifies the users of any version mismatch between the region and rack controllers. This helps administrators identify mismatches when upgrading their MAAS on a multi-node MAAS cluster, such as within a HA setup.

Improved DNS Reloading

This new release introduces various improvements to the DNS reload mechanism. This allows MAAS to be smarter about when to reload DNS after changes have been automatically detected or made.

API Improvements

The machines API endpoint now provides more information on the configured storage and provides additional output that includes volume_groups, raids, cache_sets, and bcaches fields.

Django 1.11 support

MAAS 2.3 now supports the latest Django LTS version, Django 1.11. This allows MAAS to work with the newer Django version in Ubuntu Artful, which serves as a preparation for the next Ubuntu LTS release.

  • Users running MAAS in Ubuntu Artful will use Django 1.11.
  • Users running MAAS in Ubuntu Xenial will continue to use Django 1.9.

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admin

Hello MAASters!

I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 RC1 has now been released and it is currently available in PPA and as a snap.
PPA Availability
For those running Ubuntu Xenial and would like to use RC1, please use the following PPA:
ppa:maas/next
Snap Availability
For those running from the snap, or would like to test the snap, please use the Beta channel on the default track:
sudo snap install maas –devmode —beta
 

MAAS 2.3.0 (RC1)

Issues fixed in this release

For more information, visit: https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0rc1

  • LP: #1727576    [2.3, HWTv2] When specific tests timesout there’s no log/output
  • LP: #1728300    [2.3, HWTv2] smartctl interval time checking is too short
  • LP: #1721887    [2.3, HWTv2] No way to override a machine that Failed Testing
  • LP: #1728302    [2.3, HWTv2, UI] Overall health status is redundant
  • LP: #1721827    [2.3, HWTv2] Logging when and why a machine failed testing (due to missing heartbeats/locked/hanged) not available in maas.log
  • LP: #1722665    [2.3, HWTv2] MAAS stores a limited amount of test results
  • LP: #1718779    [2.3] 00-maas-06-get-fruid-api-data fails to run on controller
  • LP: #1729857    [2.3, UI] Whitespace after checkbox on node listing page
  • LP: #1696122    [2.2] Failed to get virsh pod storage: cryptic message if no pools are defined
  • LP: #1716328    [2.2] VM creation with pod accepts the same hostname and push out the original VM
  • LP: #1718044    [2.2] Failed to process node status messages – twisted.internet.defer.QueueOverflow
  • LP: #1723944    [2.x, UI] Node auto-assigned address is not always shown while in rescue mode
  • LP: #1718776    [UI] Tooltips missing from the machines listing page
  • LP: #1724402    no output for failing test
  • LP: #1724627    00-maas-06-get-fruid-api-data fails relentlessly, causes commissioning to fail
  • LP: #1727962    Intermittent failure: TestDeviceHandler.test_list_num_queries_is_the_expected_number
  • LP: #1727360    Make partition size field optional in the API (CLI)
  • LP: #1418044    Avoid picking the wrong IP for MAAS_URL and DEFAULT_MAAS_URL
  • LP: #1729902    When commissioning don’t show message that user has overridden testing

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K. Tsakalozos

I read the Hacker News post Heptio Contour and I thought “Cool! A project from our friends at Heptio, lets see what they got for us”. I wont lie to you, at first I was a bit disappointed because there was no special mention for Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes (CDK) but I understand, I am asking too much :). Let me cover this gap here.

Deploy CDK

To deploy CDK on Ubuntu you need to just do a:

> sudo snap install conjure-up --classic
> conjure-up kubernetes-core

Using ‘kubernetes-core’ will give you a minimal k8s cluster — perfect for our use case. For a larger, more robust cluster, try ‘canonical-kubernetes.’

Deploy Contour and Demo App

CDK already comes with an ingress solution so you need to disable it and deploy Contour. Here we also deploy the demo kuard application:

> juju config kubernetes-worker ingress=false
> kubectl --kubeconfig=/home/jackal/.kube/config apply -f http://j.hept.io/contour-deployment-norbac
> kubectl --kubeconfig=/home/jackal/.kube/config apply -f http://j.hept.io/contour-kuard-example

Get Your App

The Contour service will be on a port that (depending on the cloud you are targeting) might be closed, so you need to open it before accessing kuard:

> kubectl --kubeconfig=/home/jackal/.kube/config get service -n heptio-contour  contour -o wide                                                                                                        
NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGE SELECTOR
contour LoadBalancer 10.152.183.201 <pending> 80:31226/TCP 2m app=contour
juju run --application kubernetes-worker open-port 31226

And here it is running on AWS:

Instead of opening the ports to the outside world you could set the right DNS entries. However, this is specific to the cloud you are deploying to.

As the Contour README says “On AWS, create a CNAME record that maps the host in your Ingress object to the ELB address.”
“If you have an IP address instead (on GCE, for example), create an A record.”
For a localhost deployment your ports should not be blocked and you can fake a DNS entry by editing /etc/hosts.

Thank you Heptio. Keep it up!

Resources

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admin

Hello MAASters!

I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 Beta 3 has now been released and it is currently available in PPA and as a snap.
PPA Availability
For those running Ubuntu Xenial and would like to use beta 3, please use the following PPA:
ppa:maas/next
Snap Availability
For those running from the snap, or would like to test the snap, please use the Beta channel on the default track:
sudo snap install maas –devmode —beta
 

MAAS 2.3.0 (beta3)

Issues fixed in this release

For more information, visit: https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0beta3
  • LP: #1727551    [2.3] Commissioning shows results from script that no longer exists

  • LP: #1696485    [2.2, HA] MAAS dhcp does not offer up multiple domains to search

  • LP: #1696661    [2.2, HA] MAAS should offer multiple DNS servers in HA case

  • LP: #1724235    [2.3, HWTv2] Aborted test should not show as failure

  • LP: #1721824    [2.3, HWTv2] Overall health status is missing

  • LP: #1727547    [2.3, HWTv2] Aborting testing goes back into the incorrect state

  • LP: #1722848    [2.3, HWTv2] Memtester test is not robust

  • LP: #1727568    [2.3, HWTv2, regression] Hardware Tests tab does not show what tests are running

  • LP: #1721268    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Metrics table (e.g. from fio test) is not padded to MAAS’ standard

  • LP: #1721823    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] No way to surface a failed test that’s non CPU, Mem, Storage in machine listing page

  • LP: #1721886    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Hardware Test tab doesn’t auto-update

  • LP: #1559353    [2.0a3] “Add Hardware > Chassis” cannot find off-subnet chassis BMCs

  • LP: #1705594    [2.2] rackd errors after fresh install

  • LP: #1718517    [2.3] Exceptions while processing commissioning output cause timeouts rather than being appropriately surfaced

  • LP: #1722406    [2.3] API allows “deploying” a machine that’s already deployed

  • LP: #1724677    [2.x] [critical] TFTP back-end failed right after node repeatedly requests same file via tftp

  • LP: #1726474    [2.x] psycopg2.IntegrityError: update or delete on table “maasserver_node” violates foreign key constraint

  • LP: #1727073    [2.3] rackd — 12% connected to region controllers.

  • LP: #1722671    [2.3, pod] Unable to delete a machine or a pod if the pod no longer exists

  • LP: #1680819    [2.x, UI] Tooltips go off screen

  • LP: #1725908    [2.x] deleting user with static ip mappings throws 500

  • LP: #1726865    [snap,2.3beta3] maas init uses the default gateway in the default region URL

  • LP: #1724181    maas-cli missing dependencies: netifaces, tempita

  • LP: #1724904    Changing PXE lease in DHCP snippets global sections does not work

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admin

Hello MAASters!

It’s been two weeks since my last update when the MAAS 2.3 beta 2 release was announced! Since then, the MAAS team has been split, both by participating in internal events (and recovering from travel) as well as continue to focus on the stabilization of MAAS 2.3. As such, I’m happy to provide the updates of the past couple of weeks.

MAAS 2.3
In the past couple of weeks the team has been focused on stabilizing MAAS 2.3 and has fixed the following issues:

  • LP: #1705594    [2.2, HA] rackd errors after fresh install
  • LP: #1722848    [2.3, HWTv2] Memtester test is not robust
  • LP: #1724677    [2.x] [critical] TFTP back-end failed right after node repeatedly requests same file via tftp
  • LP: #1727073    [2.3, HA] rackd — 12% connected to region controllers.
  • LP: #1696485    [2.2, HA] MAAS dhcp does not offer up multiple domains to search
  • LP: #1696661    [2.2, HA] MAAS should offer multiple DNS servers in HA case
  • LP: #1721268    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Metrics table (e.g. from fio test) is not padded to MAAS’ standard
  • LP: #1721886    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Hardware Test tab doesn’t auto-update
  • LP: #1722671    [2.3, pod] Unable to delete a machine or a pod if the pod no longer exists
  • LP: #1724181    maas-cli missing dependencies: netifaces, tempita
  • LP: #1724235    [2.3, HWTv2] Aborted test should not show as failure
  • LP: #1726865    [snap,2.3beta3] maas init uses the default gateway in the default region URL
  • LP: #1724904    Changing PXE lease in DHCP snippets global sections does not work
  • LP: #1680819    [2.x, UI] Tooltips go off screen

 

MAAS 2.4
I’m happy to announce that the roadmap for  MAAS 2.4 has now been defined, and it is targeted for April 2018. However, I’ll create a bit of suspense as we will announce the upcoming features once MAAS 2.3 final has been released! Stay tuned!

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K. Tsakalozos

When was the last time you had one of those “I wish I knew about that <time period> ago” moments? One of mine was when I saw MAAS (Metal as a Service). Back at the University, as a member of the MADgIK lab, I had to administer a couple of racks. These were the days of Xen paravirtualization, Eucaliptus and the GRID. Interesting times, but I now realise that if I had MAAS and Juju back then, I would have finished with that adventure a couple of years sooner!

Was told blogs with figures are more attractive. There you go!

From a high level MAAS will render your physical cluster into an IaaS cloud that provisions physical instead of virtual machines. As you might expect a PXE server will serve the images you ask via a good looking web UI. MAAS will discover what is on your network and make it dead simple to set VLANs and network spaces. Juju can use your MaaS deployment as if it were a cloud. This enables you to deploy OpenStack, Kubernetes and BigData solutions directly onto your hardware. It is a really powerful combination that can save you time (in the range of years in my case).

Lets do it!

Do not waste any more time on this blog, go and try MAAS on QEMU instances on your own machine. This play list will get you started. At the end you will have a (virtual) cluster on QEMU. One of the machines will act as the MAAS controller, the rest will be the cluster nodes.

Your virtual cluster.
MAAS nodes

Next step is to use MAAS from Juju.

Just to show off :)

Conclusion

I am off to the shop to get more RAM. No wonder this is such a short blog.

Resources

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admin

Hello MAASters!

I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 Beta 2 has now been released and it is currently available in PPA and as a snap.
PPA Availability
For those running Ubuntu Xenial and would like to use beta 2, please use the following PPA:
ppa:maas/next
Snap Availability
For those running from the snap, or would like to test the snap, please use the Beta channel on the default track:
sudo snap install maas –devmode —beta
 

MAAS 2.3.0 (beta 2)

Issues fixed in this release

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0beta2

  • LP: #1711760    [2.3] resolv.conf is not set (during commissioning or testing)

  • LP: #1721108    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Machine details cards – Don’t show “see results” when no tests have been run on a machine

  • LP: #1721111    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Machine details cards – Storage card doesn’t match CPU/Memory one

  • LP: #1721548    [2.3] Failure on controller refresh seem to be causing version to not get updated

  • LP: #1710092    [2.3, HWTv2] Hardware Tests have a short timeout

  • LP: #1721113    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Machine details cards – Storage – If multiple disks, condense the card instead of showing all disks

  • LP: #1721524    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] When upgrading from older MAAS, Storage HW tests are not mapped to the disks

  • LP: #1721587    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Commissioning logs (and those of v2 HW Tests) are not being shown

  • LP: #1719015    $TTL in zone definition is not updated

  • LP: #1721276    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Hardware Test tab – Table alignment for the results doesn’t align with titles

  • LP: #1721525    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Storage card on machine details page missing red bar on top if there are failed tests

  • LP: #1722589    syslog full of “topology hint” logs

  • LP: #1719353    [2.3a3, Machine listing] Improve the information presentation of the exact tasks MAAS is running when running hardware testing

  • LP: #1719361    [2.3 alpha 3, HWTv2] On machine listing page, remove success icons for components that passed the tests

  • LP: #1721105    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Remove green success icon from Machine listing page

  • LP: #1721273    [2.3, UI, HWTv2] Storage section on Hardware Test tab does not describe each disk to match the design

Read more
admin

MAAS 2.3.0 (beta1)

New Features & Improvements

Hardware Testing

MAAS 2.3 beta overhauls and improves the visibility of hardware test results and information. This includes various changes across MAAS:

  • Machine Listing page
    • Surface progress and failures of hardware tests, actively showing when a test is pending, running, successful or failed.
  • Machine Details page
    • Summary tab – Provide hardware testing information about the different components (CPU, Memory, Storage)
    • Hardware Tests tab – Completely re-design of the Hardware Test tab. It now shows a list of test results per component. Adds the ability to view more details about the test itself.
    • Storage tab – Ability to view tests results per storage component.

UI Improvements

Machines, Devices, Controllers

MAAS 2.3 beta 1 introduces a new design for the node summary pages:

  • “Summary tab” now only shows information of the machine, in a complete new design.
  • “Settings tab” has been introduced. It now includes the ability to edit such node.
  • “Logs tab” now consolidates the commissioning output and the installation log output.

Other UI improvements

Other UI improvements that have been made for MAAS 2.3 beta 1 includes:

  • Add DHCP status column on the ‘Subnet’s tab.
  • Add architecture filters
  • Update VLAN and Space details page to no longer allow inline editing.
  • Update VLAN page to include the IP ranges tables.
  • Convert the Zones page into AngularJS (away from YUI).
  • Add warnings when changing a Subnet’s mode (Unmanaged or Managed).

Rack Controller Deployment

MAAS beta 1 now adds the ability to deploy any machine with the rack controller, which is only available via the API.

API Improvements

MAAS 2.3 beta 1 introduces API output for volume_groups, raids, cache_sets, and bcaches field to the machines endpoint.

Known issues:

The following are a list of known UI issues affecting hardware testing:

Issues fixed in this release

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0beta1

  • #1711320    [2.3, UI] Can’t ‘Save changes’ and ‘Cancel’ on machine/device details page
  • #1696270    [2.3] Toggling Subnet from Managed to Unmanaged doesn’t warn the user that behavior changes
  • #1717287    maas-enlist doesn’t work when provided with serverurl with IPv6 address
  • #1718209    PXE configuration for dhcpv6 is wrong
  • #1718270    [2.3] MAAS improperly determines the version of some installs
  • #1718686    [2.3, master] Machine lists shows green checks on components even when no tests have been run
  • #1507712    cli: maas logout causes KeyError for other profiles
  • #1684085    [2.x, Accessibility] Inconsistent save states for fabric/subnet/vlan/space editing
  • #1718294    [packaging] dpkg-reconfigure for region controller refers to an incorrect network topology assumption

Read more
admin

Hello MAASters!

This past week, the MAAS team met face to face in NYC! The week was concentrated on finalizing the improvements that users will be able to enjoy in MAAS 2.3 and preparing the for the first beta release. While MAAS 2.3.0 beta 1 will be announced separately, we wanted to bring you an update of the work the team has been doing over the past couple weeks.

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

  • Hardware Testing Phase 2
    • Backend work to support the new UX changes for hardware testing. This includes websockets handlers, directives and triggers.
    • UI – Add ability to upload custom hardware tests scripts.
    • UI – Update the machine listing page to show hardware status. This shows status of hardware testing while pending, running, failed, degraded, timed out, etc.
    • UI – Implement new designs for Hardware Testing:
      • Add cards (new design) on node details pages that include metrics (if tests have been run) and hardware test information.
      • Add a new Hardware Test tab that better surfaces status of hardware tests per component
      • Add a more detailed log view of hardware test results.
      • Surface hardware test results per storage device on each of the block devices (on the machines details page).
      • Add ability to view all test results performed on each of the components overtime.
  • Switch Support
    • Add actions to switch listing page (still under a feature flag)
    • Fetch Wedge 100 switch metadata using the FRUID API endpoint on the BMC.
    • UI – Add websockets and triggers to support the UI changes for switches.
    • UI – Update the UI to display the vendor and model on the switch listing page (behind feature flag)

  • UI improvements
    • Add DHCP status column on the ‘Subnet’s tab.
    • Add architecture filters
    • Implement a new design for node details page:
      • Consolidate all of machine, devices, controllers, switches Summary tab into cards.
      • Add a new Settings tab, combined with the Power tab to allow editing different components of machines, devices, controllers, etc.
      • Consolidate commissioning output and installation logs in a “Log” tab.
    • Update VLAN and Space details page to no longer allow inline editing.
    • Update VLAN page to include the IP ranges tables.
    • Convert the Zones page into AngularJS (away from YUI).
    • Add warnings when changing a Subnet’s mode (Unmanaged or Managed).

  • Rack controller deployment
    • Add ability to deploy any machine as a rack controller via the API.

  • API changes:
    • Add volume_groups, raids, cache_sets, and bcaches field to the Machine API output.

  • Issues fixed:
    • #1711320    [2.3, UI] Can’t ‘Save changes’ and ‘Cancel’ on machine/device details page
    • #1696270    [2.3] Toggling Subnet from Managed to Unmanaged doesn’t warn the user that behavior changes
    • #1717287    maas-enlist doesn’t work when provided with serverurl with IPv6 address
    • #1718209    PXE configuration for dhcpv6 is wrong
    • #1718270    [2.3] MAAS improperly determines the version of some installs
    • #1718686    [2.3, master] Machine lists shows green checks on components even when no tests have been run
    • #1507712    cli: maas logout causes KeyError for other profiles
    • #1684085    [2.x, Accessibility] Inconsistent save states for fabric/subnet/vlan/space editing
    • #1718294    [packaging] dpkg-reconfigure for region controller refers to an incorrect network topology assumption

Libmaas

We have improved the library to allow the managing of block devices and partitions.

  • Add ability to list machine’s block devices.
  • Add ability to update, create and delete block devices.
  • Add ability to list machine’s partitions.
  • Add ability to update, create and delete partitions.
  • Add ability to format/unformat partitions and block devices.
  • Add ability to mount/unmount partitions and block devices.

The release of a new version of libmaas will be announced separately.

CLI

MAAS has been working on a new CLI that’s based (and uses) MAAS’ python client library. The work that has been done includes:

  • Add ability to log in/log out via user and password.
  • Add ability to switch between profiles.
  • Add support for interactive login.
  • Add help command.
  • Ability to list nodes, machines, devices, controllers.
  • Ability to list all components in the networking model (subnets, vlans, spaces, fabrics).
  • Ability to obtain details on machines, devices and controllers.
  • Ability to obtain details on subnets, vlans, spaces, fabrics.
  • Ability to perform actions on machines (with the exception of testing and rescue mode).
  • Add ability to perform actions for multiple nodes
  • Add a ‘maas ssh’ command.
  • When listing, add support for automatic paging.
  • Add ability to view output in different formats (pretty, plain, json, yaml, csv).
  • Show progress indication on actions that are synchronous or blocking.

The release of the new CLI will be announced separately.

Read more
jdstrand

Finding your VMs and containers via DNS resolution so you can ssh into them can be tricky. I was talking with Stéphane Graber today about this and he reminded me of his excellent article: Easily ssh to your containers and VMs on Ubuntu 12.04.

These days, libvirt has the `virsh dominfo` command and LXD has a slightly different way of finding the IP address.

Here is an updated `~/.ssh/config` that I’m now using (thank you Stéphane for the update for LXD):

Host *.lxd
    #User ubuntu
    #StrictHostKeyChecking no
    #UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null
    ProxyCommand nc $(lxc list -c s4 $(echo %h | sed "s/\.lxd//g") %h | grep RUNNING | cut -d' ' -f4) %p
 
Host *.vm
    #StrictHostKeyChecking no
    #UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null
    ProxyCommand nc $(virsh domifaddr $(echo %h | sed "s/\.vm//g") | awk -F'[ /]+' '{if (NR>2 && $5) print $5}') %p

You may want to uncomment `StrictHostKeyChecking` and `UserKnownHostsFile` depending on your environment (see `man ssh_config`) for details.

With the above, I can ssh in with:

$ ssh foo.vm uptime
16:37:26 up 50 min, 0 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
$ ssh bar.lxd uptime
21:37:35 up 12:39, 2 users, load average: 0.55, 0.73, 0.66

Enjoy!


Filed under: canonical, ubuntu, ubuntu-server

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admin

MAAS 2.3.0 (alpha3)

New Features & Improvements

Hardware Testing (backend only)

MAAS has now introduced an improved hardware testing framework. This new framework allows MAAS to test individual components of a single machine, as well as providing better feedback to the user for each of those tests. This feature has introduced:

  • Ability to define a custom testing script with a YAML definition – Each custom test can be defined with YAML that will provide information about the test. This information includes the script name, description, required packages, and other metadata about what information the script will gather. This information can then be displayed in the UI.

  • Ability to pass parameters – Adds the ability to pass specific parameters to the scripts. For example, in upcoming beta releases, users would be able to select which disks they want to test if they don’t want to test all disks.

  • Running test individually – Improves the way how hardware tests are run per component. This allows MAAS to run tests against any individual component (such a single disk).

  • Adding additional performance tests

    • Added a CPU performance test with 7z.

    • Added a storage performance test with fio.

Please note that individual results for each of the components is currently only available over the API. Upcoming beta release will include various UI improvements that will allow the user to better surface and interface with these new features.

Rack Controller Deployment in Whitebox Switches

MAAS has now the ability to install and configure a MAAS rack controller once a machine has been deployed. As of today, this feature is only available when MAAS detects the machine is a whitebox switch. As such, all MAAS certified whitebox switches will be deployed with a MAAS rack controller. Currently certified switches include the Wedge 100 and the Wedge 40.

Please note that this features makes use of the MAAS snap to configure the rack controller on the deployed machine. Since snap store mirrors are not yet available, this will require the machine to have access to the internet to be able to install the MAAS snap.

Improved DNS Reloading

This new release introduces various improvements to the DNS reload mechanism. This allows MAAS to be smarter about when to reload DNS after changes have been automatically detected or made.

UI – Controller Versions & Notifications

MAAS now surfaces the version of each running controller, and notifies the users of any version mismatch between the region and rack controllers. This helps administrators identify mismatches when upgrading their MAAS on a multi-node MAAS cluster, such as a HA setup.

Issues fixed in this release

  • #1702703    Cannot run maas-regiond without /bin/maas-rack
  • #1711414    [2.3, snap] Cannot delete a rack controller running from the snap
  • #1712450    [2.3] 500 error when uploading a new commissioning script
  • #1714273    [2.3, snap] Rack Controller from the snap fails to power manage on IPMI
  • #1715634    ‘tags machines’ takes 30+ seconds to respond with list of 9 nodes
  • #1676992    [2.2] Zesty ISO install fails on region controller due to postgresql not running
  • #1703035    MAAS should warn on version skew between controllers
  • #1708512    [2.3, UI] DNS and Description Labels misaligned on subnet details page
  • #1711700    [2.x] MAAS should avoid updating DNS if nothing changed
  • #1712422    [2.3] MAAS does not report form errors on script upload
  • #1712423    [2.3] 500 error when clicking the ‘Upload’ button with no script selected.
  • #1684094    [2.2.0rc2, UI, Subnets] Make the contextual menu language consistent across MAAS
  • #1688066    [2.2] VNC/SPICE graphical console for debugging purpose on libvirt pod created VMs
  • #1707850    [2.2] MAAS doesn’t report cloud-init failures post-deployment
  • #1711714    [2.3] cloud-init reporting not configured for deployed ubuntu core systems
  • #1681801    [2.2, UI] Device discovery – Tooltip misspelled
  • #1686246    [CLI help] set-storage-layout says Allocated when it should say Ready
  • #1621175    BMC acc setup during auto-enlistment fails on Huawei model RH1288 V3

For full details please visit:

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.3.0alpha3

Read more
admin

Hello MAASters! This is the development summary for the past couple of weeks:

MAAS 2.3 (current development release)

  • Hardware Testing Phase 2
    • Added parameters form for script parameters validation.
    • Accept and validate results from nodes.
    • Added hardware testing 7zip CPU benchmarking builtin script.
    • WIP – ability to send parameters to test scripts and process results of individual components. (e.g. will provide the ability for users to select which disk they want to test, and capture results accordingly)
    • WIP – disk benchmark test via Fio.
  • Network beaconing & better network discovery
    • MAAS controllers now send out beacon advertisements every 30 seconds, regardless of whether or not any solicitations were received.
  • Switch Support
    • Backend changes to automatically detect switches (during commissioning) and make use of the new switch model.
    • Introduce base infrastructure for NOS drivers, similar to the power management one.
    • Install the Rack Controller when deploying a supported Switch (Wedge 40, Wedge 100)
    • UI – Add a switch listing tab behind a feature flag.
  • Minor UI improvements
    • The version of MAAS installed on each controller is now reported on the controller details page.
  • python-libmaas
    • Added ability to power on, power off, and query the power state of a machine.
    • Added PowerState enum to make it easy to check the current power state of a machine.
    • Added ability to reference the children and parent interfaces of an interface.
    • Added ability to reference the owner of node.
    • Added base level `Node` object that `Machine`, `Device`, `RackController`, and `RegionController` extend from.
    • Added `as_machine`, `as_device`, `as_rack_controller`, and `as_region_controller` to the Node object. Allowing the ability to convert a `Node` into the type you need to perform an action on.
  • Bug fixes:
    • LP: #1676992 – force Postgresql restart on maas-region-controller installation.
    • LP: #1708512 – Fix DNS & Description misalignment
    • LP: #1711714 – Add cloud-init reporting for deployed Ubuntu Core systems
    • LP: #1684094 – Make context menu language consistent for IP ranges.
    • LP: #1686246 – Fix docstring for set-storage-layout operation
    • LP: #1681801 – Device discovery – Tooltip misspelled
    • LP: #1688066 – Add Spice graphical console to pod created VM’s
    • LP: #1711700 – Improve DNS reloading so its happens only when required.
    • LP: #1712423, #1712450, #1712422 – Properly handle a ScriptForm being sent an empty file.
    • LP: #1621175 – Generate password for BMC’s with non-spec compliant password policy
    • LP: #1711414 – Fix deleting a rack when it is installed via the snap
    • LP: #1702703 – Can’t run region controller without a rack controller installed.

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K.Tsakalozos

Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.

It’s all about portability

Take a step back and think about how much of your effort goes into your product’s portability. A lot, I’d wager. You don’t wait to see what hardware your customer is on before you start coding your app. Widely accepted architectures give you a large customer base, so you target those. You skip optimisations in order to maximize compatibility. The language you are using ensures you can move to another platform/architecture.

Packaging your application is also important if you want to broaden your audience. The latest trend here is to use containers such as docker. Essentially containers (much like VMs) are another layer of abstraction for the sake of portability. You can package your app such that it will run anywhere.

https://medium.com/media/e87190de95f6f33f07f75beb4c8e7f39/href

Things go wrong

When you first create a PoC, even a USB stick is enough to distribute it! After that you should take things more seriously. I see products “dockerised” so that they run everywhere, yet the deployment story is limited to a single cloud. You do all the work to deliver your app everywhere only to fail when you actually need to deliver it! It doesn’t make sense — or to put it more accurately it only makes sense in the short term.

The overlooked feature

Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes (CDK) will deploy exactly the same Kubernetes in all major clouds (AWS, GCE, Azure, VMware, Openstack, Joynet), bare metal, or even your local machine (using lxd). When you first evaluate CDK you may think: “I do not need this”, or even “I hate these extra two lines where I decide the cloud provider because I already know I am going full AWS”. At that point you are tempted to take the easy way out and get pinned to a single Kubernetes provider. However, soon you will find yourself in need of feature F from cloud C or Kubernetes version vX.Y.Z. Worse is when your potential customer is on a different platform and you discover the extent of dependencies you have on your provider.

Before you click off this tab thinking I am exaggerating, think about this: the best devops are done by the devs themselves. How easy is it to train all devs to use AWS for spawning containers? It is trivial, right? Suppose you get two more customers, one on Azure and one on GCE. How easy is it to train your team to perform devops against two additional clouds? You now have to deal with three different monitoring and logging mechanisms. That might still be doable since AWS, GCE, and Azure are all well behaved. What if a customer wants their own on-prem cluster? You are done — kiss your portability and velocity goodbye. Your team will be constantly firefighting, chasing after misaligned versions, and emulating features across platforms.

How is it done

Under the hood of CDK you will find Juju. Juju abstracts the concepts of IaaS. It will provision everything from bare metal machines in your rack, to VMs on any major cloud, to lxd containers on your laptop. On top of these units Juju will deploy Kubernetes thus keeping the deployment agnostic to the underlying provider. Two points here:

  1. Juju has been here for years and is used both internally and externally by Canonical to successfully deliver solutions such as Openstack and Big Data.
  2. Since your Kubernetes is built on IaaS cloud offerings you are able to tailor node properties to match your needs. You may also find it is more cost effective.

Also check out Conjure-up, an easy-to-use wizard that will get your Kubernetes cluster up-and-running in minutes.

To conclude

I am sure you have your reasons to “dockerize” your application and then deliver it on a single cloud. It is just counter-intuitive. If you want to make the most from your portability decisions you should consider CDK.

References:

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Dustin Kirkland

Earlier this month, I spoke at ContainerDays, part of the excellent DevOpsDays series of conferences -- this one in lovely Portland, Oregon.

I gave a live demo of Kubernetes running directly on bare metal.  I was running it on an 11-node Ubuntu Orange Box -- but I used the exact same tools Canonical's world class consulting team uses to deploy Kubernetes onto racks of physical machines.
You see, the ability to run Kubernetes on bare metal, behind your firewall is essential to the yin-yang duality of Cloud Native computing.  Sometimes, what you need is actually a Native Cloud.
Deploying Kubernetes into virtual machines in the cloud is rather easy, straightforward, with dozens of tools now that can handle that.

But there's only one tool today, that can deploy the exact same Kubernetes to AWS, Azure, GCE, as well as VMware, OpenStack, and bare metal machines.  That tools is conjure-up, which acts as a command line front end to several essential Ubuntu tools: MAAS, LXD, and Juju.

I don't know if the presentation was recorded, but I'm happy to share with you my slides for download, and embedded here below.  There are a few screenshots within that help convey the demo.




Cheers,
Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

Back in March, we asked the HackerNews community, “What do you want to see in Ubuntu 17.10?”: https://ubu.one/AskHN

A passionate discussion ensued, the results of which are distilled into this post: http://ubu.one/thankHN

In fact, you can check that link, http://ubu.one/thankHN and see our progress so far this cycle.  We already have a beta code in 17.10 available for your testing for several of those:

And several others have excellent work in progress, and will be complete by 17.10:

In summary -- your feedback matters!  There are hundreds of engineers and designers working for *you* to continue making Ubuntu amazing!

Along with the switch from Unity to GNOME, we’re also reviewing some of the desktop applications we package and ship in Ubuntu.  We’re looking to crowdsource input on your favorite Linux applications across a broad set of classic desktop functionality.

We invite you to contribute by listing the applications you find most useful in Linux in order of preference. To help us parse your input, please copy and paste the following bullets with your preferred apps in Linux desktop environments.  You’re welcome to suggest multiple apps, please just order them prioritized (e.g. Web Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Chromium).  If some of your functionality has moved entirely to the web, please note that too (e.g. Email Client: Gmail web, Office Suite: Office360 web).  If the software isn’t free/open source, please note that (e.g. Music Player: Spotify client non-free).  If I’ve missed a category, please add it in the same format.  If your favorites aren’t packaged for Ubuntu yet, please let us know, as we’re creating hundreds of new snap packages for Ubuntu desktop applications, and we’re keen to learn what key snaps we’re missing.

  • Web Browser: ???
  • Email Client: ???
  • Terminal: ???
  • IDE: ???
  • File manager: ???
  • Basic Text Editor: ???
  • IRC/Messaging Client: ???
  • PDF Reader: ???
  • Office Suite: ???
  • Calendar: ???
  • Video Player: ???
  • Music Player: ???
  • Photo Viewer: ???
  • Screen recording: ???

In the interest of opening this survey as widely as possible, we’ve cross-posted this thread to HackerNews, Reddit, and Slashdot.  We very much look forward to another friendly, energetic, collaborative discussion.

Or, you can fill out the survey here: https://ubu.one/apps1804

Thank you!
On behalf of @Canonical and @Ubuntu

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Dustin Kirkland


I met up with the excellent hosts of the The Changelog podcast at OSCON in Austin a few weeks back, and joined them for a short segment.

That podcast recording is now live!  Enjoy!


The Changelog 256: Ubuntu Snaps and Bash on Windows Server with Dustin Kirkland
Listen on Changelog.com



Cheers,
Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

Thank you to Oracle Cloud for inviting me to speak at this month's CloudAustin Meetup hosted by Rackspace.

I very much enjoyed deploying Canonical Kubernetes on Ubuntu in the Oracle Cloud, and then exploring Kubernetes a bit, how it works, the architecture, and a simple workload within.  I'm happy to share my slides below, and you can download a PDF here:


If you're interested in learning more, check out:
It was a great audience, with plenty of good questions, pizza, and networking!

I'm pleased to share my slide deck here.

Cheers,
Dustin

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K.Tsakalozos

Juju Made the Deadline

Ok… I am exaggerating. Juju did not make the deadline, Panagiotis and his co-authors with their hard work made the deadline. Ah, ok you caught me lying again… One of Panagiotis co-authors (me) did not work hard, actually he did not work on the paper at all! Normally, I would publicly apologize, but let me first explain why I am in the author’s list.

Panagiotis is a PhD researcher at the University of Athens. He is also a member of the Madgik lab, which is where I know him from. Panagiotis is interested in Graphs, so he is into Apache Giraph and GraphX for Apache Spark. Knowing how frustrating his work may get, I felt obliged to introduce him to Juju. The goal was to save him some time from deploying and configuring infrastructures and have him focus on real work.

Juju offers an often overlooked feature that proves to be immensely useful to researchers and people who just want to experiment with some software without committing to it. You can deploy an infrastructure on your local machine in less than 10 minutes, take it for a test drive, and then when you are happy, move to a cloud and test at scale. In the case of the Madgik lab, where Panagiotis is, getting cloud resources includes contacting the IT department and wait for them to find time and resources. I think I saw a spark in Panagiotis eyes when I showed him my laptop, or was it the reflection of the Spark infrastructure running in LXC containers, I don’t remember. He immediately showed me a Spark deployment of his own with a bunch of worker nodes that took him a week to set up. After all this time, he was still not sure if that configuration was appropriate for running tests and publishing results. What if he had misconfigured something? What if a minor config change (e.g.: cache size) would skew the results? That is not to say Juju has a magic way to optimally tune the infrastructure for your needs, but we try to choose sensible configuration variables based on the feedback we get from the community.

Panagiotis office looked chaotic, computer towers, screens and keyboards all over the place. Funny how he had prepared a VM for us to work on! Setting up Juju was flawless. Deploying a mapreduce processing bundle and scaling it within the limits of 48GB of RAM and 16 cores was a piece of cake. We even double checked that after a reboot all nodes would come up. All this under the eye of George, the head of the lab’s IT. After an hour or so, we said our goodbyes.

A few weeks later, I received an email titled SocInf 2016 submission and my name in the author’s list. Surprised, I asked, “Why?” The response was that, “without Juju we wouldn’t have made the deadline!”

So… you will find us at the 2nd International Workshop on Social Influence Analysis, co-located with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2016) in NY on the 9th of July. The paper is titled Pinpointing Influence in Pinterest. Kudos to Panagiotis Liakos, Katia Papakonstantinopoulou, Michael Sioutis, Alex Delis and the Juju Big Data team.

Original article

Originally published at insights.ubuntu.com on June 15, 2016.

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