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An automated approach to OpenStack migration and configuration: Free chapter

Configuration management eases the burden of OpenStack administration, including instance migration, as described in this free downloadable chapter from OpenStack Administration with Ansible.

Private cloud offers security and flexible application scaling -- and maybe lower costs -- under the IT team's control. However, it also leads to new administration complexities and challenges.

The OpenStack open source cloud platform typically creates private infrastructure as a service and requires architecture skills to deploy without a third-party vendor. Tasks such as OpenStack migration among nodes, the creation and isolation of tenants on an OpenStack deployment and setting cloud resource quotas may be daunting to enterprise IT teams working within this framework.

Ansible facilitates OpenStack administration via agentless configuration management and automation capabilities. The flexibility in Ansible's dynamic inventory management lets enterprises manage cloud resources simply, said Walter Bentley, author of OpenStack Administration with Ansible and senior technical marketing engineer at Rackspace, a cloud service provider. Users can deploy and change the OS and services with canned preset configurations rather than ad hoc scripts, he explained.

OpenStack Administration with Ansible covers tenant creation and management, cloud quotas, snapshots and inventorying with Ansible, instance migration, health monitoring and features of the open source cloud platform. Instance migration, traditional and live, can benefit from automation. OpenStack migration with the native Nova compute resource access feature isn't perfect, Bentley noted, nor is Nova well known among cloud admins.

In Chapter 6 of OpenStack Administration with Ansible, "Migrating Instances," Bentley provides requirements, steps and commands to perform manual and automated OpenStack migration, as well as tips for easier execution.

"Migration, whether live or not, has a practical use case in your OpenStack cloud," he writes. "Within OpenStack, you have the capability of migrating instances from one compute node to another. You may do this for maintenance purposes and/or to rebalance the resource utilization across the cloud."

Due to the intrusive nature of instance migration, Bentley adds, "it feels like a perfect administrative task to try and automate. With something like this, timing and accuracy is very critical." Once the administrator automates migrations in Ansible, Bentley says, they "supply only a few variable values, and then execute only one command" in future uses.

Download the full chapter here.

"OpenStack is really more mainstream [as it matures] -- the project stays close to enterprises' [needs]," Bentley said, giving examples such as integrating with platforms as a service and enabling IT containerization.

Bentley advises administrators new to Ansible automation to read best practices documentation before diving in.

"Use roles. Share your code. Don't put all your code in one long playbook," he said. If you learn the right way from the beginning, you won't develop bad habits.

Editor's note: This excerpt is from OpenStack Administration with Ansible, authored by Walter Bentley, published by Packt Publishing, January 2016, ISBN 139781785884610. The e-book is discounted to $10 through August 8, 2016.

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