Local community events in Milan and Rome highlight how research is powered by source technologies.


A lot separates Milan and Rome—including three hours by train—but one thing that connects these two cities is the open infrastructure community. 

The Italian community organizers—Binario Etico and Irideos— made two big changes to the local event this year. First, they renamed the OpenStack Day to OpenInfra Days to broaden the scope of the content at the event. They also planned two events this year in order to put the latest trends and user stories in front of as many local community members as possible. The events would not have been possible without the support of the event sponsors: D2iQ, GCI, Linux Professional Institute, OpenStack Foundation, and Mellanox. 

A combined crowd of over 300 attendees gathered in Milan and Rome last week at the OpenInfra Days Italy to hear how organizations are building and operating open infrastructure. 

Mariano Cunietti and Davide Lamanna kicked off both events explaining how important it is for European organizations to embrace open source components and cross community collaboration.

“It’s the way we collaborate and the way we shape communication flow that works,” Cunietti said. “Collaborative open source is a way to shift technicians from being consumers to participants and citizens of the community. This is a very important shift.” 

From a regional perspective, Lamanna explained how European standards and privacy laws create a requirement that have given local, open source organizations a competitive advantage around interoperability and flexibility features.   

To exemplify the power of open infrastructure and community collaboration in Europe, several users shared their production stories. An industry that is very pervasive in Europe—particularly Italy—is research. 

  • GARR: Saying that no infrastructure is open until you open it, GARR harmonizes and implements infrastructure for the benefit of the scientific community in Italy—amassing to around 4 million users.  Alex Barchiesi shared some stats around GARR’s current OpenStack deployment—8,500 cores with 10 PB of storage in five data centers across three regions—as well as their approach to identity federation. GARR’s concept of federation: the simpler, the better; the less requirements, the more inclusive. With their multi-region, multi-domain model, Barchiesi explained how they have architected a shared identity service. To give back to the community, the GARR team contributes upstream to OpenStack Horizon, k8s-keystone auth, and juju charms. 
  • The Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)—an Italian public research institute for high energy physics (who also collaborates with CERN!)—has a private cloud infrastructure that is OpenStack-based and geographically distributed in three major INFN data centers in Italy. The adoption of Ceph as distributed object storage solution enables INFN to provide both local block storage in each of the interested sites and a ready-to-use disaster recovery solution implemented among the same sites. Collectively, the main data centers have around 50,000 CPU cores, 50 PB of enterprise-level disk space, and 60 PB of tape storage.  
  • While CERN is not based in Italy, their OpenStack and Kubernetes use case provides learnings around the world. Jan van Eldik shared updated stats around CERN’s open infrastructure environment with focuses on OpenStack Magnum, Ironic and Kubernetes. CERN by the numbers: more than 300,000 OpenStack cores, 500 Kubernetes clusters, and 3,300 servers managed by OpenStack Ironic (expected to be 15,000 in the next year). 

Outside of the research sector, other users who shared their open infrastructure story include the city government of Rome’s OpenStack use case, Sky Italia’s creation of a Kubernetes blueprint and network setup that empowers their brand new Sky Q Fibra service, and the SmartME project that is deploying OpenStack at the edge for smart city projects in four cities across Italy. 

What’s next for the open infrastructure community in Italy? Stay tuned on the OpenStack community events page for deadlines and event dates. 

Can’t wait until 2020? Join the global open infrastructure community at the Open Infrastructure Summit Shanghai from November 4-6.

Cover photo courtesy of Frederico Minzoni.

Allison Price