Lauren Sell reports on bitcoin infrastructure, innovation at CERN and Nokia’s entry to the 100K core club.


BUDAPEST — More than 200 people gathered at the fifth annual OpenStack Days Budapest, organized by local community members Marton Kiss and Mark Korondi, to share their stories, recruit and build relationships. A few notable firsts: sessions about edge computing, GPUs and cryptocurrency, as well as sponsorships from Silicon valley storage firms Datera and SoftIron.

Talking to the crowd, there were quite a few new OpenStack users ramping up their clouds and keen on getting more involved with the community. We told more than one person to “subscribe to the operator’s mailing list!” to take advantage of the global community of users who have blazed trails.

Genesis Cloud: Building the largest GPU cloud in the world

One of those new users is startup Genesis Cloud, based in Munich. The team of three spun off from Genesis Mining, which provides specialized GPU infrastructure to more than two million bitcoin miners at an efficient, low cost. (The GPUs are used for mining Ethereum, Monero, ZCash etc.) They have incorporated the sister company Genesis Cloud this year with the goal to serve a growing number of use cases for GPUs, leveraging their knowledge and expertise from the large-scale bitcoin mining operation.

While the number of use cases for GPUs is growing — including video transcoding, machine learning and of course gaming — the market price for GPUs from major public cloud providers is extremely high, even with spot pricing. Genesis Cloud wants to lower the barrier to entry by leveraging the efficiency and learnings from the bitcoin mining operation, while also using systems like OpenStack and Kubernetes for software-defined operations. As a result, they want to offer the largest, most price competitive GPU public cloud.

The team attended the Vancouver Summit in May, including Upstream Institute and is anxious to contribute and get more involved in the community. They have been participating in the relatively new Cyborg project, a management framework for hardware accelerators. The Genesis Cloud team is aggressively hiring, so check out their postings on the OpenStack jobs board.

CERN continues to go big and go boldly

Tim Bell gave an update on CERN’s OpenStack cloud, especially relevant because CERN runs several data centers in Hungary. It’s always incredible to hear the stats coming out of the Large Hadron Collider, such as the fact they take 40 million pictures per second when smashing particles, generating more than 1 petabyte of data each second.

Data is immediately filtered down so that only about 20-25GB per second is sent to the computing center via high-speed networking connections. The computing power behind the CERN cloud is more than 300,000 cores and 38,000 virtual machines running OpenStack, and CERN also runs one of the largest Kuberenetes deployments across their public and private cloud environments.

One new update from the CERN team is their use of the OpenStack Mistral workflow service to define a repeatable workflow for burn-in and reallocation of machines. They’ve made all of the code they used publicly available in the OpenStack ops repos.

Bell also talked about how CERN operators dealt with Spectrum/Meltdown vulnerability in January, which required a reboot all of their VMs. They divided the environment into seven sections and rebooted a new section every other day over two weeks. As part of the process, they also developed automation that will allow them to deal with any similar issues in the future more easily.

Nokia zooms into the 100K core club

Nokia runs one of the largest OpenStack clouds you didn’t know about. Several team members from Nokia explained how they are using OpenStack as a product, in their products and in their research and development labs. Nokia has two OpenStack distributions, including one tailored for edge computing and they are actively using Swift to host the docker registry for their VNFs. The team actively contributes to Vitrage, root cause analysis, and Mistral, which is an interesting tie-in to the CERN use case.

Looking ahead to the Berlin Summit and Upstream Institute

The next OpenStack Summit in Berlin, November 13-15, will be the closest global event yet to the Central & Eastern European community. Prior to each Summit, community members run a program called Upstream Institute, created for new contributors who want to learn more about open source, and specifically OpenStack, tools and processes. If you want to get started contributing to OpenStack or other open source projects, save the date for this free event on November 11-12, and meet many of the community members from Hungary who keep it running! More details coming soon.

The videos from this year’s OpenStack Days CEE will be posted to the team’s YouTube channel shortly.