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Centaurus Infrastructure Project Joins Linux Foundation to Advance Cloud Infrastructure for 5G, AI and Edge

Centaurus today is becoming a Linux Foundation Project. The Centaurus Infrastructure Project is a cloud infrastructure platform for building distributed cloud as well as a platform for modern cloud native computing. It supports applications and workloads for 5G, Edge and AI and unifies the orchestration, network provisioning and management of cloud compute and network resources at a regional scale. 

Founding members include Click2cloud, Distributed Systems, Futurewei, GridGain Systems, Reinvent Labs, SODA Foundation and Tu Wien Informatics. Centaurus is an umbrella project for modern distributed computing and hosts both Arktos and Mizar. Arktos is a compute cluster management system designed for large scale clouds, while Mizar is the high-performance cloud-network powered by eXpress Data Path (XDP) and Geneve protocol for high scale cloud. More members and projects are expected to be accepted in the coming months. 

“The market is changing and customers require a new kind of cloud infrastructure that will cater to modern applications and workloads for 5G, AI and Edge,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president and general manager for Linux Foundation Projects. “Centaurus is a technical project with strategic vision, and we’re looking forward to a deep collaboration that advances cloud native computing for generations to come.” 

Current cloud infrastructure technology needs are evolving, requiring companies to manage a larger scale of compute and network resources across data centers and more quickly provision those resources. Centaurus unifies management across bare metal, VMs, containers and serverless, while reducing operational costs and delivering on the low latency and data privacy requirements of edge networks. Centaurus offers a consistent API experience to provision and manage virtual machines, containers, serverless and other types of cloud resources by  combining traditional (Infrastructure as a Service) IaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS) layers into one common infrastructure platform that can simplify cloud management.

“The Linux Foundation’s support in expanding the Centaurus community will accelerate cloud native infrastructure for the most pressing compute and networking demands,” said Dr. Xiong Ying, the current acting TSC chair, Centaurus Infrastructure Project. “It’s large network of open source developers and projects already supporting this future will enable mass collaboration and important integrations for 5G, AI and Edge workloads.” 

To contribute to Centaurus, please visit: https://www.centauruscloud.io/

Supporting Member Quotes

“Click2cloud has been part of the development of Centaurus, which is world class software that will lead organizations to have a clear transition from IaaS to Cloud Native Infrastructure. Click2cloud has already started a development program to enable the journey from IaaS (Openstack) to Cloud Native migration, 5G cloud based on Centaurus reference architecture to support the partner ecosystem. We are very excited for Centaurus to be a part of Linux Foundation,” said Prashant Mishra, CEO, Click2cloud. 

“Distributed cloud architecture is a natural evolution for cloud computing infrastructure. Centaurus is a cloud native infrastructure platform aiming to unify management and orchestration of virtual machines, containers, and other forms of cloud resources natively at scale and at the edge. We have seen many enterprise users and partners wanting a unified solution to build their distributed cloud to manage virtual machines, containers or bare metal-based applications running at cloud as well as at edge sites. We are very pleased to see, today, the Centaurus Infrastructure project becomes a Linux Foundation open-source project, providing an option for community and enterprise users to build their cloud infrastructure to run and manage next generation applications such as AI, 5G and IoT. We look forward to working with the open-source community to realize the vision of Centaurus,” said Dr. Xiong Ying, Sr. Technical VP, Head of Cloud Lab, Futurewei. 

GridGain Systems
“Creating and managing a unified and scalable distributed cloud infrastructure that extends from cloud to edge is increasingly a challenge for organizations worldwide. GridGain Systems has been a proud sponsor and active participant in the development of in-memory computing solutions to support the Centaurus project. We look forward to helping organizations realize the benefits of Centaurus and continuing to help extend its scalability and adoption,” said Nikita Ivanov, Co-Founder and CTO, GridGain Systems. 

Reinvent Labs
“We are a young company, which specializes in cloud computing and delivering cloud-native solutions to our customers across various industries. As such, we are ever stronger witnessing the need to manage cloud services and applications that span across complex and heterogeneous infrastructures, which combine containers, VMs and serverless functions. What is more, such infrastructures are also starting to grow beyond traditional cloud platforms towards the edge on the network. Being part of the Centaurus project will not only allow us to innovate in this space and deliver a platform for unified management of infrastructure resources across both large Cloud platforms and the Edge, but it will also enable us to connect and collaborate with like-minded members for thought leadership and industry best practices,” said Dr. Stefan Nastic, founder and CEO of Reinvent Labs GmbH. 

The SODA Foundation
“The SODA Open Data Framework is an open source data and storage management framework that goes from the edge to the core to the cloud. Centaurus offers the opportunity for SODA to be deployed in the next generation cloud infrastructure for 5G, AI and Edge, and allows both communities to innovate together,” said Steven Tan, SODA Foundation Chairman and VP & CTO Cloud Solution, Storage at Futurewei. 

TU Wien
“We are very excited to be part of the Centaurus ecosystem and honored to be part of this open source movement and contributing in the fields of IoT, Edge intelligence, and Edge and Cloud Computing, including networking and communication aspects, as well as orchestration, resource allocation, and task scheduling,” said Prof. Schahram Dustdar, IEEE Fellow, Member Academia Europaea Professor of Distributed Systems, TU Wien, Austria.

The post Centaurus Infrastructure Project Joins Linux Foundation to Advance Cloud Infrastructure for 5G, AI and Edge appeared first on Linux Foundation.

The Maple Tree, a new data structure for Linux

Last week, Liam Howlett posted the first version of the Maple Tree to the linux-kernel mailing list. The Maple Tree, a collaboration between Liam Howlett and Matthew Wilcox, introduces a B-tree based range-locked tree which could significantly reduce unnecessary contention on the memory management subsystem — with the eventual goal of perhaps removing mmap_sem entirely. They have been working on this for a year…
Click to Read More at Oracle Linux Kernel Development

Linux commands: How to manipulate process priority 

Make your Linux processes play nice with each other.
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How long does your IO take ?

Oracle Linux engineer Rajan Shanmugavelu illustrates how to analyse disk IO latency using Dtrace.   There are times despite having a Highly Available and Fault Tolerant architected storage environment, the disk IO takes an abnormally longer time to complete, potentially causing outages at different levels in a data center. This becomes critical in a Cluster with multiple nodes that are using disk heartbeat…
Click to Read More at Oracle Linux Kernel Development

Using Podman and Docker Compose

Podman 3.0 now supports Docker Compose to orchestrate containers.
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Cut your Cloud Computing Costs by Half with Unikraft

A novel modular unikernel allows for extreme tailoring of your operating system to your application’s needs. A proof of concept, built on Unikraft, a Xen Project subproject, shows up to 50% efficiency improvements than standard Linux on AWS EC2. 

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way we think about IT infrastructure: Another web server? More database capacity? Resources for your artificial intelligence use case? Just spin-up another instance, and you are good to go. Virtualization and containers have allowed us to deploy services without worrying about physical hardware constraints. As a result, most companies heavily rely on micro-services, which are individual servers highly specialized to perform a specific task.

The problem is that general-purpose operating systems such as Linux struggle to keep pace with this growing trend towards specialization. The status quo is that most microservices are built on top of a complete Linux kernel and distribution. It is as if you wanted to enable individual air travel with only one passenger seat per aircraft but kept the powerful engines of a jumbo jet. The result of having a proliferation of general-purpose OSes in the cloud are bloated instances, that feast on memory and processing power while uselessly burning electrical energy as well as your infrastructure budget.

Figure 1. Linux kernel components have strong inter-dependencies making it difficult to remove or replace them.

Despite this, putting Linux and other monolithic OSes on a diet is far from trivial. Removing unneeded components from the Linux kernel is a tedious endeavor due to the interdependencies among subsystems of the kernel: Figure 1 above illustrates a large number of such inter-dependencies a line denotes a dependency and a blue number the amount of such dependencies between two components. 

An alternative is to build so-called unikernels, images tailored to specific applications and often built on much smaller kernels. Unikernels have shown great promise and performance numbers (e.g., boot times of a few milliseconds, memory consumption when running off-the-shelf applications such as nginx of only a few MBs, and high throughput). However, their Achilles heel has been that they often require substantial expert work to create them and that at least part of the work has to be redone for each additional application. These issues, coupled with the fact that most unikernel projects don’t have a rich set of tools and ecosystem (e.g., Kubernetes integration, debugging and monitoring tools, etc.), resulting in 1GB Linux instances for jobs that might be as easy as delivering static web pages. 

Unikraft: A Revolutionary Way Forward

Unikraft is on a mission to change that. In stark contrast to other unikernel projects, Unikraft, a  Xen Project subproject, has developed a truly modular unikernel common code base from which building tailored made (uni)kernels is orders of magnitude faster than in the past.

 “Without Unikraft, you have to choose between unikernel projects that only work for a specific language or application, or projects that aim to support POSIX but do so while sacrificing performance and thus defeating the purpose of using unikernels in the first place”, says Felipe Huici, one of the Unikraft team’s core contributors. “

Unikraft aims to run a large set of off-the-shelf application and languages (C/C++, Python, Go, Ruby, Lua, and WASM are supported, with Rust and Java on the way), but still allows for easy customization and even removal of unneeded kernel parts; also, it provides a set of rich, performance-oriented APIs that allows further customization by plugging the application at different levels of the stack for even higher performance.” 

A sample of such APIs are shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Rhea architecture (APIs in black boxes) enables specialization by allowing apps to plug into APIs at different levels and to choose from multiple API implementations.

Unikraft already supports more than 130 syscalls in terms of POSIX compatibility, and the number is continuously increasing. While this is certainly short of the 300+ that Linux supports, it turns out that only a subset of these are needed for running most of the major server applications. This, and ongoing efforts to support standard frameworks such as Kubernetes and Prometheus make Unikraft an enticing proposition and mark the coming of age of unikernels into the mainstream.

Unikraft Goes to the Cloud

But what’s really in it for end-users? To demonstrate the power and efficiency of Unikraft, the team created an experimental Unikraft AWS EC2 image running nginx, currently the world’s most popular web server. “We’ve built a Unikraft nginx image and compared it to a ngnix running on an off-the-shelf Debian image to compare the performance of the two when serving static web pages. We’ve been more than pleased with the results” says Huici. “On Unikraft, nginx could handle twice the number of requests per second compared to the Debian instance. Or you could take a less performant AWS EC2 instance at half the price and get the same job done. Further, Unikraft needed about a sixth the amount of memory to run”.  The throughput results can be seen in Figure 3 below.

So far, this is only a proof of concept, but Huici and the Unikraft team are moving quickly. “We are currently working on a system to make the process of creating a Unikraft image as easy as online-shopping” – this includes analyzing the applications which are meant to run on top of it and providing a ready-to-use operating system that has everything the specific use case needs, and nothing more. “Why should we waste money, resources, and pollute the environment running software in the background that is not needed for a specific service?”

About the author: Simon Kuenzer is the Project Lead and Maintainer of Unikraft, which is part of the Xen Project at the Linux Foundation.

Predictions 2021: Open Networking & Edge

As we wrap up 2020, I wanted to take a moment to look at where the industry is headed and what we’ve learned this year. 

Telecom & Cloud ‘Plumbing’ based on 5G Open Source will drive accelerated investments from top markets (Government, Manufacturing, and Enterprises) 

This broad acceptance of open networking stacks shows the true power of what is possible when fat, fast, and functional features are at your fingertips. See information on ONAP’s Guilin release, EdgeX Foundry’s Hanoi release, and this recent post from FierceTelecom.

The Last piece of the “open” puzzle will fall in place: Radio Access Network (RAN)

The final closed architecture in the 148- year- old Telecom industry — the RAN — is finally open!  2021 will bring the first build-outs of open RAN technology in close collaboration with Edge and Core. Visit the O-RAN Software Community for more information. 

Remote Work” will continue to be the greatest positive distraction, especially within the open source community

LFN and LFE saw about 25-40% Growth in Developers and Contribution during 2020, and we expect the pace to pick up to almost 50% as more vertical industries embrace open source technologies. See Software Defined Vertical Industries: Transformation Through Open Source, a Linux Foundation white paper. 

“Futures” (aka bells and whistle features & future-looking capabilities) will give way to “functioning blueprints”  

Open source interoperability, compliance & verification for rapid deployment becomes the highest priority in 2021 beyond software. See the latest Blueprints from LF Edge’s Akraino project, as well as information on OPNFV + CNTT’s latest integrations.

AI/ML technologies become mainstream 

Closed loop control in an Intelligent Network paves the way for Intent-based Networking, and Predictive Maintenance emerges as a top use case in Edge using AI/ML.  What do you expect 2021 will bring to the open networking and edge table?

What did I miss? I would love to have your comments on LinkedIn.

About the Author: Arpit Joshipura is General Manager, Networking, Edge & IoT at the Linux Foundation.

How to record your Linux terminal using asciinema

How to record your Linux terminal using asciinema

Asciinema might be the application you’ve been looking for to demonstrate a skill or process that you want your colleagues or students to learn on-demand.
Fri, 12/11/2020 at 10:06pm


Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

In my line of work, as well as in many hands-on technical positions, there are times when recording your work is necessary. Sometimes, it’s an advanced form of note-taking; other times, it’s a quick and easy way to send someone junior a how-to. You could even record your terminal for “insurance” if you are the paranoid type. Either way, there is no denying that terminal recording software is a neat and practical tool to have in your arsenal.

Command line utilities  
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SELinux troubleshooting and pitfalls

SELinux troubleshooting and pitfalls

SELinux can be challenging to troubleshoot, but by understanding the components of the service, you can handle whatever challenges it throws your way.
Alex Callejas
Thu, 12/10/2020 at 6:46pm


Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay

You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you ― Barack Obama

One of the great battles, especially with third-party solution providers, is maintaining the security of our servers. In many cases, the challenge is the request to disable SELinux so that an application can run smoothly. Fortunately, that is occurring less and less.

In most of these cases, an analysis is enough to find the right troubleshooting or workaround.

Linux Administration  
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5 reasons why you should develop a Linux container strategy

If you’ve shunned containers in the past, these five advantages will make you rethink containerization.
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