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Interview: Guido Trotter

Guido Trotter will give a talk about "Ganeti: how we did it" at FOSDEM 2012.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I'm 30 years old, and I've been involved in the free software world for over 10 years. During my studies at University of Bologna I became a Debian Developer mostly contributing to server-side and virtualization platforms. I also worked as a freelancer deploying Debian systems to provide free software based solutions to local businesses, the University and Bologna City's internet services. Since 2006 I've been working at Google Ireland, as a member of the corporate engineering infrastructure team, and I spent most of my time as a core developer and systems architect for the Ganeti project, which I'm going to describe at FOSDEM.

My hobbies include cooking, traveling and cycling. I have a baby pet snake called Ernesto.

What will your talk be about, exactly?

I will talk about Ganeti, an open source cluster virtualization manager. I will give two talks at FOSDEM, one in the main track on Saturday and one in the virtualization devroom on Sunday.

During the main track talk I will talk about Ganeti internals, how different parts of the code interact with each other, how to get started hacking on the code and modifying it for one's own purposes and what are the guidelines to contribute the modifications back to the upstream project.

In the virtualization devroom I will give a basic introduction to Ganeti for people unfamiliar with it, and I will talk about the most recent developments from a user's perspective.

What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

My objective is to get people familiar with Ganeti's structure and able to easily change it for their organization, and to share the changes for everybody to use. My hope is that other system engineers will see that they can use Ganeti in their organization to solve their virtualization management issues, by either deploying it as is or by changing some minor parts of the code, and so they will become active in the Ganeti community.

What are the current limitations of Ganeti and are there any plans to improve them?

The biggest limitation is in the "large scale" scalability of the cluster to more than a few hundred nodes. The current master daemon architecture is not working at that scale, and we're going to focus on how to remove this limitation during the course of this year. Another area to work on is that not all possible options of the underlying virtualization technologies are supported immediately as they come out: in this sense we're interested in working with people who would be adding and maintaining these options inside Ganeti, after testing them in their environment, rather than just try to put in a toggle for each possible one without verifying it completely. Because of this during the internals talk I'll be showing how to add one of these options, as an example to help people who would need them. Finally it would be nice to have better self-healing capabilities on the clusters: plans in these area are likely to come up as soon as we've addressed the scalability limitations.

Is Ganeti using any hypervisor-specific features or is it completely agnostic to the hypervisor?

Ganeti has hypervisor specific modules and thus uses features that different hypervisors provide to it. Not all features are implemented, but the most common hypervisors (KVM and Xen) have an extensive set of features, and new ones can be added easily.

Which improvements or new features will we see in Ganeti this year?

As I mentioned before what I personally would like to see is an enhancement of the scalability of the cluster, and better self healing capabilities. We're also interested in adding different features as people implement them for their environment.

What are the biggest Ganeti deployments you're aware of?

Besides the one at Google the biggest ones I know of are the Greek Research and Technology Network, which bases its internal server infrastructure, its VPS service and its upcoming public cloud service on Ganeti, and the Oregon State University Open Source Lab which uses Ganeti to host other open source projects' server farms.

Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

I always eagerly wait for FOSDEM, which is one of my favorite conferences, because of its highly technical and hacker-friendly nature. I've already presented in a lighting talk and in the virtualization devroom, and enjoyed at least another couple of FOSDEM editions as an audience members and exchanging interesting conversations with people I met there.

Creative Commons License
This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.