Photobucket Pictures Its Future On OpenStack - InformationWeek
Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
02:25 PM
Connect Directly

Photobucket Pictures Its Future On OpenStack

Cisco's version of an OpenStack private cloud helps Photobucket ease implementation and management of networking issues.

Kistler and Clark were enticed by the Xen hypervisor, a version of which runs the Amazon Web Services cloud. But in the end, they leaned toward OpenStack's default hypervisor, KVM, which was more efficient in their virtualization bakeoffs than VMware's ESX Server or even Red Hat's version of KVM used in its Enterprise Virtualization suite.

"We stood up their version, but it didn't meet our internal benchmark as most performant," Clark said.

The Photobucket staff members are comfortable dealing with the update and compatibility issues of open-source code, and they like Cisco's commitment to support the OpenStack project. They liked the vigor of the project itself, with its many large-company backers and long list of contributors. "The DOM zero stuff in Xen" -- the need to establish Domain 0 with Xen before it can operate -- "looked out of date" in comparison, Clark said. Contributions to Xen looked "not as relevant as those coming in to KVM," and some of the staff's favorite Xen contributors had moved over to the KVM project.

Kistler and Clark still have reservations about the tendency of one OpenStack project to "solve the same problem" as another, leading to confusion over what should be implemented to rationalize operations. But again, they felt Cisco's OpenStack would have Cisco's guiding hand behind it, making choices for its UCS rack architecture.

Now Photobucket's IT staff is looking at deploying fresh OpenStack servers in two to three minutes, instead of the minimum two to three hours that it used to take. It is using only 60% of its UCS rack architecture, leaving 40% available to plug in more converged servers and networking. Meanwhile, it has consolidated 10-12 servers down to a UCS blade or 2u rackmount server.

Running Photobucket systems has gotten easier in the process. "Everyone's walking around with sort of a smile on their face, because they're not fighting to keep the infrastructure running," said Kistler. With his shop 60% virtualized today, he expects that figure to be 90% by this time next year, with more of it running on the OpenStack private cloud.

IT leaders must know the tradeoffs they face to get NoSQL's scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. Also in the When NoSQL Makes Sense issue of InformationWeek: Oregon's experience building an Obamacare exchange (free registration required).

2 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Li Tan
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
11/25/2013 | 2:34:00 AM
Re: KVM live migrations?
OpenStack is getting from its infancy stage to a rather mature stage - you can do the live migration to it by utilizing the tools available. Regarding KVM, I am not so experienced with it. My company have used ESX intensively in IaaS, though.
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2013 | 5:35:21 PM
Re: KVM live migrations?
One might wonder when reading this article why Photobucket has waited so long to virtualize chronically underutilized infrastructure. 

But that's first blush. When you read through some of the methodology behind all of this, it is clear that today's advancement of OpenStack has progressed to the point where it fits this organization perfectly, despite the negative attention the solution has faced in the media. 
User Rank: Strategist
11/22/2013 | 3:40:34 PM
KVM live migrations?
Photobucket uses KVM's Live Copy on top of UCS servers and Netapp's FAS storage systems, a combination known as FlexPod. When doing an update, administrators migrate VMs away from the target host, then back again, "with no disruption of service... Once cooking, it's really easy," said Kistler. Anyone else use KVM for live migrations in production?  
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll