We’re in the thick of it

On the Dreamhost cloud team, we’ve been busy.  First off, we really make a big effort to participate in the open source communities.  This requires time and energy on our part, but I think that giving back to the communities we rely on to do our business is good publicity and makes the products we rely on even better.  As such, we’ve sent a handful of folks to Paris, France for the OpenStack Summit.  My boss has even given a talk at the conference (with another one to come).  Other major milestones these past few weeks: We’ve got DreamCompute (our OpenStack offering) into public beta, we’ve created an open source company called Akanda, and I’ve been working on ensuring that customers can easily access their DreamCompute resources on mobile platforms (as well as patching SSLv3 POODLE, onboarding new employees, and dealing with the pager).

First, let’s talk about DreamCompute.  DreamCompute is our OpenStack offering.  It’s is infrastructure as a service.  We are really targeting developers and entrepreneurs, but do not intend to alienate anyone if we can help it.  We are not yet currently using it a whole lot internally, but it is on our 2015 road map to leverage it for internal development and SDLC.  I’m not going to try to get all sales-y on this blog, but a few key things that we think set us apart from others in this space are: simplified tiered pricing (starting at $19/mo), IPv6 support, and quick instance creations (thanks to Ceph).  On a related topic, IPv6 is awesome!


One of the key points we want to present at this conference is the new open source company we’ve started called Akanda.  Akanda is a service VM for OpenStack that provides a plugable router platform.  The work we’ve completed thus far was originally built on BSD, but we swapped to linux for various reasons (hot plugging probably being the most notable).  Since this is all open source, we don’t mind sharing the fact that the firewall system is powered by iptables, routing is powered by BIRD, and that layer 2 is just simply the linux ARP cache (just to name a few features).  Building off of these well known and well documented systems has provided us with the ability to quickly develop a base routing system that leverages well tested, open source code.  We have a few other goals we’d love to hit as well, such as adding load balancing.  If you have any interest in participating in this project, feel free to ping me, or simply create a pull request on GitHub.

And since we’re talking about open source, I’ve personally been working closely with the developer of the Android app called DroidStack to ensure that there is good support for DreamCompute on mobile.  While the details of this are kind of monotonous, I’ve been enjoying the fact that I’m getting paid to participate in open source software.  I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to address all the major bugs that were preventing DroidStack from working with DreamCompute and a working build should be hitting the Google Play Store in the next day or two.

DreamCompute Infrastructure

Finally, as part of being so committed to open source, we are happy to share our infrastructure design as well.  This could be a whole post on it’s own (which may be in coming in the future…) so I’ll forgo any details for now (white box switches, cumulus linux, Ceph storage, VMware NSX, 10Gbps backplane, etc.).  But if you have any interest in how we’ve set up our infrastructure, we’re happy to share it!  You are welcome to contact me directly or find someone on the IRC channel (#dreamcompute on irc.freenode.net).  And of course, we’re always hiring, so feel free to drop a line if this stuff interests you.  That’s enough blogging for one day, I’m off to find some more open source to participate in!

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