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OpenStack Zun Debuts New Approach to Cloud Containers

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    October 28, 2016

BARCELONA - OpenStack loves containers, or so it seems. At the OpenStack Summit here today I learned of yet another new OpenStack container effort. The new effort is called Zun and it's being led by the Hongbin Lu of Huawei Technologies.

The basic promise of Zun is to fill the gap from where the first OpenStack container project called Magnum ends. Lu explained that Magnum is reallyOpenStack Zun just a system for deploying a container orchestration system, like Kubernetes, Mesos or Swarm. Magnum provides provisioning as well as scaling capabilities. Magnum also has security feature and serves as a certificate authority and can also generate OpenStack Keystone users.

The overall mission statement of Magnum has changed recently too. Lu said that originally the goal of Magnum was to be a containers service. The official mission statement originally was to provide a set of services for management of application containers in a multi-tenant cloud environment.

Magnum has now been changed and is a Container Infrastructure Management service with the new mission to provide a set of services for provisioning, scaling and managing Container Orchestration Engines (COEs).

Zun in contrast is an abstraction for container life-cycle management with a simple API across different container technologies. Lu explained that Zun provides a sandboxing approach that enables a container.

It's an interesting idea though it's all very confusing. In one way, Zun kinda/sorta feels like the old Nova-Docker API, though Lu said that it's not.

It's also something that can already be done with Ubuntu's LXD, which is also an open-source effort that works well with OpenStack. That said, there are organization that won't run LXD just because they don't care for Ubuntu, and for them, I suspect Zun (might) one day provide a viable alternative.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

White House Open-Sources Bot Code

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    October 17, 2016

The race to build bots, that is automated chat technology that responds to user queries, has gone all the way to President Obama's home, The White House. The White House announced on October 14 that it is now open-sourcing its bot code in a bid to help enable more open collaboration and communication.WhiteHouse Drupal

"To be specific, we are open-sourcing a Drupal module, complete with easy steps and boiler plate code," Jason Goldman, Chief Digital Officer of the White House wrote in a blog post. "This will enable Drupal 8 developers to quickly launch a Facebook Messenger bot."

The White House first deployed its own website with the open-source Drupal Content Management System (CMS) back in 2009. The White House has since been an active contributor to Drupal in many different ways, including releasing code used on the site as open-source. Among the items that the White House has previously release is the entire Drupal theme, known as 'fourtyfour' that is used on the WhiteHouse.gov site.

The full code for the new White House Facebook Messenger bot is now available on GitHub, including complete installation instructions as well as the project roadmap. Among the large items on the roadmap (listed under 'Enhancements and hopes') is to actually make the project into more of a standalone, modular effort by refactoring code such that it's usable outside of a Drupal CMS as well.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Cloud Native Computing Foundation Adds OpenTracing Project

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    October 11, 2016

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today officially announced that the open-source OpenTracing project has been accepted as a hosted project.

CNCF got started in July 2015 as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. The inaugural project behind the CNCF is Google's Kubernetes, which was OpenTracingrecently updated to version 1.4.

In May 2016, CNCF welcomed its second project, the Prometheus monitoring project. Now with OpenTracing there is another key tool being added to the CNCF portfolio.

"Consistent, expressive, vendor-neutral APIs for distributed tracing and context propagation," is how OpenTracing defines itself on the group's Github project page.

It's an idea that makes sense, though tracing is a well understood concept in Linux that is already part of every major Linux distribution. That said, OpenTracing takes an application or rather a language specific approach, which fits in with the CNCF's view of the world,that isn't about operating systems but is about the cloud as a platform for applications.

At the CNCF's Cloud Native Day in Toronto back in August, Dan Kohn, executive director of the CNCF commented that the group was looking to add new projects to its roster with possible candidates include the CoreDNS naming project, the Fluental logging effort and the Heron stream processor.

"The idea is, we are trying to support individual projects, and we're also trying to stitch projects together into a narrative about cloud computing being the best way to deploy cloud applications," Kohn said at the time.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist