SIM-Cloud IaaS: 2019 year results and 2020 planning

SIM-Cloud - Results of 2019 and plans to the 2020


Summing up the SIM-Cloud achievements of 2019th, we’ve understood that the big is seen from a distance. Each of the working hours and every routine task finally produces the global result — a significant improvement in our cloud IaaS.




Along with the planned upgrading, in 2019, SIM-Cloud has been treated with drastic changes aimed to deliver our customers a high-end cloud product with outstanding reliability, high-availability, and additional services that cover essential corporate needs. We’ve made various research and developments — including the containerization field – and in 2020, we plan to implement their results.



2019 year results

Within SIM-Cloud 5.0 release, engineers of the SIM-Cloud Team systematically upgraded and enhanced our cloud IaaS during Q2-Q4 of 2019. In a whole, SIM-Cloud infrastructure resources have been increased on average to 100%:


  • Computing capacities extended in 2 times;
  • Data storages infrastructure expanded in 2.5 times.

So, our cloud IaaS grows very intensively – as customers numbers raise and data flows that generated, stored and processed by them in our cloud IaaS. Essential changes of the SIM-Cloud 5.0 release regarded the platform as a whole including OpenStack microservices, Ceph-based distributed data storage systems, new instances types (flavors), and SIM-Cloud BaaS.



OpenStack components upgrade to the new release


SIM-Cloud is based on the OpenStack platform, and our engineers systematically actualize its components, installing stable versions. Thus, the Queens release in SIM-Cloud 5.0 has changed OpenStack Pike. Queens is very stable, reliable, more secure (due to Identity API v3 in the authentication service), and contains many compatible features allowed by API using. Focusing on a wide API implementing, improved user interface, and extended managing options made Queens a good reputation.


Within the composite upgrade SIM-Cloud IaaS up to v.5.0 release, we upgrade the following components:


  • Glance, the service where users can upload and discover data that can be used with other services (includes images and metadata definitions) — up to Queens v.16.0.1;
  • Cinder, the block-storage service, — up to Queens v.12.0.4;
  • Neutron, the networking service, — up to v.12.0.5; including VPNaaS now is an L2 agent extension;
  • Nova, the service to manage to compute instances, — up to Queens v.17.0.9;
  • Keystone, the authentication service, — up to Queens v.13.0.2.


Cloud storages upgrade


In 2019, our Ceph-based cloud storage system changed drastically. On June 2019, we launched the new storage type CS1, the Cold Storage. It was created to substitute for the previous Tier IV SATA storage.


Relatively slow SATA drives were in use widely, but within the last two, maybe three years, they were superseded by faster SSD almost totally in the server industry. Moreover, this trend is clearly watched also on laptops, the latest models of which initially equipped by SSD.


Due to the technology boom in drives architecture, during several last years, the spindle SATA drives become obsolete in current circumstances – the speed of SATA is not enough to run even low-loaded corporate apps, like docflow systems, archives, backup storages. Also, SATA is not suitable for the latest, the ‘heavy’ operating systems running, especially in large corporations.


To shoot this trouble, SIM-Cloud Team engineers developed the Cold Storage that should replace the previous Tier IV storage based on SATA. The essential difference CS1 from its predecessor is higher IOPS to 50%:


  • Bandwidth: 200 MB/s
  • IOPS: 750.

Thus, CS1 in two times faster than SATA processes input/output queries, and it makes CS1 more capable of running low-loaded services and apps. Due to Ceph cluster architectural improving, including cache tiering, CS1 is more powerful, stable, and reliable.


We also recommend our customers to use another storage type to deploy in SIM-Cloud high-loaded apps and systems, e.g., database, VoIP, ERP and CRM systems, and so on. This type of cloud storage since September 2019, is named GS1 – General Storage (the previous name is Tier II SSD). Its technical essentials are the same: Bandwidth – 300 MB/s, IOPS – 10.000. This kind of combination of the bandwidth and input/output operations speed allows GS1 to be the general storage for most of the high-loaded services and apps with intensive data traffic.


So, since 2019, SIM-Cloud users get two Ceph-based storage types:    


  • GS1 – the General Storage, that match for running the most of services, and high-loaded apps (VoIP, CRM, database, ERP system, BigData analysis, audio, and video content libraries, etc.);
  • CS1 – the Cold Storage, for low-loaded apps and static content (data archive, backup storage, small company docflow, etc.).

It is important to note that the CS1 order instead of Tier IV SATA won’t raise the price of your cloud project! In other words, if you choose the more advanced Cold Storage, you will not pay more than earlier.



New types of instances


On the basis of the customers’ demand changes, we’ve decided to implement new types of virtual machines in the cloud — instances of OpenStack terminology. In the middle of 2019, SIM-Cloud Team experts successfully launched new types of instances, or flavors, which can be deployed in SIM-Cloud 5.0.


SIM-Cloud allows creating instances only with preset resources configs. These configurations are known in the OpenStack and SIM-Cloud terminology as types of instances, or flavors. After the detailed analysis of SIM-Cloud users’ experience, we’ve implemented the range of flavors to meet the customers’ expectations as much as possible.


A flavor describes the computing resources configuration, as vCPU number, and RAM size. New types of instances implemented in 2019, are following NUMA architecture requirements — Non-uniform Memory Access. It allows us to optimize the processor capacity and improve computing resources efficiency essentially.


You select the flavor in SIM-Cloud during the instance creating, but after launch, you can change the type of instance on demand. If you’d like to learn more about flavors, ask our Tech Support engineers.



Operating systems images update


To make your work with SIM-Cloud easier, we systematically update the broad set of distributives for different OSs that can be deployed from images — Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. These images use for deploying instances. SIM-Cloud 5.0 contains updated OSs to the latest and the most stable versions. More info about OSs images you can get addressing to Customer Care.



Additional service within SIM-Cloud BaaS


The cloud backup service developed in the XaaS model for SIM-Cloud users is very demanded among our customers. In 2019, SIM-Cloud BaaS got some changes, too. Within the additional Notification-as-a-Service progressing, we launch the option to send email notifications about SIM-Cloud BaaS events (backup starting, backup completing, etc.). The notifications easy to customize through the SIM-Cloud Dashboard web interface.


It allows you to control the backup process more fairly and improve the informational security of your cloud project as a whole.



Launch of S3-compatible storage, the new Ceph-based storing service


In Q4 of 2019, engineers of SIM-Networks have launched the cloud object storage on Ceph using the S3 protocol. Large data amounts storing is the essential task of S3 technology. The flexible, secure, high-available, easily scalable, and almost unlimited S3-compatible storage by SIM-Networks is the perfect solution for various cold data — e.g., archives, backups, static content of websites, photo hosting, docflow storages, and so on.



Large and complex cloud network upgrade


We had been systematically upgrading all elements of the network infrastructure in SIM-Cloud during 2019. All these changes were the preparation stage for the new cloud features implementation that would be done in 2020.



2020-year planning

In 2020 we’re planning to bring many more innovations to SIM-Cloud. These features implementation promise to enhance both the technological base and user experience in the cloud IaaS.



The secondary availability zone of the cloud — for all customers


The large cloud network upgrade done in 2019, allows the launch of the AVZ2 – the secondary availability zone of SIM-Cloud for each of the customers. It means that the cloud infrastructure will be enhanced to two datacenters in Germany.


In the cloud terminology, availability zones are unique, remote from each other physical infrastructures located in the same region. Each of the available zones is the single full-fledged datacenter equipped with independent systems and services:


  • The power supply system;
  • Air conditioning system;
  • Network infrastructure;
  • Computing resources;
  • Data storages.

In those turn, the availability zones conjunct to the unified cloud infrastructure as single components, those are connected between logically, and on the same time, isolated from each other by physical structure to eliminate the overusing of the equipment.


The advantages of two availability zones are sufficiently higher reliability and data security, and the more flexibility in instances creating. For example, customers will get the opportunity to create redundant and high-available cloud clusters by deploying the one part of instances in the AVZ1 (the first datacenter) and another part – in AVZ2 (the second datacenter). This kind of architectural solution can be:


  • Database cluster with the synchronized data replication between two or more nodes in different availability zones;
  • Terminal server farm;
  • Web applications, and many others.

The floating IP launch reduced some technical restrictions of connecting AVZ1 and AVZ2. The secondary availability zone of SIM-Cloud is supposed to launch up for all customers’ using to the end of the Q1 of 2020.



New high-frequent processors, and new instance configurations


In the Q1 of 2020, types of instances in SIM-Cloud would be drastically innovated — we will launch the configurations which contain new, high-performance vCPUs with the processor base speed more than 3 GHz. Nota bene, that >3GHz is not turbo-boosted speed, but the base.


The new highly-performance vCPUs were successfully tested already, and SIM-Clout Team engineers actively develop new flavors based on the new, high-frequency processors.



Triple data replication in the CS1 storage


The convenient new feature in the cloud CS1 storage will be the triple data replication. Until the end of the Q1 of 2020, we’ll complete the implementation the (N+2) – the triple data replication – in the cold storage CS1. It will allow improving the reliability and availability of the data stores.


Important note: this significant innovation will not reflect on the service pricing — your cold cloud storage won’t become more expensive after the triple data replication implementing!


In other words, storing your data archive, backups, static content of websites, and low-load app in the cloud, you will not pay more for getting higher stability and informational protection.


Remind, that more advanced cold storage CS1 was created last year to replace Tier IV SATA, and we strongly recommend our customers to use it for storing documents, other data, and apps with low-frequency requests.


For typical tasks and high-load corporate information systems that have been deployed in SIM-Cloud, we recommend using the general storage GS1.



S3-compatible storage further progressing


The objective Ceph-based S3-compatible storage in 2020 is planned to enhance. Now, this storage deployed in AVZ1, at the one TIER III-class datacenter in Karlsruhe; in 2020 we will launch it in the AVZ2, too.



Kubernetes-PaaS will be launched in a productive environment in the cloud


Nowadays, containerization in the cloud is the most up-to-date and sought-after amongst trends in PaaS. OpenStack Queens release allowed SIM-Cloud 5.0 in early 2019 to start the empirical research in the field of containerization and container orchestration in our cloud. Queens fully supports the essential models of containerization including Docker and Kubernetes. Last year SIM-Cloud Team successfully tested several projects of K8s. And in 2020 we will launch some PaaS-solutions of Kubernetes-as-a-Service and Managed Kubernetes in a productive environment.



The radical upgrade of SIM-Cloud BaaS


If you use the reliable backup service with remote backup data storage, you will be lucky even in the case of disaster, or cyberattack, or total system failure. We strongly recommend to all of our SIM-Cloud customers to back up their critical data ever.


We created a cloud-based backup service, especially for meeting our cloud clients’ needs — SIM-Cloud BaaS. It uses an incremental backup method that allows us to significantly reduce the time of data recovering and save the storage space.


SIM-Cloud BaaS will be upgraded in 2020 drastically, including the Zero Downtime feature implementation. This feature will alleviate the workload of the customer’s infrastructure due to the balancing of load and allows backup without the system down.


We also will simplify the web-interface of SIM-Cloud BaaS, making it more intuitive and user-friendly.


Moreover, in 2020 we’ll start the architectural transformation of SIM-Cloud Baas, delivering the more flexible microservice-architecture. It will allow configuring DRaaS solutions.



The OpenStack-based cloud platform will be upgraded to two releases up


In 2020 we plan a sequential update of the SIM-Cloud platform for two releases of OpenStack: at once up to the end of the Q1 to the Rocky version and in the Q3-Q4 up to the Stein release. All preparatory works have already been completed, and by the end of 2020, we will present SIM-Cloud v.7.0.



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We’ve described in this review only the main directions for SIM-Cloud IaaS further developments planned for 2020. The less ambitious tasks which would be solved in the process of implementing the plans were left out of scope. However, any action, any innovation performed by our team, is aimed at making SIM-Cloud the most convenient, efficient, and reliable place to host your corporate infrastructure.




Author: Alisa Kandieieva


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