Setting up a Cluster as a Service using Bright OpenStack


By Piotr Wachowicz | August 25, 2015 | Cloud, OpenStack, HPC




When you need a whole lot of computing power, it’s hard to beat a clustered solution. But setting up the hardware and software can be challenging. How do we know? Because we set up and tear down clusters all the time around here. It can be a time consuming and frustrating task. But we’ve found a better way - Clusters as a Service (CaaS).

But what exactly is CaaS?

CaaS is the ability to stand up and tear down a cluster in whatever configuration you need, whenever you need it. For more than a year now, we have been using Cluster as a Service capabilities in-house to rapidly provision virtual clusters inside of Bright’s own OpenStack private cloud. We built the functionality for ourselves as a way to sidestep the issues one runs into when repeatedly building and tearing physical clusters. But, once some of our customers saw what we were doing in our labs, they wanted to do the same in theirs.

It was obvious that our customers could benefit from being able to rapidly create fully fledged virtualized clusters, managed with Bright Cluster Manager, inside their own Bright OpenStack clouds, so we decided to make this functionality part of the Bright OpenStack offering.

How does it work?

All you have to do to create a virtual cluster, is define the size of the cluster (number of nodes), flavor (type) of the virtual machines, pick which version of Bright Cluster Manager you want to install, specify which Linux distribution you want, and press ENTER. That’s all there is to it. You can go grab a cup of coffee while Bright OpenStack does the rest.   


Bright OpenStack uses OpenStack Heat to orchestrate and streamline the creation of the entire cluster. First, it installs the head node with Bright Cluster Manager and the version of Linux you specified. Next, it configures and installs all the compute nodes. After about 30 minutes the cluster is ready to use.


Because the virtual clusters are running Bright (just like the Bright OpenStack cloud that is hosting them), users become the admins of their own isolated cluster. They are able to make full use of Bright’s extensive monitoring framework, efficient node provisioning, and powerful management tools. They can even install their own virtual Bright OpenStack, or Big Data deployments.

Is CaaS for you?

If you need more than a set of loosely coupled, VMs inside of OpenStack, Cluster as a Service capabilities are worth considering. Implementing a CaaS using Bright OpenStack gives your users power that is only available with Bright Cluster Manager.

Bright OpenStack