While we have lots of experience working with cloud automation tools, for OpenStack in particular, it has taken us a little while to get around to checking out Fuel from Mirantis. Here, we give a short summary of our initial impressions of this very interesting tool.
Fuel is primarily a system for deploying Openstack to a set of nodes. It was developed by Mirantis to make their own deployment work easier and they released it to the community. The latest version (v4.0) has been bundled into Mirantis Openstack and is not available separately – don’t waste time looking for a standalone variant of Fuel . (Download here – login required).
Fuel makes it ridiculously easy to get a basic Openstack cluster up and running. A small bit of preparation – mostly on networking in general and switch configuration in particular – is necessary and once this is set up, deployment of your first Openstack cluster is entirely plug and play: just plug the Fuel Master and your servers into the switch and hit deploy.
While the system is generally very easy to use, there were a few smaller points which were not obvious to us from the outset:
- a dedicated Fuel Master node is required – this cannot be easily run on, say, a VM in a laptop. We used a rather basic Core 2 Duo machine as Fuel Master – it’s probably not recommended, but it worked;
- The switch configuration is of course important – there were some small differences between the switch config scripts provided in the documentation and the that assumed for the basic installation which became apparent when things did not work out of the box – they were quite easy to fix, however;
- there is a network test option within Fuel which we only found later – this should be run before deploying;
- We had a small issue that our spanking new servers did not have their RAID disks activated coming from the factory meaning that our servers were reporting no disk capacity. Fuel did not fall over, but it did not highlight this as an issue and it did appear to enter a somewhat confused state.
Once those basic points were corrected, the Fuel install on the master did a deploy on our 3 node system (1 controller, 2 compute nodes, no internet connection) in about half an hour.