Interview with Justin Forbes
Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself; where do you live, and what do you do for your $dayjob?
I am a developer on the Red Hat virtualization team living in the Dallas, TX area. My primary focus is on virtualization in Fedora.
I know that "cloud" is a big buzzword these days. Can you give the readers a brief overview of what that term means?
Cloud can mean many things depending on who you ask. I like to think of it as simplified computing. The cloud is a layer of abstraction that allows a lot more flexibility to meet applications needs. A cloud can be in your data center, spread out multiple across data centers, or in one of the public cloud spaces (such as EC2). Clouds can be public or private. The key is the ability to provide the resources that applications need, with much more flexibility than traditional infrastructure. It is not restricted in the same way that a piece of hardware sitting in your data center might be. In the end, the piece of hardware your application runs on is irrelevant, the cloud provides the resources that the app needs, and can best manage the load across physical hardware based on demand.
Let's talk about the feature you've been working on - Fedora on EC2. Can you tell us what EC2 is?
EC2 is Amazon's public cloud. Users can sign up and run virtualized instances within EC2 for a variety of applications. There are options to upload your own virtual image, or use one of the existing machine images (AMIs) as a basis. With EC2 you pay for the compute time that you need, and can shut down an instance when finished, without having to pay for idle resources.
How does having Fedora on EC2 benefit the community? Who is this best suited for, and why?
There are several reasons why Fedora users want to use EC2 as a computing platform, typically due to cost and flexibility. It is a great platform for development and test as well. Unfortunately the only real public Fedora images have not been updated since Fedora 8. By releasing Fedora 14 on EC2, we provide a recent and supported version of Fedora for others to use as-is, or as the basis for their own images. Since the official images are now being created and pushed by the Fedora project instead of a third party, we can support them, and ensure that the currently supported Fedora releases are available on EC2.
In addition to the many Fedora users we already have, I believe that EC2 can attract more users for Fedora. Having the ability to simply boot up a recent Fedora machine makes it very simple for people who have not used Fedora in the past to give it a try.
When will Fedora 14 be available on EC2? How can people access it?
Fedora 14 will be available on EC2 the same day it is available for download. The release is scheduled for November 2nd. Documentation will be available with pointers to the Fedora 14 machine images (AMIs) and they should be easy to find in the EC2 web interface as well.
What about going forward? Can we expect to see more Fedora releases on EC2?
We are just getting started. At this point, EC2 is just another release target for Fedora, and I expect all future releases will be available on EC2. For the Fedora 15 cycle we hope to get a few more infrastructure pieces in place to make it easier to customize and update your EC2 instances. Eventually we should make it easy for users to either grab our official images, or spin their own appliance images.
I understand you are part of the Fedora Cloud SIG. Can you tell us a bit about this group? The Fedora Cloud Special Interest Group is a community group committed to advancing Fedora's cloud technologies. You can check out the Cloud SIG's wiki page at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Cloud_SIG to see what we're up to, and get information about our weekly meetings. There is also a mailing list that you can sign up for, at https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/cloud. In addition to the EC2 initiatives, the Cloud SIG is working on other features for future releases of Fedora, including integration of technologies like Deltacloud and OpenStack.