Chameleon Changelog for January 2019

Great news in Chameleon-land!

To start the New Year off on the right foot we added some new mouth watering features for you to try!

VLAN reservations. It has now been a year since Chameleon started to support stitching isolated layer 2 networks to ExoGENI VLANs, or to other networks connected to the Internet2 Advanced Layer 2 Service (AL2S). This feature has been very popular with our users, to the point that the limited pool of stitchable VLANs on each Chameleon site was regularly fully used. To make sure that you can rely on the availability of a stitchable VLAN for your conference deadline or your demo, we made VLANs an allocatable resource, i.e., a resource that you can reserve in advance and track the availability of via a lease calendar. In the same way physical nodes can be reserved via Blazar, you can now create a lease to reserve a VLAN segment. This new feature is initially rolled out for a limited set of VLANs and will be gradually extended to cover all stitchable VLANs. Local VLANs can still be allocated directly without creating a reservation. To find out more, read our documentation!

Automated Deployment. We have enabled a new feature on Chameleon: Advanced Deployment allows you to automatically launch an experiment configured with Heat as soon as your CHI reservation starts — so that if your GPU reservation happens to start at 3 AM in the morning you can sleep peacefully in the knowledge that your automated Heat template will start configuring your lease as soon as it becomes available and your experiment will be ready and running when you show up in the office several hours later. For now, this feature has only been rolled out at UC — we will enable it on the TACC site later. To make the most effective use of this feature first learn how to manage complex experiments with Heat and then read the documentation on how to have it triggered by your advance reservation.

Usability improvements. It used to be that users would have to log in to two separate web interfaces in Chameleon: one allowed you to access your user profile and the other various testbed functions like lease creation. While manageable, this posted an additional barrier between you and your experiment. This barrier has now been removed: all of Chameleon’s web interactions are now accessible via a single login. Together with the multi-region configuration we announced in June which gives you single login to both UC and TACC, this feature makes accessing Chameleon resources easier than ever.

Better network configuration == more experiments. You may have noticed that we were doing some networking maintenance on the UC site this month. We are happy to announce we’ve completed the installation of a new spine switch at UC which will enable you to run more complex networking experiments there. In particular, previously in order to run  BYOC (Bring Your Own Controller) experiments you had to request one of the highly in-demand stitchable VLANs. Now you can use any local VLAN -- and there are many more of them which means less contention. We hope this change both simplifies things for you and also allows you to create more interesting network topologies.

This is it for now -- we are hoping to see all of you at the User Meeting next week!

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