Latest OpenStack Cloud Service Release Aimed at Enterprise Workloads

Primary new featues include tighter platform integration, single sign-on support, discoverability and the capability for rolling upgrades.

Icehouse, the latest build of the popular open source OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud OS project, was yesterday released by the OpenStack Foundation.

The new build includes tighter platform integration and many new features, including single sign-on (SSO) support, discoverability and the capability for rolling upgrades.

Icehouse includes 350 new features and 2,902 bug fixes. The OpenStack Foundation said the tighter platform integration was attributable to a focus on third-party continuous-integration (CI) development processes, which led to 53 compatibility tests across different hardware and software configurations.

"The evolving maturation and refinement that we see in Icehouse make it possible for OpenStack users to support application developers with the services they need to develop, deploy and iterate on apps at the speeds they need to remain competitive," said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, in a statement.

In concert with the Icehouse release, Canonical on the same day issued the first long-term support (LTS) release of its Ubuntu Linux server in two years. LTS releases are supported for five years, and Canonical describes Ubuntu 14.04 as the most OpenStack-ready version to date. In fact, OpenStack has extended Ubuntu's reach in the enterprise, said Canonical cloud product manager Mark Baker.

"OpenStack has really legitimized Ubuntu in the enterprise," Baker said, adding that the first wave of OpenStack deployments the company has observed were largely cloud service providers. Now, technology companies with highly trafficked sites -- such as Comcast, Best Buy and Time Warner Cable -- are trying OpenStack. Also, some large financial services firms are starting to deploy OpenStack with Ubuntu, according to Baker.

Ubuntu 14.04 includes the new Icehouse release. Following are some of the specific features in Icehouse emphasized by the OpenStack Foundation:

  • Rolling upgrade support to OpenStack Compute (Nova) is aimed at minimizing the impact of running workloads while an upgrade is taking place. The foundation has implemented more stringent testing of third-party drivers and improved scheduler performance. The compute engine is also said to boot more reliably across platform services.

  • Discoverability has been added to OpenStack Storage (Swift). Users can now determine what object storage capabilities are available via API calls. It also includes a new replication process, which the foundation claims substantially improves performance, thanks to the addition of "s-sync," for more efficient data transport.

  • Federated identity service (Keystone) for authentication is now supported for the first time, providing single sign-on to private and public OpenStack clouds.

  • Orchestration (Heat) brings compute, storage and networking automatically scale resources across the platform.

  • OpenStack Telemetry (Cellometer) simplifies billing and chargeback, with improved access to metering data.

  • In addition to the added language support, the OpenStack Horizon dashboard offers redesigned navigation, including in-line editing.

  • A new database service (Trove) supports the management of RDBMS services in OpenStack.

In addition to the foundation, key contributors in the OpenStack community to the Icehouse release include Red Hat, IBM, HP, Rackspace, Mirantis, SUSE, eNovance, VMware and Intel. The foundation also said that Samsung, Yahoo and Comcast -- key users of OpenStack clouds -- also contributed code, which is now available for download.

Looking ahead, key features targeted for a future release include OpenStack Bare Metal (Ironic), OpenStack Messaging (Marconi) and OpenStack Data Processing (Sahara).

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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