Last week, OpenStack Project (see previous CloudAve coverage) announced the release of their second release codenamed Bexar. This brings OpenStack closer to production deployment and we can expect to see news about OpenStack deployments both from service providers and enterprise. This release not only marked some maturity in the code but the announcement also carries news about some of the big names in the industry, Canonical, Cisco, Extreme Networks and Grid Dynamics, joining the already 50 member strong community. This is clearly a shot in the arm for the OpenStack project. When OpenStack was announced, some of the questions that came from critics of Open Source approach to Cloud Computing was about lack of support from companies like Amazon, Google and Cisco. Clearly, Amazon and Google have no motivation to support OpenStack but Cisco’s support for the project adds more legitimacy to OpenStack among the enterprises.
Even though support from large companies like Cisco are interesting, I find some of the technical features of this release more interesting. They are:
- The most interesting part is the preliminary support for Glance which will enable discover and delivery of cloud images. Basically, this will allow for portability of workloads between the OpenStack clouds. I find this interesting because this is crucial to an open federated cloud ecosystem, something which I strongly advocate in this blog. When I talk about a federated ecosystem with large number of smaller cloud providers in the marketplace, two of the immediate criticism to this model are: a) Smaller cloud providers cannot scale infinitely based on the customer needs b) Smaller providers can’t offer the geographical redundancy which many had come to expect from cloud computing. As I wrote in the post about the German Cloud Provider, ScaleUp Technologies, the cloud platform can help smaller service providers tap into the resources of other smaller providers elsewhere. ScaleUp’s own Cloud Management Platform and companies like Zimory and SpotCloud are well positioned to enable such resource pooling among different providers. With Glance part of OpenStack project, this becomes even more realistic.
- Open Storage, the storage component of OpenStack, will now support files of unlimited size. Amazon recently increased the file size on S3 to 5 TB and OpenStack goes one step further and takes away any limit on the file size. While on the topic, I would recommend this insightful article by Joe Arnold on CloudScaling Blog on Object Storage and OpenStack Object Storage.
- Support for IPv6. With the last IP address given away recently, this becomes very important for cloud computing. All platforms will support (or supports) IPv6 and OpenStack has taken the necessary steps with this release
There are few other interesting features like deeper integration between storage and compute, etc. in this release. A full list of features can be seen here.
- Support for VMware ESX & ESXi hypervisors
- Support for Linux container virtualization through support for OpenVZ and LXC (Linux Containers)
- Additional disk and appliance formats supported in Glance.
- Disk and appliance format conversion support in Glance.
- Live migration of instances
- Performance and scaling improvements in Swift
- Internationalization and localization in Swift
Just looking at the blueprint, I get a feeling that OpenStack is going to add tremendous pressure on competing cloud platforms and force them to innovate faster. Such a competition is healthy from the cloud user perspective and, one day, we may turn back and thank OpenStack (and Open Source) for ensuring such a competitive martketplace.
- Canonical get on the OpenStack (descentintodarkness.wordpress.com)
- Looking Back 2010: OpenStack Offers Promise (cloudave.com)
- OpenStack ‘Bexar’ Attracts Cisco, Enterprise Users (nytimes.com)
- Cisco Backs OpenStack Cloud Platform (pcworld.com)
- With New Release, OpenStack Shows it is a Real Alternative to Proprietary Solutions (readwriteweb.com)
- OpenStack ‘Bexar’ Release Adds Cross-Hypervisor Support (informationweek.com)
- OpenStack releases “Bexar” update (v3.co.uk)
- Cisco backs OpenStack cloud platform (infoworld.com)
- Canonical brings Ubuntu to the OpenStack Cloud (zdnet.com)
- Canonical embraces LAMP stack of the heavens (go.theregister.com)