OpenStack release “Folsom”, first thoughts

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The OpenStack project has delivered the “Folsom” release of its cloud controller. The “Folsom” release has more than 185 new features and enhancements developed by more than 350 open source developers.

As you can see from the release notes, we now have two new core projects: Quantum and Cinder.

  • Quantum provides a feature-rich and extensible API for defining network, it allows advanced configurations by utilizing plugins and it supports true multi-tenancy without any restrictions of VLANs. The driving force of this new core project was Nicira, a contributor of the Open vSwitch virtual switch which was acquired by VMware in July, just a couple of months before joining the Open Stack Foundation.
  • Cinder is the OpenStack Block Storage project that was a feature of the Nova compute controller (nova-volume). To be noted that OpenStack started out with an object-based storage system with the Swift project, but the developers made their mind that the Swift system was great for storing and retrieving large blobs of data, however it was not as efficient for use as the core data storage system for rapidly changing data, and that is the main reason behind the birth of Cinder. Of course the Swift project will continue to be developed.

With these new core projects the overall conceptual architecture has been modified:

Other interesting innovations in the new release that I would like to highlight are:

  • A host aggregation feature has been added into Nova so that the module is now able to look at the available pools of CPUs and coprocessors and dispatch work to the right set of hardware within a pool. (Nova)
  • PKI Support for authentication (Keystone)
  • It is now possible to connect to a statsd server and collect real-time metrics for improved operations.  (Swift)

The Folsom release has been packaged up on the current 12.04 and impending 12.10 releases of Ubuntu Linux from Canonical, and in the Fedora 17 and Fedora 18 development Linuxes from Red Hat.

The new release is also seeing active contribution from IBM itself as OpenStack is seen as enhancing its SmartCloud Foundation offerings by expanding support for different hypervisors at the IaaS Cloud layer. The main areas of IBM support were:

  • Contributing to the robustness and stability of many of the OpenStack projects, including Nova (compute), Quantum (network), Cinder (block storage), Horizon (dashboard) and Tempest (integration tests).
  • Contributing to develop a crowd sourced translation process for OpenStack documentation and to the translations for Simplified Chinese.
  • Helping to develop a dynamic hypervisor support for the OpenStack Nova (compute) component.
  • Contributing to the development and optimization of OpenStack on the KVM hypervisor.
  • Drivers for Power Systems and Storwize storage offerings included in the Folsom release.
  • Contributed to integration tests for the XML APIs.
  • Contributing to the implementations of both SNIA’s Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) and the DMTF’s Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface (CIMI) standards to the OpenStack third party repository.

To mention, finally, that IBMers have been accepted as OpenStack core contributors.

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