Cloud Computing Open Source

Round 11: OpenStack Kilo

The OpenStack community hits round 11. Last week the newest OpenStack release “Kilo” was announced – with remarkable numbers. Almost 1.500 developers and 169 organizations contributed source code, patches etc. Top supporting companies to OpenStack Kilo include Red Hat, HP, IBM, Mirantis, Rackspace, Yahoo!, NEC, Huawei and SUSE. OpenStack Kilo is characterized by a better interoperability for external drivers, supporting new technologies like container as well as bare-metal concepts.

OpenStack Kilo: New Functions

According to the OpenStack Foundation, almost half of all OpenStack deployments (46 percent) are production environments. Network function virtualization (NFV), for using single virtual network components, is the fastest-growing use case for OpenStack. One of the lighthouse projects is eBay, operating OpenStack at large scale.

Essential new functions of OpenStack Kilo

  • OpenStack Kilo is the first release that fully supports the bare-metal service “Ironic” to run workloads directly on physical machines.
  • The OpenStack object storage service “Swift” supports “Erasure Coding (EC)” to fragment data and store it at distributed locations.
  • The “Keystone” identity service was enhanced with identity federation to support hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios.

New features of the OpenStack Core Projects (excerpts)

  • OpenStack Nova Compute
    Improvements for live updates when a database schema is changed and support the change of resources of a running virtual machine.
  • OpenStack Swift Object Storage
    Support of “Erasure Coding”. Temporary access to objects via an URL and improvements for global cluster replication.
  • OpenStack Cinder Block Storage
    Enhancement to attach a volume to multiple virtual machines to implement high-availability and migration scenarios.
  • OpenStack Neutron Networking
    Extension of network function virtualization (NFV) like port security for OpenVSwitch and VLAN transparency.
  • OpenStack Ironic Bare-Metal
    Ironic supports existing virtual machine workloads as well as new technologies like container (Docker), PaaS and NFV.
  • OpenStack Keystone Identity Service
    The extensions around identity federation help to distribute workloads across public and private clouds to build OpenStack based hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

OpenStack Kilo: Short Analysis and Impact

OpenStack is still growing. Even if a high ratio of NFV use cases shows that OpenStack is mainly used in service provider networks to operate single network components more flexible and cost-effective. However, the new Kilo functions for “federated identity”, “erasure coding” and “bare-metal” will move OpenStack up to the top of the CIO agenda.

The support of “erasure coding” is a long overdue function for Swift Object Storage – even though initial discussions already started for the “Havanna” release in 2013. All big public cloud providers are working with this distribution strategy for years to ensure high-availability of data. The introduction of bare-metal is at the right time. Workload migrations to cloud based infrastructure show with increasing frequency that virtual machines are not suitable for all use cases. Thus, database servers and performance intense workloads are ideally running on physical machines, whereas distributed workloads like application and web servers are good candidates for virtual machines. On a final note, identity federation will help CIOs building seamless OpenStack based hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Users only need a single login to authorize across multiple providers and get access to servers, data and applications in private and public clouds at once.

This begs the question how easy and fast CIOs can benefit from these new functions. The last five years unveiled that using OpenStack implicates a high complexity. This is mainly because OpenStack is organized as a big project composed of several sub-projects. Only the close interaction of all necessary sub-projects to support a specific use case is promising. The majority of CIOs who are working with OpenStack are considering a professional distribution instead of building an own OpenStack version based on the source code of the community trunk. In Germany these are 75 percent of the OpenStack users.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.