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.