OpenStack's new code release packed with enterprise features

Updated cloud computing platform, dubbed Havana, supports support virtual networking, identity and access management

The latest code release of OpenStack's cloud computing platform named Havana is packed with features that organizers say appeal directly to enterprise audiences.

OpenStack is a turning into a broad project with more than a dozen open source components. While it started with basic compute and storage functionality, it's grown to support virtual networking, identity and access management, and now new to this week's release are tools to help better manage and deploy clouds.

[MORE OPENSTACK:OpenStack grows up, but is it grown up enough for enterprises?]

Havana's release has two major new components, and updates to a variety of others.

One major new project is code-named Heat, which is an orchestration platform that allows users to more easily provision OpenStack-based clouds. Using Heat application developers can feed templates into the program and it will automatically deploy the resources. It can launch applications, create virtual machines and it automates the entire process, they say. It also provides cross-compatibility with Amazon Web Service's orchestration platform named CloudFormation, which means AWS templates will work in OpenStack environments.

Another new project is Ceilometer, which is a service that collects usage data across an OpenStack cloud. It integrates with OpenStack's authentication and identity management system to provide granular tracking data, including which users are using which resources and for how long. For service providers, it has an automated billing feature.

Havana comes with other advancements. The block storage platform Swift, for example, has new security configurations including end-to-end encryption of all drivers. It adds the ability to do volume migration across multiple different storage providers who all use the Swift code base too. This allows users to take advantage of different cost and performance attributes of various storage platforms.The virtual networking project has also been renamed Neutron it was formerly called Quantum, - and it too has new functionality.

Neutron supports open source virtual networking implementations like Open vSwitch and VMware's NSX and it works with Openflow controllers. It will also plug into many Cisco devices, says OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce.

Neutron has a standard way of creating networks, attaching a networking device to it, and adding things to the networks that can be managed through an API. New features include the ability to easily create VPNs and install firewalls in Neutron.

As OpenStack continues to add new components, more and more of those are geared at enterprise audiences, says Bryce. Cloud management tools like Heat and tracking tools like Ceilometer are important pieces of a cloud platform for any user, but especially enterprises. Furthermore, Heat is meant to work with not just OpenStack clouds, but it can manage resources from AWS as well. That heterogeneous management reflects a reality of where enterprise IT shops are today as they incorporate different vendor strategies.

Bryce says all this development work has happened organically within the community. "As different parts of the community saw gaps in the code and opportunities to add in functionality, it's been added to the project," Bryce says. "It's been very implementation driven." The Havana release features more than 400 new updates to the code and was made by contributions from 910 individuals a 60% increase from the last release - from 145 different companies.

Another first for OpenStack will be that its bi-annual user conference and development summit will be held in an international location, this time Hong Kong. Bryce says OpenStack has seen strong support for the project in international communities, not just in Asia where the summit will be held in the first week of November, but across Europe as well. "From a foundation perspective, we want to continue to help encourage and help accelerate adoption and interest," he says, both home and abroad.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here. A

This story, "OpenStack's new code release packed with enterprise features" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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