OpenStack Releases Next Version, known as 'Kilo'

Its main new features revolve around greater scalability.

The open source cloud platform OpenStack has released its semi-annual update to the public. "Kilo" is the 11th release of OpenStack, and the organization says it "… marks a turning point for the open source project with contributions from nearly 1,500 developers and 169 organizations worldwide."

Isn't It Ironic?
The big news from Kilo is the upgraded scalability. That comes from "Ironic," its bare-metal provisioning project. Ironic offers "… support for existing VM workloads and adoption of emerging technologies like Linux containers, platform-as-a-service and NFV," according to an OpenStack press release. NVF stands for network functions virtualization, and is a type of software-defined networking (SDN) virtualizes network node functions like firewalls, intrusion detection systems and load balancers.

The support for containers is important, as that technology -- led by Docker -- is increasingly taking center stage in virtualized environments due to its efficiency and light weight.

Although this is the first full release of Ironic on the OpenStack platform, it's not brand-new, as earlier versions have been available. And, in fact, Rackspace has been using Ironic for some production environments already.

The Need for Speed
Bare-metal environments are faster than other types. OpenStack, in its Wiki, explains: Ironic "… is best thought of as a bare metal hypervisor API and a set of plugins which interact with the bare metal hypervisors."

Another major upgrade in Kilo is the Keystone Identity Service, which federates identity across different clouds, including both private and public. As cloud computing continues to evolve, most organizations are moving to a hybrid environment that leverages the benefits of both types of clouds. Ensuring a consistent identity throughout will provide users better access to cloud resources.

A Growing Ecosystem
OpenStack was originally released in 2010, as a partnership between Rackspace and NASA. It has set a release schedule of every six months; the previous release was Juno, in October 2014. It is, by a good margin, the most popular open source cloud offering in the industry. It's still considered difficult to set up and manage, and is seen by some as too immature for public cloud usage. One OpenStack-focused vendor, Nebula, announced its closing earlier this month, unable to survive even with a high-profile management team.

Those hurdles haven't stopped most virtualization heavy-hitters from adding OpenStack to their infrastructures, as they see the huge momentum it continues to gain. VMware, for example, announced its own version, VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO), last February. Taneja Group Analyst (and Virtualization Review columnist) Tom Fenton spoke highly of the move: "VMware is serious about making OpenStack business-ready by deploying the OVA with business continuity features like high availability (HA) and a scale-out architecture."

There are various ways to get the OpenStack source code, detailed here.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.


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