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OpenStack Havana Adds Cloud Monitoring, Orchestration and Global Cluster Support

The OpenStack Foundation on Thursday released the eighth version of its open source cloud infrastructure operating platform.

The new OpenStack Havana release has 400 new features, but the most noteworthy are support for monitoring, orchestration and global cluster support with the platform's new object storage system. 

Havana also offers support for improved quality of service settings and end-to-end encryption across all block storage drivers, SSL built into all of the OpenStack service API, an upgraded VPN, firewall support and the ability to boot from a volume, enabling live migrations.

OpenStack Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Bryce told me these new features are critical for enterprise and business-critical applications, including ERP and virtual desktop infrastructure.

"Enterprises can deploy more and more applications into their OpenStack environments," Bryce said in a briefing Wednesday. "That's critical if you're going to run your business-critical systems in the cloud."

Bryce described the metering and monitoring capability, which can be exposed through a Web-based dashboard, as critical for those who require visibility into usage across all of the OpenStack services.

"Before, if you wanted to pull out who was using more resources or determine where there were bottlenecks and hotspots, you needed to use different tools," Bryce explained. "The OpenStack metering and monitoring services pre-integrate with the other OpenStack services and aggregate all that data into a central location."

That's useful from an operational standpoint but also for those who need to bill users and/or do chargeback, as well as for issuing alerts when certain conditions arise, he added. The monitoring and metering capability can be added to dashboards and other tools via a new central API.

"It's a powerful way to see what's going on in your cloud app at an overall level or to see which users or apps are driving any usage," Bryce said. Administrators can track network and storage users and drill down on a per-app or per-user basis.

The new orchestration capability is based on a template-driven engine, which lets developers describe the infrastructure resources needed to deploy an application. In the template, a developer can define compute nodes such as the number of Web servers, database servers and networks, and storage resources feed all of that into the orchestration engine that provisions those resources and issues the necessary calls to set everything up, Bryce said.

"What's cool is because it ties into the metering and monitoring service, you can set thresholds, and if they receive alerts, they can take actions like auto-scaling," he said. "These two features in combination provide a high level of functionality on top of the core OpenStack components."

The template language is JSON and Bryce said there are already quite a few available in the open source community. He anticipates more will surface now that the Havana release has gone live.

The global cluster support on the object storage system enables a single storage system to span multiple datacenters, which is important for disaster recovery to enable replication across datacenters and for allowing users to connect to the nearest cloud facility, said Joe Arnold, CEO of SwiftStack, a private cloud storage provider which led the development of the global cluster support in OpenStack Havana's object storage system.

Concur, which provides the widely used, cloud-based expense reporting Software as a Service (SaaS), is among SwiftStack's customers that have deployed the new global clustering capability in its OpenStack private cloud, which the company will talk about at next month's OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong.

"They have two datacenters set up and they're sending their users to the nearest datacenter," Arnold said. "When a customer takes a picture of a receipt with their phone, it's uploaded to the datacenter nearest to them. That just gives the user a better experience. And if there's a failure in either datacenter, they can send all of the users to the other datacenter and not miss anything."

Red Hat is among those in the OpenStack community that have released new distributions based on Havana. Red Hat's RDO Havana is aimed at deployment across Red Hat's various Linux distributions, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, CentOS and Scientific Linux. Canonical's new Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS and 13.10 also include the new OpenStack Havana release.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 10/17/2013 at 12:12 PM


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