OpenStack Gets Devilish On Cloud Competitors In Diablo Release

OpenStack, the Rackspace-led open source cloud initiative

OpenStack turned one in July and now has more than 50,000 downloads from the central code repository and about 110 contributing companies. OpenStack has also sprung up in more production environments using the open source cloud operating system, showing that OpenStack Diablo makes the project officially ready for primetime, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of OpenStack Project Policy Board and co-founder of Rackspace Cloud.

"In the past couple of months we've been hearing about dozens of companies using it in production," Bryce said.

Bryce said Diablo adds roughly 70 new features and enhancements to continue OpenStack's momentum, letting users automate and control pools of compute, storage and networking resources across multiple data centers with better scale, performance and networking capabilities.

Diablo adds two new projects, OpenStack Dashboard and OpenStack Keystone, to the existing three core projects: OpenStack Compute, OpenStack Object Storage and OpenStack Image Service.

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OpenStack Dashboard, which was led by OpenStack private cloud appliance startup Nebula, lets administrators access and provision cloud-based resources through a self-service portal, with mobile support coming soon, said Devin Carlen, project technical lead for Dashboard and founder and vice president of engineering at Nebula. Carlen said Dashboard provides true visualization of an OpenStack environment to manage and provision virtual infrastructure, and also offers a system admin view for deeper diving. It makes it easier to run and deploy OpenStack clouds, he said.

Bryce said that the addition of the Dashboard will likely spur OpenStack adoption and make it more accessible, as previous management capabilities were less mature and less full-featured. And Carlen noted that Amazon Web Services saw adoption skyrocket with the addition of the AWS Control Panel, so Dashboard puts OpenStack in a strong competitive position against Amazon.

"The dashboard is a huge leap forward," Bryce said. "It puts us ahead of some of the other options out there."

Along with Amazon, the OpenStack Diablo release better pits OpenStack against rival VMware, Bryce added.

Bryce said the Dashboard can rival VMware's Self-Service Portal and because OpenStack is a community project, it puts it in a stronger competitive position due to rapid innovation and contributions.

"Legacy virtualization vendors are trying to catch up," he said.

The other new project, OpenStack Keystone, is led by Rackspace and provides unified authentication across all OpenStack projects and integrates with internal authentication systems, something that OpenStack lacked in previous versions, Bryce said.

Dashboard and Keystone will be promoted to "core" projects in OpenStack's fifth version, Essex, expected in six months.

A third new project in OpenStack Diablo, OpenStack Quantum, is expected to be incubated during the Essex release cycle. Quantum adds new networking capabilities to OpenStack by providing an API to dynamically request and configure virtual networks. The Quantum API also supports extension to provide advanced network capabilities, Bryce said.

OpenStack also added new features to OpenStack Object Storage with new multi-cluster container sync capabilities that let users choose on a container by container basis which data to replicate it to a separate cluster in multiple locations. Diablo also adds a new feature to OpenStack Image Service that enables new image filtering and searching capabilities through the API. And to OpenStack Compute, OpenStack added a distributed scheduler to allow virtual machines to be deployed globally, a high-availability networking mode to prevent downtime if a primary server fails and support for a new authentication system called OpenStack Identity Management.

"OpenStack is right there leading that technology revolution," Bryce said. OpenStack Diablo focused less on having every feature and more on core features that cloud users rely on to ensure scalability and usability of OpenStack clouds, which will help OpenStack "stack up better against other alternatives," Bryce said.