"Essex" version of OpenStack debuts

The fifth release of OpenStack, code named "Essex," debuted today, with enhanced quality, usability and extensibility across enterprise, service provider and high performance computing (HPC) deployments, the project announced. Essex is integrated in Canonical's Ubuntu 12.04.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

In a week when it was upstaged by rival open source CloudStack, OpenStack got a shot in the arm with its fifth major release, dubbed "Essex," on Thursday.

The "Essex" release, which is said to contain more than 150 new features, was developed by more than 200 developers, the open source project noted in a statement today, which highlighted the core improvements, including:

  • OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova) Focus on stability and integration with Dashboard and Identity, including enhancements to feature parity among the tier one hypervisors -- making it a seamless user experience across each hypervisor -- improved authorization and live migration with multi-host networking. There were also contributions to support high-performance computing and additional block storage options, including support for Nexenta, SolidFire, and NetApp storage solutions.
  • OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift) – Significant new features to improve compliance and data security with the ability to expire objects according to document retention policies, more  protections against corruption and degradation of data, and sophisticated disaster recovery improvements. Also new capabilities important to service providers including the ability to upload data directly from an authenticated web page and the ability to restrict the maximum number of containers per account.
  • OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon) – The first full release of OpenStack Dashboard provides administrators and users the ability to access, provision and automate cloud-based resources through a self-service portal. The extensible design makes it easy to plug in and expose third party products and services, such as monitoring.
  • OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone) – The first full release of OpenStack Identity unifies all core projects of the cloud operating system with a common authentication system. The technology provides authorization for multiple log-in credentials, including username/password, token-based and AWS-style logins.
  • OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance) – The Image Service received several key updates to improve usability, authorization and image protection.

NASA, Rackspace, Intel, Dell, Canonical-Ubuntu, HP and SuSE are among 155 companies that support the open source cloud OS architecture.
Citrix was an original backer but this week switched gears, dropped OpenStack and donated its CloudStack to Apache to try to build up support for that open source cloud OS effort.
Red Hat and IBM have also demonstrated support for OpenStack but have yet to announce it publicly. Red Hat purchased OpenStack-focused Glusters last year and its sponsored open source Linux project recently integrated OpenStack in the latest rev of Fedora.
One OpenStack backer said it may take time for the open source cloud OS market to shake out.
""We are in an early market, and it will take 5-10 years until we potentially see a single winner.  In the near term, there will be many winners and there is little profit in handicapping the game in absolute terms," said Alan Cohen, VP Marketing, Nicira. "Nicira likes the raw energy and momentum toward open cloud frameworks.   We are deep and public into OpenStack -- we love the community, the innovation --  but we also have other customers who use different cloud management frameworks.  At the end of the day, customers will make this decision."

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