OpenStack cloud gets Bexar release and backers

The project to bring open source and open standards to the cloud unveils Bexar, its second major release, as Canonical and Cisco join the OpenStack community
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

OpenStack has delivered the second major release of its open-source and open-standards cloud platform, adding experimental compatibility via middleware for Amazon's storage cloud and Microsoft hypervisor support.

The Bexar release, announced on Thursday, brings a host of additions to the Swift storage, Nova compute and Glance image registry and delivery components of the cloud platform.

OpenStack, announced in July, is a scheme to ease platform lock-in within the cloud through the use of open source and open standards. It began as a code collaboration between Nasa and Rackspace, and its Nova component comes from compute cloud technology developed by Nasa. The Swift component comes from Rackspace's own storage platform.

A notable addition in Bexar is support for large objects — greater than 5GB — to the Swift storage component, which also gains compatibility for Amazon Web Services's S3 storage cloud via an experimental S3 middleware layer. Nova gets support for IPv6 and Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, as well as further features around the API for administrators.

Alongside the release, networking giant Cisco and Ubuntu-backer Canonical said that they have joined the project's development community, with Canonical noting in particular the support for Amazon Web Services's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

"[OpenStack] looks a terrific base for building out open source-based public clouds, and it's embracing on not just its own APIs but also the EC2 APIs," Nick Barcet, Ubuntu Server project manager at Canonical, wrote in a blog post.

"This offers great options for users and customers to remain flexible as we move towards industry-wide open standards for these types of architectures," he added.

Cisco, which signed up to OpenStack on Wednesday, will "help with the design, specification and development of [OpenStack]". "And yes, that does mean code," wrote Lew Tucker, chief technology officer for cloud at the company, in a blog post.

Ubuntu comes to OpenStack

Canonical, which also joined on Wednesday, outlined its plans for distributing OpenStack with the Ubuntu Linux operating system. "In 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), OpenStack 2011.1 (Bexar) will be delivered as a technology preview," Barcet wrote. As part of this, the company will submit code to OpenStack.

The London-based software maker currently supports the open-source cloud platform Eucalyptus, which is a keystone of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. Canonical's head of corporate services Neil Levine attended the launch of the OpenStack scheme in July.

When asked whether Canonical has plans to choose between OpenStack and Eucalyptus for future support, Barcet told ZDNet UK on Friday that it was too early to tell. "OpenStack has a good basis but it has to be proven," Barcet said. "At this point, it would be way too early to say we are only going to support this one or the other.

"It's not what I would call at the moment production ready. This is the first version that had all the features necessary to start doing things with it... Austin was missing Glance," he added.

The Bexar release contains code contributed by 130 developers, who added around 30 new features to the original Austin version released in October.

The next scheduled release — Cactus — will focus on stability and ease of deployment, "preparing OpenStack for really large, carrier-grade installations", John Purrier wrote in a post to the OpenStack blog. The Cactus version will include support for VMware's ESX and ESXi hypervisors, alongside other new features, he said.

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