The “Folsom” version of OpenStack, one of the most anticipated open source releases this year, is expected for release on September 27.
During a call today to discuss the OpenStack Summit this fall, organizers say the late September release timeframe dovetails nicely with the October conference in San Diego. It will be the last time that Rackspace – one of the founders of the open source cloud operating system – will be listed as the organizer of the event since the newly-formed foundation will be up and running by then.
Openstack was initially launched in July of 2010 by Rackspace Hosting and NASA and to date has attracted more than 150 backers including Red Hat and SUSE, IBM, Dell, HP and even VMware.
The “Essex” version of OpenStack was released in April of 2012 with “Nova” Compute, "Horizon" Dashboard, “Glance” imaging, “Swift” Object Store and “Keystone” Identity services.
By far, the most anticipated new feature of the next OpenStack release is the new network service known as “Quantum,” which controls network virtualization, developers say.
Quantum provides network connectivity as a service between devices such as NICs that are managed by OpenStack services. Ultimately, it is described by one Nicira executive as a building block for sophsiticated coud network topologies.
It provides a standardized interface for building and managing virtual networks and can plug into SDN components such as OpenFlow. It is not SDN but can transform anything into SDN, others say.
“Project Quantum was incubated during the Essex release and aims to provide an automated framework for managing data center network activities. Quantum is a plug-in based service that manages common network administrative tasks, from creating ports and routes to configuring VLANs," according to a press release issued by OpenStack when Essex shipped in April.
"Many users have been deploying OpenStack clouds with the Quantum networking service during the incubation phase, and Quantum is expected to become a core part of OpenStack in the “Folsom” release expected Fall 2012.”
OpenStack backers say “Folsom” offers an abundance of other capabilities including virtual networking services and high availability.
“There are quite a few real-world benefits of the development that's happening on the Folsom release of OpenStack,” said Christopher MacGown, CTO of Piston Cloud Computing. “With the on-going modularization of OpenStack Compute and the newly created volume service, we're seeing expanded support for traditional SAN and NAS from the usual suspects — EMC, NetApp, and Nexenta.
“There's work being done to make the existing Nova config-drive more viable for tools such as Canonical's CloudInit, Chef, or Puppet,” MacGown added. “OpenStack's image service has a proposed tool to add image auto-detection to enable users with an existing repository of supported virtual machine images to automatically enable them for use in OpenStack Compute. The Authentication service is seeing improvements in multi-factor authentication, public-key infrastructure support, and IPv6 support.”
The so-called war of open source cloud computing platforms has been heating up since Citrix donated CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation this spring. Still, observers say there's plenty of room for competition in a cloud compuitng market that is growing exponentially.
"OpenStack is younger and may benefit from a broader, more diverse community that includes heavyweights in hardware, networking, storage, systems management and other key areas," said Jay Lyman, a senior analyst at 451 Research.
"When OpenStack was established in 2010, people were asking how many open source cloud options we needed since Eucalyptus already existed. Today, we see more and more open source options, vendors and communities emerging in IaaS, PaaS and other subcategories of cloud computing. This matches customer demand for a marketplace of cloud services where they can pick and choose the pieces they want for their cloud implementation, whether private, public or hybrid. Given that open source software underlies a majority of cloud computing technology, it's no surprise there is high demand for open source among these pieces they are picking and choosing. "