​Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 arrives

Red Hat continues to push forward in the cloud with its latest OpenStack release.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

It's clear that OpenStack is the open-source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud to beat. What's not so clear is which company will do the best job of turning it into an easy-to-use distribution or service. Canonical, Mirantis, and Red Hat are all in the running, and Red Hat has just made its next move: the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 (RHELOS).

With the new RHELOS, which is based on OpenStack Kilo, Red Hat has introduced a new deployment and management tool. Red Hat claims that this will simplify installation, ease day-to-day management tasks, and establish the underpinnings for orchestrated live system updates and subsequent release upgrades.

Specifically, Version 7 includes the following new features:

  • Simplified deployment and management: Cloud operators now have a simpler means of day-to-day operation management and resource provisioning with the new RHELOS director. It offers a simplified and automated cloud installation tool. This comes with system-wide health checking. Additionally it eases daily operational management and resource provisioning for cloud operators. It does this with automated "ready-state" bare-metal resources provisioning. This simplifies hardware resources deployment and re-purposing on an on-demand basis. All of this is based on the community-driven, OpenStack management project TripleO. This new director combines multiple technologies to offer a single powerful tool which also establishes a new framework that can be used for live orchestrated OpenStack and director upgrades for version 7 and subsequent releases.

  • High availability workloads on OpenStack: Making it easier to migrate traditional, business-critical applications that require high availability (HA) to OpenStack, RHELOS 7 introduces compute host node HA through Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) integrated, automated monitoring and failover services. This new capability monitors host nodes. It includes the ability to automatically evacuate virtual machines (VM) from hosts, and restart workloads on alternate, available hosts.

  • Greater security control: Telco customers now have greater granularity and control over network traffic ports at the VM level. This allows customers to maintain a tightened security level over the greater OpenStack cloud, while allowing virtualized network function (VNF) traffic through each virtual machine, as necessary. Version 7 introduces this via the Neutron modular layer 2 (ML2) and Open vSwitch (OVS) port security mechanisms included in the community Kilo release.

  • Network flexibility: New Neutron networking features offer greater flexibility and improved network redundancy. Network operators can benefit from several IPv6 enhancements, including the ability to support direct network routing between tenants and the external gateway. In addition, version 7 expands the high availability for Neutron routers and improves the monitoring and reporting of the router to help network operators maintain uptime.

  • Incremental Backup: Storage administrators will benefit from faster block storage backups and reduced capacity needs with support for snapshot-based backups. With added support for NFS and POSIX file system types, this significantly reduces the amount of storage and time required, by backing up only the incremental changes since the last full state backup.

Besides the technical improvements, Red Hat emphasizes that RHELOS "is backed by one of the largest OpenStack ecosystems, with more than 350 certified partners for OpenStack compute, storage, networking, and independent software vendor (ISV) applications and services." In addition, RHELOS 7 brings integrated setup and installation of Red Hat Ceph Storage 1.3 server and clients.

Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat's OpenStack general manager, claimed in a statement that, "We have raised the standard for production-ready OpenStack with RHELOS 7. With increased adoption of OpenStack, we are excited about addressing the need for reduced time to solution with a truly open approach that enables automated deployment and life-cycle management of the infrastructure."

Now the question will be: "Can Red Hat do a good job of selling their take on OpenStack to enterprise customers who have numerous other OpenStack distribution choices?" Stay tuned.

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