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OpenStack Cactus release boosts hypervisor support

The third major release of the open-source OpenStack cloud operating system has comprehensive hypervisor support, server cluster awareness and enhanced security
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

The OpenStack cloud project has released the third packaged distribution of its software, named Cactus.

The software, which was released on Friday, has around 40 more features than the previous version, Bexar.

According to the OpenStack community, hypervisor support in the new release has been broadened to include VMware's vSphere hypervisors. OpenStack now supports Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM, LXC, QEMU, UML, VMware vSphere, Xen and Citrix XenServer hypervisors.

The OpenStack Image Service, codenamed Glance, has been updated with a virtual machine image verification security feature. Glance provides the ability to discover, register and retrieve virtual machine images.

The OpenStack API has been updated to version 1.1, with support for code extensions. This allows developers to add experimental code extensions to their local OpenStack installations before the code is accepted by the OpenStack community and merged into the main distribution.

In addition, Cactus has multi-cluster region support, which allows administrators to manage servers in clusters. Administrators can also create availability zones — or clusters of servers designed to act as one — and fault zones, for failover.

Support for enterprise storage has been added, so OpenStack Compute can integrate with Solaris iSCSI or HP storage area network (SAN) storage.

OpenStack Project

The OpenStack project is a collaborative effort by over 60 parties to create software for a free public or private cloud, and was launched in July. The main part of its initial code came from Nasa for its compute elements, and from Rackspace for its storage elements. Since then its contributor base has widened to include organisations such as Citrix, Dell, AMD, Canonical and Grid Dynamics.

OpenStack fits in with a group of schemes designed to open up the stack required to run private and public clouds. The Open Compute Project, announced by Facebook on 7 April, has made the datacentre specifications required to run cloud-friendly hardware open source.

OpenStack is working with Facebook to allow the two schemes to dovetail into one another, the organisation's general lead Jim Curry said in a blog post on 7 April.

"We are working with Facebook to assure OpenStack can run on top of their reference architecture," Curry wrote. "We are working with other community partners such as Dell to ensure organisations wanting to consume both projects can do so."

On 12 April VMware announced Cloud Foundry, an open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) scheme. A PaaS automates the underlying infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to make it easier for developers to deploy applications to their clouds. OpenStack, by contrast, is a build-your-own IaaS cloud.

The next OpenStack release is codenamed Diablo and is scheduled for July. The Cactus compute, storage and image registry code is available from the OpenStack.org website.

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