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OpenStack Official Talks Up Diablo

The OpenStack consortium is readying the next release of its open-source cloud operating platform with a target date of late September.

OpenStack, a project launched a year ago this week by Rackspace Hosting and NASA, now is 80 member companies strong. The last release of the OpenStack operating system, Cactus, came out in April. The group is now moving to a six-month release cycle, said Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack Project Policy Board and a founder of the Rackspace Cloud.

The next release is called Diablo. I chatted about Diablo with Bryce, who believes it will further broaden the appeal of OpenStack to both emerging service providers and large enterprises.

"The Diablo release is going to be a really good release for the traditional and average IT shop that's out there," Bryce said.

While there are a number of new features that will embody Diablo, Bryce emphasized three of them: improved networking, identity management and new service provider capabilities.

The networking in the first few versions of OpenStack Compute has been built around how you take network traffic and get it to and from virtual machines. "It's IP assignment and some basic routing. It's not a full networking stack by any means," he said.

With contributions from a number of players including notably Cisco, Diablo will step up the networking capabilities of OpenStack by dealing with the switching and routing side of things, "and even concepts of moving from having a network card and a virtual machine that you need to get traffic to, to actually dealing with ports on both sides of the line and coming up with a real model for virtualizing all of that so you can control all of the aspects of the networking of your datacenter," he explained.

The approach is to set up an interface, an API, where you can configure and create new ports, establish new connections between ports, create new routes and manage it all, he added.

"This is why Cisco has gotten involved, so you get to the point where you can really create some powerful automation at all layers of the network, and virtualize pieces of it, use physical hardware for pieces of it, but you control it all through one interface that is tied into this whole OpenStack cloud operating system."

Next is identity. A new feature called Keystone provides an identity and authentication management service. Keystone can tap into existing authentication systems like Active Directory and LDAP but it presents multitenant concepts that the compute service and the object storage need to keep users' data and virtual machines separate and secure and gives a single source of truth on the identity side, Bryce explained.

Finally, Diablo will gain new service provider features. One that Bryce pointed out includes usage tracking for billing and chargeback and monitoring the health of a service. The way the system keeps track of that data now is you can pull the data out but it's not all that clean and separated to the point where you could put it into a billing system or an accounting system, he said.

Some of the OpenStack developers are working on an interface that is meant to pull data out of all of these systems. It can be usage data for billing and monitoring data for health checks, Bryce said. "It's basically a system to subscribe to these feeds of data that you need so there's a unified framework for how that data is being published and exported."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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