OpenStack’s latest Icehouse release hits the streets

New features make OpenStack easier to install, manage

OpenStack releases a new version of its open source cloud computing code twice a year. And today is the day for Icehouse, the first release of 2014.

OpenStack leaders say they are excited about how many of the changes in the Icehouse release have been influenced by end users of the platform. "We've worked hard to build a community of developers and users, and they're the ones driving the priorities of how the software evolves," says COO of the OpenStack Foundation Mark Collier. Large scale enterprise end users want improvements related to reliability, ease of use and upgradability.

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In response, one of the new features is a rolling upgrade capability that allows OpenStack clouds and the services that make it up to be updated without having to be shut down. The last release, Havana, laid the groundwork for that functionality, and now the Icehouse release provides the first release for users to upgrade to.

There are more than 350 new features in Icehouse that were created by contributions from 1153 individuals, which is a 25% increase from the last Havana release. More than 2975 bugs were fixed in the release.

Another feature geared specifically at the enterprise audience is the idea of coordination across the OpenStack platform. As applications are deployed in a cloud, there are multiple different moving pieces: virtual machines must be provisioned, networks configured, and storage allocated. New in the Icehouse release is a state management feature, which coordinates various components within an OpenStack cloud. This allows the OpenStack software to manage the provisioning of compute, network and storage functionality together, instead of independently. OpenStack leaders say they expect future advancements to be focused on the management of OpenStack deployments as a whole, instead of the individual components.  

Icehouse is also the start of some new projects, including a new database as a service feature, which focuses on building and managing relational databases, such as MySQL. That project is code-named Trove. In the next release, which is code-named Juno and will be available toward the end of 2014, a NoSQL and Hadoop-style database project is expected to be rolled into the project.

Overall, Icehouse represents yet another stable release that's on-time for OpenStack. The project is continuing to mature, and it has plenty of vendors backing it up. Some still question where the end users are though. To explore that question further, check back at NetworkWorld.com next week.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. (Image Courtesy of JupiterImages)

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