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Grizzly Roars Out of the OpenStack Initiative

The changes made were across virtualization, storage, networking, security and systems engineering

The OpenStack movement is about to release Grizzly, the seventh and latest release of the open source infrastructure cloud platform for building public, private and hybrid clouds.

Among other things it was on time. The widgetry is on an every six-month release schedule.

The changes made were across virtualization, storage, networking, security and systems engineering and are supposed to solve not only complex cloud problems, but drive the entire technology industry forward.

The initiative's contributors are reportedly up 45% in the last six months and Grizzly is supposed to deliver the broadest support for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and enterprise technologies, SDN being the latest techno-craze.

Specifically the release is said to have 230 new features across compute, storage, networking and shared services and 7,620 patches contributed by 480 people to support production operations at scale and greater integration with enterprise technologies, including broad SDN support.

With more organizations running OpenStack in production - the OpenStack Foundation can't say how many but dangles some high-tone names - the Grizzly development cycle focused on supporting practical use cases for deployers and operators including Best Buy, Bloomberg, Comcast, CERN, HP, NeCTAR, PayPal, Rackspace and Samsung.

The announcement says that "to improve software quality and upgradability as new features are added, significant effort was put into the core infrastructure including comprehensive testing paths and upgrade testing on every commit. More than 45 companies employed developers who contributed to this release, including Red Hat, Rackspace, IBM, Intel, Nebula, HP, eNovance, Canonical, Cloudscaling, SINA, DreamHost, Nicira, NTT, Citrix, SolidFire and SUSE."

The improvements as lifted from the press release include:

  • OpenStack Compute - Compute delivers improved production operations at greater scale, with "Cells" to manage distributed clusters and the "NoDB" host architecture to reduce reliance on a central database. Improvements in virtualization management deliver new features and greater support for multiple hypervisors, including ESX, KVM, Xen and Hyper-V. Additional functionality was added for bare metal provisioning, shared storage protocols and online networking features such as the ability to hot add/remove network devices.
  • OpenStack Object Storage - Cloud operators can now take advantage of quotas to automatically control the growth of their object storage environments. Additionally, the ability to perform bulk operations makes it easier to deploy and manage large clusters and provides an improved experience for end users. Cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) enables browser connections directly to the back-end storage environment, improving the performance and scalability of web-integrated object storage clusters.
  • OpenStack Block Storage - The second full release of OpenStack Block Storage delivers a full storage service for managing heterogeneous storage environments from a centralized access point. A new intelligent scheduler allows cloud end users to allocate storage based on the workload, whether they are looking for performance, efficiency or cost effectiveness. The community also added drivers for a diverse selection of back-end storage devices, including Ceph/RBD, Coraid, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, IBM, NetApp, Red Hat/Gluster, SolidFire and Zadara.
  • OpenStack Networking - The leading Network-as-a-Service platform enables advanced network automation, allowing users to control their networking technology of choice. Those choices grew tremendously with the Grizzly release, with the addition of support for Big Switch, Hyper-V, PlumGrid, Brocade and Midonet to complement the existing support for Open vSwitch, Cisco UCS/Nexus, Linux Bridge, Nicira, Ryu OpenFlow and NEC OpenFlow.  OpenStack Networking achieves greater scale and higher availability by distributing L3/L4 and dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) services across multiple servers. A new Load-Balancing-as-a-Service (LBaaS) framework and API lays the groundwork for further innovation from the broad base of networking companies already integrating with OpenStack.
  • OpenStack Dashboard - OpenStack Dashboard brings an improved user experience, greater multilingual support and exposes new features across OpenStack clouds like Networking and LBaaS. The Grizzly Dashboard is also backwards-compatible with the Folsom release, allowing users to take advantage of additional features in their Folsom cloud prior to a full upgrade to the latest version.
  • OpenStack Identity - A new token format based on standard PKI functionality provides major performance improvements and allows offline token authentication by clients without requiring additional identity service calls. OpenStack Identity also delivers more organized management of multi-tenant environments with support for groups, impersonation, role-based access controls (RBAC) and greater capability to delegate administrative tasks.
  • OpenStack Image Service - There were major advancements in image sharing between cloud end users, and the creation of a set of common properties on images to provide more discoverable images and better performance when retrieving images.

Backers claim Grizzly proves OpenStack is mature. The widgetry's biggest criticism has been that it was immature since the beginning. Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, calls Grizzly "stable, scalable and feature-rich." He says that because OpenStack has been used in production for the last year or 18 months proves it's mature. The users gave OpenStack their feedback and changes are reportedly made very quickly.

The code now includes 820,000 lines, up from 600,000. Rackpace is supposed to have a million VMs on the stuff.

The follow-on OpenStack release, dubbed Havana, is supposed to come out this October. Two new projects that were incubated in Grizzly will be integrated with the Havana release: Ceilometer, a centralized source for metering and monitoring data, and Heat, a template-based orchestration layer for OpenStack.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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