Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Openstack Icehouse release, a first look

On April 17, the OpenStack Foundation announced the availability of the ninth release of OpenStack, codenamed Icehouse. The release boasts 350 new features, 2,902 bug fixes and contributions from over 1200 contributors.

Icehouse focuses on maturity and stability as can be seen by its attention to continuous integration (CI) systems, which featured the testing of 53 third party hardware and software systems on OpenStack Icehouse.

The hallmark of the Icehouse release consists of its support for rolling upgrades in OpenStack Compute Nova. With Icehouse's support for rolling upgrades, VMs no longer need to be shut down in order to install upgrades. Icehouse "enables deployers to upgrade controller infrastructure first, and subsequently upgrade individual compute nodes without requiring downtime of the entire cloud to complete." As a result, upgrades can be completed with decreased system downtime, thereby rendering OpenStack significantly more appealing to enterprise customers.  There are also some added functions for KVM, Hyper-V,  VMware, and XenServer which are too numerous to go into here. See the Openstack Icehouse release notes for more details.

Icehouse also features a "discoverability" enhancement to OpenStack Swift that allows admins to obtain data about which features are supported in a specific cluster by means of an API call. Swift now also supports system-level metadata on accounts and containers. System metadata provides a means to store internal custom metadata with associated Swift resources in a safe and secure fashion without actually having to plumb custom metadata through the core swift servers. The new gatekeeper middleware prevents this system metadata from leaking into the request or being set by a client.

On the networking front, OpenStack now contains new drivers and support for the IBM SDN-VE, Nuage, OneConvergence and OpenDaylight software defined networking protocols.  It also supports  new load balancing as a service drivers from Embane, NetScaler, and Radware as well as a new VPN driver that supports Cisco CSR.

Meanwhile, OpenStack Keystone identity management allows users to leverage federated authentication for "multiple identity providers" such that customers can now use the same authentication credentials for public and private OpenStack clouds. The assignments backend (the source of authorization data) has now been completely separated from the identity backend (the source of authentication data). This means that you can now back your deployment's identity data to LDAP, and your authorization data to SQL, for example.

The Openstack Dashboard (Horizon) has support for managing a number of new features.

Horizon Nova support now includes:

  • Live Migration Support
  • HyperV console support
  • Disk config option support
  • Improved support for managing host aggregates and availability zones.
  • Support for easily setting flavor extra specs

Horizon Cinder support now includes:

  • Role based access support for Cinder views
  • v2 API support
  • Extend volume support

Horizon Neutron support now includes:

  • Router Rules Support -- displays router rules on routers when returned by neutron
Hoizon Swift support now includes:

  • Support for creating public containers and providing links to those containers
  • Support explicit creation of pseudo directories

Horizon Heat support now includes:

  • Ability to update an existing stack
  • Template validation
  • Support for adding an environment files

Horizon Ceilometer support now includes:

  • Administrators can now view daily usage reports per project across services.

In total, Icehouse constitutes an impressive release that focuses on improving existing functionality as opposed to deploying a slew of Beta-level functionalities. OpenStack's press release claims "the voice of the user" is reflected in Icehouse but the real defining feature of this release is a tighter integration of OpenStack's computing, storage, networking, identity and orchestration functionality.