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InfoQ Homepage News OpenStack Discusses Cactus, Previews Diablo

OpenStack Discusses Cactus, Previews Diablo

The OpenStack project gathered late last week, and amidst the Amazon EBS debacle, held a webinar to both elaborate on new features introduced in Cactus and describe anticipated elements of the upcoming Diablo release. While the Cactus release is not likely to solve the problems experienced by EC2 customers, Diablo’s multi-zone support and federation across data centers will likely be hot topics for this week’s Diablo summit to be held in Santa Clara, California.

OpenStack, which started as a collaboration between Rackspace and NASA to support the agency’s Nebula cloud, is an open-source cloud operating system built up from multiple clusters of redundant commodity servers. The design allows OpenStack to be vendor neutral while being massively scalable to any size with no point of failure. Three components make up the OpenStack solution: OpenStack Compute; OpenStack Object Storage; and Glance. 

OpenStack Compute, codenamed “Nova,” provides the software, control panels and API's for managing a cloud. According to Vish Ishaya, the Technical Lead for the project, Nova is a:

cloud fabric controller, meaning it controls virtual machines, networks and block-storage devices, and gives you access to them through an API. The API is written in Python and supports live migration, allowing developers to migrate live virtual machines on the fly.

There are two versions of the API: Compute 1.0 which encompasses the stable portions of the Cactus release and Compute 1.1, which comprises new API features considered “experimental,” but are planned interfaces for the upcoming Diablo release. Other Nova features for the Cactus release include support for distributed zones, ESX hypervisor support, OpenStack API extensions and integration with the interrelated Glance project.

Glance itself includes an image registry and delivery service for viewing disk images. Virtual disk images can be stored in various storage systems, making it highly flexible. Images can be stored at any URI and it is no longer limited to 2GB file sizes. According to Jay Pipes, the Technical Lead for Glance, "Backing support determines size limit." Glance includes a new command-line tool that provides direct access to disk image storage services. Glance also offers a RESTful API to access services from any HTTP client, and adds a client class so that developers can extend the command-line tool.

Swift is the software component used to create redundant, scalable object storage using clusters of standardized servers. According to project lead John Dickenson

Swift is scalable storage, and is what’s running in Rackspace. A key feature is that (Swift) is designed to run on commodity hardware, and therefore there is no point of failure.

New in the Cactus release is staticweb, a middleware solution that allows customers to host static web sites from Swift. There is also a checksum on GET to ensure data integrity, proxy refactoring and improved indexing.

According to Ishaya, the open-source project has grown from just 5 developers to over 60 in less than a year. That growth has to led to an acceleration in OpenStack’s development. It has also led to “growing pains,” forcing the team leads to standardize methodologies amongst the various development groups that specialize in specific services. This week OpenStack developers are gathering for the Diablo summit to address both the proposed features of the next release and the reorganization of development teams into smaller groups. Aside from finalizing the Compute 1.1 API, other topics up for discussion include addressing Network as a Service (NaaS), Volumes as a Service (VaaS) and multi-cluster container syncing.

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