OpenStack Icehouse Features a Trove of Open-Source Cloud Updates

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2014-04-16 Print this article Print

Storage also gets a boost in the OpenStack Icehouse release with a new replication mechanism for object storage. The OpenStack Swift project is one of the core OpenStack projects and provides object storage capabilities. Swift had previously been using the "rsync" open-source application to enable replication across different storage drives in a cluster, The OpenStack Foundation's Bryce, told eWEEK.

"There is now a native replication service called sSync, or Swift Sync, that is actually providing better performance for large environments," Bryce said. "It taps directly into the requests coming in and out of the object storage system to add and remove objects, so it's able to be more intelligent than rsync."

Nova Compute

OpenStack Icehouse now includes the ability to perform a live update on an OpenStack Nova Compute cluster. Bryce noted that the Swift object storage system has had the ability to perform live upgrades since the beginning of OpenStack. Getting live update capabilities in Nova has taken some time, he added, since it is so tightly integrated with multiple facets of the entire OpenStack platform.

"With Icehouse, you're now able to upgrade the control plane and still be able to control OpenStack Havana compute nodes and then upgrade those nodes on a rolling basis," Bryce explained. "The upgrade on the compute node is just a restart that doesn't have to affect the running workloads."

While live Nova Compute updates have progressed in the OpenStack Icehouse release, another key feature known as Cells hasn't quite moved along as much. The idea behind Cells, a feature that was initially talked about by the OpenStack Foundation in the Grizzly release in April 2013, is to enable multiple Nova Compute modules to be managed by a single Nova API.

"Cells are a fairly light layer that sits on top of an OpenStack environment to provide an aggregation point," Bryce said. "It has been built out a bit, but I wouldn't say that there has been a big leap forward for it in Icehouse."

Overall, as OpenStack continues to evolve with each release, the challenges facing the platform from a development perspective are decreasing, according to Rackspace's Engates.

"As things mature and settle down a bit with OpenStack, it gets easier, not harder," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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