The open-source OpenStack project released OpenStack Newton on Oct. 6, providing the second major milestone update for the cloud platform in 2016.
OpenStack Newton follows the Mitaka release, which debuted in April with a focus on simplifying cloud operations. In contrast, OpenStack Newton provides a long list of incremental updates and improvements, including improved security, container support and networking capabilities.
"One of the themes that we have talked about in the last couple of OpenStack releases is manageability, and there is definitely some work in the new release on that," Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, told eWEEK. "OpenStack Newton is a bigger feature release for networking and integration across all the different forms of compute, including bare metal, virtualization and containers."
Newton is the first OpenStack release to have a robust connection between the Kuryr container networking project and the Neutron networking project inside of OpenStack, Bryce said. Networking in OpenStack has evolved over the years. It originally was only found in the Nova compute module in an element known as Nova-network. The Neutron project got started in 2011 under the name Quantum; it was renamed in 2013 as Neutron.
While some large deployments of OpenStack continue to rely on Nova-network, Neutron is where most of the development effort is going, according to Bryce. New additions in OpenStack Newton's cycle for Neutron will now make it easier than ever for Nova-network users to migrate to Neutron.
One of the challenges that faced Nova-network users when moving to Neutron was having a base default network configuration available, Bryce said.
"One of the main new features is the 'get me a network' feature that basically provides a default network topology and assigns ports and access to virtual machines," he said. "It's a big feature that helps to reduce the initial complexity of getting Neutron set up."
OpenStack Client, which was a major new element in the OpenStack Mitaka release, also benefits from new Neutron integration. OpenStack Client is a command-line client that unifies access across all the main projects in OpenStack.
"Prior to Newton, OpenStack Client had basic commands for networking, but it wasn't enough to be the default command-line client for Neutron," Bryce said. "A big focus in this release was full Neutron support inside of OpenStack Client."
The OpenStack Newton release also comes with numerous security improvements, most notably in the OpenStack Keystone authentication project. Of particular note is that there is now support for encrypted credentials in Keystone.
Bryce explained that prior to Newton, the credential store in Keystone was thought of more as a development back end, rather than a full production framework. He added that the expectation was that cloud operators would tie in Keystone with an external identity system like LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) or Microsoft Active Directory.
"What we found was that operators were using the Keystone credential store directly," Bryce said. "The changes we made with OpenStack Newton was to make the credential store secure and robust."
The improvements to Keystone now also mean that OpenStack Newton can meet compliance standards including PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).
Container support in OpenStack Newton is improved in multiple ways across different project. The OpenStack Magnum project that debuted in 2015 is among the core container efforts enabling deployment and orchestration of containers.
"What has happened in the last year is that people have deployed Magnum and operators are using it," Bryce said. Rackspace, for example, now bases its Carina container-as-a-service offering on Magnum.