Apache CloudStack 4.2 Advances the Open-Source Cloud

 
 
By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2013-10-02
 
 
 

The open-source Apache CloudStack project is out with its 4.2 release, providing its users with improvements on all levels of the cloud computing platform.

The CloudStack 4.2 release is the third for the open-source project since it became part of the Apache Software Foundation in November of 2012 with its 4.0 release. CloudStack 4.1 debuted in June of this year. CloudStack is a technology that has its roots in technology vendor Cloud.com, which was acquired by Citrix in 2010.

There are quite a few exciting new additions in the 4.2 release across storage, compute and networking, Chip Childers, vice president of the Apache CloudStack project, told eWEEK.

With CloudStack 4.2, the concept of zone-wide primary storage is being added.

"Primary storage is the storage construct that represents the volumes where running virtual machine (VM) disk images are stored," Childers said.  

Prior to the 4.2 release, CloudStack required that primary storage volumes were set up on a per virtualization hypervisor cluster, he said. As of the 4.2 release, CloudStack is now able to support zone-wide primary storage volumes for the open-source KVM and VMware ESX hypervisors.  

"This will make it easier for operators to manage storage capacity separately from compute capacity within their zones," Childers said.

On the compute side, CloudStack 4.2 benefits from enhanced bare-metal support, including specific integrations with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform. Support for Linux Container orchestration is another feature that Childers is excited about in CloudStack 4.2.

"Lightweight container technology is, frankly, the opposite end of the compute spectrum from the bare-metal server provisioning feature," Childers said. "These two features together provide operators and users with much more flexibility in supporting the applications across the spectrum of architectural styles."

Regions

CloudStack 4.2 introduces the idea of Regions, which is a scaling construct for the cloud platform.

"What it effectively provides are the mechanisms to support federation of multiple CloudStack management server clusters into a cohesive cloud," Childers said.

In a CloudStack deployment, he explained, a management server cluster is responsible for some number of zones. The addition of Regions allows those management server clusters to be aware of each other, and for operators to deploy management server clusters to support some subset of their overall zone set.

IPv6

Networking in CloudStack now includes preliminary support for the next-generation IPv6 address space. Currently, the Internet mostly runs over the IPv4 address space, but it is rapidly running out of space. IPv4 provides a 32-bit address space, while IPv6 provides a 128-bit address space.

"While IPv4 will be around for years to come, obviously the transition to IPv6 is well under way," Childers said. "We are starting with support for IPv6 on the public network side of the environment, but will be working toward v6 enablement on private guest networks as well as on the management networks in later phases."

CloudStack 4.3

Childers noted that development of CloudStack 4.3.0 is already under way, with new feature proposals hitting the development mailing list. Among the early feature proposals is a user interface refresh of the CloudStack Web interface as well as improvements to VM snapshot capabilities.

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

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