Fedora's latest release, Verne, features several cloud and virtualization enhancements and capabilities designed to make it easier to build large cloud deployments.
The new virtualization and cloud features in Fedora 16 allow administrators and users to launch, run and manage cloud environments, according to the project announcement on Nov. 8 from Red Hat sponsors The Fedora Project, which is a community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
However, Fedora developers tend to include latest cutting-edge technologies into Fedora, long before they are included in RHEL or other distributions.
"Fedora 16 combines the newest advancements in open source virtualized and cloud computing environments with significant under-the hood-improvements-all while continuing to improve the operating system's usability," said Jared Smith, a leader with The Fedora Project.
Fedora 16 includes multiple infrastructure-as-a-service platforms for cloud computing, OpenStack, Condor Cloud and Aeolus. Users can use the Aeolus Conductor, a Web-based user interface to manage virtual machines in the private cloud or in various public clouds in a heterogeneous environment.
Administrators need to have a standard deployment in order to get the benefits of the cloud, according to Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist for Red Hat's United States public sector group. "If every major application has its own database configuration, messaging infrastructure and operating system build, all the agility and flexibility of the cloud and virtualization infrastructures won't help you," he wrote on his One People blog.
With Aeolus, administrators can use one set of tools regardless of the cloud provider and avoid being locked into the vendor's management tools, according to Fedora.
OpenStack provides users with services for setting up and running computing and storage infrastructures. OpenStack can be used to build both private and public clouds, according to the project team.
Pacemaker-cloud provides application service high availability for cloud environments, according to Fedora. The latest project release also includes HekaFS, the project formerly known as CloudFS. HekaFS is built on top of the open source GlusterFS file system to create a cloud-ready storage file system with stronger authentication, authorization, encryption and multi-tenancy.
Red Hat acquired open source cloud storage software vendor Gluster, which developed GlusterFS, for $136 million last month.
Fedora developers made changes to improve virtual networking support and added virtualization in Fedora 16 tools, such as Virt-manager guest inspection tool. With Virt-manager, users have read-only access to browse through guest file systems, applications, and the Windows registry, according to Fedora.
The Virtual Machines Lock Manager prevents users from starting the same virtual machine twice. It can also be used to lock virtual disks so that it can't be accessed by multiple virtual machines simultaneously.
Fedora administrators can use the advanced version of Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE)-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) included in Fedora 16 as a basis for a thin-client desktop system. SPICE depends on server-based Kernel Virtual Machines to run VDI thin-client desktops. SPICE allows guest operating systems to share USB ports and two-way audio messaging, as well.
Red Hat has been working on its cloud-strategy, and the increased focus of virtualization and cloud features in Fedora is a sign the company is exploring new technologies to expand into virtualized environments and cloud data centers. "Cloud computing is about elasticity and flexibility. It's about moving away from encumbering capital investments and towards operating expenses," which are more elastic, Hellekson wrote.
The next version of Fedora is expected around May 2012.