Open-Source Apache CloudStack 4.3 Supports Microsoft Hyper-V

The CloudStack 4.3 open-source cloud platform adds new hypervisor, SSL and dynamic computing capabilities.

The Apache Software Foundation today announced the release of CloudStack 4.3, providing new features to users of the open-source cloud platform.

The CloudStack 4.3 release is the first major update to CloudStack since the 4.2 release debuted in October. CloudStack is an open-source effort that Citrix donated to Apache in April 2012. The original technology behind CloudStack came to Citrix by way of the acquisition of in 2011.

CloudStack 4.3 offers support for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor.

Hugo Trippaers, vice president of Apache CloudStack, told eWEEK that discussions regarding supporting Hyper-V started back in 2012. "As part of the Hyper-V support, we are releasing a version of the CloudStack Agent written in C#, meaning native support written in a language that suits the platform best," Trippaers said. "It also shows the possibilities of working with other languages in the CloudStack project."

Alhough the CloudStack project is currently predominantly Java code, there is always the opportunity to select the best tool for the job, he said.

Dynamic Compute

Another key feature of the CloudStack 4.3 release is known as Dynamic Compute. Trippaers explained that the new Dynamic Compute offering is unrelated to the autoscaling features that Cloudstack has been supporting since version 4.2.

"The Dynamic Compute offering provides for flexibility to tenants when creating instances," Trippaers said.

With previous CloudStack releases, the configuration in a compute offering was fixed; for example, two cores and 4G bit of memory. With the new Dynamic Compute offering, there is a more flexible compute capability that can be filled on demand by the tenant.

"This means that instead of having to maintain lists of fixed compute offerings catering to all, a number of dynamic offerings can be made available, and the user has the freedom to set, for example, the number of CPUs," Trippaers said.

Apache CloudStack 4.3 also includes a new Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) termination that enables off-loading of SSL traffic to load balancers.

"With this feature, the SSL connection and all the encryption/decryption is handled by, for example, a Netscaler," Trippaers explained. "This frees up precious resources on the user's virtual machines and saves the user from having to worry about configuring SSL in his environment."

A Netscaler is a Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC). According to Trippaers, dedicated devices like the Netscaler can also offer significant performance improvements in handling SSL traffic.

What's Next

Looking forward, there are a number of different technologies and features under consideration for future releases of CloudStack. One of those technologies is the open-source Docker container virtualization technology.

"Docker is more than just a hypervisor, and that needs to be reflected in how it is supported in CloudStack," Trippaers said. "I'm convinced that we will come up with the right answer in the not-so-distant future and release Docker support with one of the next releases."

Other features CloudStack developers are working on for future releases include networking across failure domains for increased resiliency and improving support for bare metal deployments.

"Next to feature development, the community is also focusing on quality of CloudStack, and with the 4.3 release, a lot of improvements have been made to our build systems, including a huge number of automated functional tests," Trippaers said. "The next release of CloudStack will have new features but will also contain a serious number of code quality improvements that should translate in an even more predictable behavior for administrators and users alike."

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

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.