OpenStack Icehouse Features a Trove of Open-Source Cloud Updates

Database-as-a-service technology, live upgrades, storage improvements and federated identity are part of the new open-source cloud platform release.

The OpenStack Foundation is set to officially debut its next major milestone release, dubbed "Icehouse," on April 17, providing a long list of cloud feature updates and enhancements.

OpenStack was originally started as an open-source project by Rackspace and NASA in July 2010 and has since evolved to become a leading cloud platform supported by many of the world's top IT vendors. The new Icehouse comes six months after the OpenStack Havana release came out in October 2013.

As part of Icehouse, the OpenStack platform is now gaining a new project with the inclusion of the Trove database-as-a-service (DaaS) technology. Trove was originally known as Project Red Dwarf and got its start in 2011 with the support of Rackspace and Hewlett-Packard. Rackspace today has a cloud database service that is built on top of the same technology that is in Trove.

"Pretty much every application today has a database," Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, told eWEEK. "Creating a standard way to provision and manage the lifecycle of those databases is a really useful and important feature to have in OpenStack."

John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, told eWEEK that Trove helps to enable a managed database platform, instead of users needing to roll their own implementations. With Trove as part of the integrated OpenStack platform, Engates is hopeful that the project will continue to get better, faster. As a community effort, OpenStack offers the opportunity for wider contribution as well as support, which ultimately can improve the quality of software.

"I think Trove becoming an integrated project in OpenStack is important," Engates said. "The overall benefits of OpenStack that we've always enjoyed will now extend in the realm of database as well."

Overall from Engates' perspective, the Icehouse release is really about stability and maturity. It's a theme that OpenStack Foundation executives echo. Mark Collier, chief operating officer of the OpenStack Foundation, told eWEEK that the new Icehouse release was strongly influenced by users of the platform. He noted that user feedback in the release is a clear sign that OpenStack has reached a level of production usage and stability needed for real-world deployments.

Among the new features that have landed in OpenStack Icehouse that were specifically driven by user feedback is an improved federated identity capability.

"Now you can use a single credential and be able to log into multiple public and private clouds," Collier said. "That's a key step on the path toward the hybrid cloud requirement that a lot of people have today."

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

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