Red Hat OpenStack Platform 5 Delivers Long-Term Support of Icehouse

Red Hat doubles the support length for its OpenStack cloud distribution to three years.


Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat today announced the general availability of its Red Hat OpenStack Platform (OSP) 5.0 release. The new release follows the OSP 4.0 release by seven months and is based on the recent OpenStack Icehouse cloud platform that debuted in April.

Among the biggest changes in the new Red Hat release is the fact that Red Hat is now doubling the support length from the 1.5 years that was available in OSP 4.0 to three years with OSP 5.0.

A key value proposition that Red Hat offers with OSP is commercial support and enterprise hardening. Since OpenStack is an open-source effort, there are a number of freely available OpenStack distributions, including Red Hat's own community RDO distribution. The free OpenStack distributions, however, generally do not have any form of commercial support.

"Red Hat's approach to support lifecycle is in sync with our customer needs," Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of virtualization and OpenStack at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "As OpenStack matures and customers choose to deploy versions for longer periods of time, so will our support lifecycle."

One of the specific challenges with providing multiyear support for OpenStack is the fact that the open-source project is moving quickly, with two sets of major releases in every calendar year. Red Hat is no stranger to fast moving open-source projects, given that the Linux kernel itself is updated every six to 10 weeks. With the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system, Red Hat has a multitier system where for the first five years, new features are backported. As time progresses, only bug and security fixes are added to RHEL. RHEL, however, typically has a 10-year support lifespan, whereas OSP 5.0 will only have a three-year support lifespan.

"We'll provide production support for the entire three years, which will include all bug fixes, security and backported features," Balakrishnan said. "Our three-year product support will be equivalent to the Production 1 support that RHEL offers."

Migrating from one OpenStack release to the next has been a pain point for some organizations, which is why Red Hat has focused on the migration path with the OSP 5 release.

"Red Hat support will provide a path between each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, ensuring customers experience minimum downtime," Balakrishnan said.

As a platform, OpenStack's Nova Compute component can work with a number of different virtualization technologies, including the open-source KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) as well as VMware's ESX hypervisor. From a commercial support perspective, OSP 5.0 supports VMware's compute and network virtualization technologies, including ESX and NSX.

"Red Hat has been working closely with VMware engineering to ensure proper functionality and support," Balakrishnan said. "In most cases, Red Hat support engineers will work directly with VMware engineering to solve the issues at hand, without requiring the customer's involvement."

Going beyond what was part of the official integrated OpenStack Icehouse release, Red Hat is also including the OpenStack Sahara Big Data project as a technology preview. The Sahara project first got started under the name Savannah, with OpenStack vendor Mirantis being a lead contributor. While Sahara was not officially included in the integrated OpenStack Icehouse release, it is set to be part of the October OpenStack Juno release. OpenStack vendor Mirantis currently includes Sahara in its latest Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 release, based on Icehouse as well.

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.