Red Hat released today OpenStack Platform 8, providing users of its commercially supported cloud technology with new features and integrated cloud management capabilities. The OSP 8 release is also at the core of the new Dell Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Version 5.0 update debuting today, a co-engineered offering with a reference hardware architecture.
Red Hat OSP 8 is based on the OpenStack Liberty milestone release that first debuted in October 2015 and not the more recent OpenStack Mitaka milestone that was released on April 7.
The plan is for Red Hat OSP 9, based on Mitaka, to be released this summer, according to Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of virtualization and OpenStack at Red Hat.
Among the big changes in the upstream OpenStack community that occurred during the Liberty release cycle is a move to a model known as the “Big Tent.” With the Big Tent, more cloud projects are included under the OpenStack “tent,” providing many different types of capabilities. Although the definition of OpenStack expanded with the Big Tent to include more projects, Red Hat OSP 8 isn’t officially adding any new projects to what was included in the OSP 7 release in 2015.
“We have a very strict process for component graduation to ensure that projects and features are production-grade before we add them to our products,” Balakrishnan told eWEEK. “The first step is to make the projects available in RDO, our community-based distribution of OpenStack; then, once integration is complete, ensure that it meets our maturity criteria before announcing them in technology preview in Red Hat OSP, before making them fully supported.”
That said, there are three new projects—the OpenStack Trove database-as-a-service, Manila file-sharing-as-a-service and Rally performance testing framework projects—included in OSP 8 as technology previews, according to Balakrishnan.
Another technology preview debuting in OSP 8 is an OpenDaylight (ODL) plug-in networking feature. OpenDaylight is an open-source effort that is building a software-defined networking (SDN) platform.
“ODL is being included as a technology preview feature in OSP 8 to get customer and ecosystem feedback,” Balakrishnan said.
Balakrishnan added that OSP has multiple certified commercial SDN solutions from partners including Cisco ACI, Nuage, Juniper Contrail, PLUMgrid, Midokura and Brocade. Currently, Red Hat doesn’t have any plans to offer ODL as a stand-alone solution, he added.
Getting OpenStack up and running is improved in the OSP 8 update, thanks to the OpenStack Platform Director. Balakrishnan explained that the Red Hat OpenStack Platform Director is a toolset for installing and managing the “Day 1” tasks of a complete OpenStack environment. It is based primarily on the OpenStack project TripleO, which is an abbreviation for “OpenStack-On-OpenStack.”
“This project [TripleO] takes advantage of OpenStack components to install a fully operational OpenStack environment,” Balakrishnan said.
From a migration perspective, the OSP 8 milestone is an important one as it is the first that will enable easier upgrades to future releases of OpenStack.
“Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8 is the first version of a production-ready OpenStack offering that supports an in-place upgrade from version 7 to version 8 as well as, in the future, from version 8 to version 9,” Balakrishnan said.
Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8 Improves Cloud Manageability
While the upstream OpenStack Liberty release is at the core of OSP 8, Red Hat is also integrating technologies of its own into the platform, including the Red Hat CloudForms management product. CloudForms has been in the market since 2012.
“CloudForms is being included for the first time, given overwhelming customer feedback around providing rich ‘Day 2’ management capabilities in OSP,” Balakrishnan said.
CloudForms provides a unified management view over OpenStack infrastructure and workloads, from life cycle management to policy-based access control, he said. Essentially, CloudForms gives Red Hat OpenStack Platform a public cloud feel, providing many of the usage and monitoring controls typically available via public cloud services. With Red Hat’s stand-alone CloudForms product, customers can manage multiple types of cloud technology and not just OpenStack. Balakrishnan noted that CloudForms included with OSP is limited to just managing the OSP infrastructure and workloads.
Red Hat has many partnerships with different types of vendors across the IT spectrum. For OpenStack, Red Hat has an integrated partnership with Dell that includes the development of a jointly engineered OpenStack platform, called Dell Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Version 5.0.
Brent Doncaster, senior strategist of product marketing for OpenStack Cloud Solutions at Dell, explained that with the new Dell Red Hat OpenStack Cloud product, Dell sells the hardware and software. From a software point of view, Dell is supporting the same Red Hat OSP 8 as is available off-the-shelf.
“There are no differences in OSP 8 available from Dell and from Red Hat; this is by design,” Doncaster told eWEEK. “Dell does develop tools and software jointly with Red Hat that help automate and orchestrate the deployment of Red Hat OSP.”
Doncaster added that Dell provides value-added engineering to help Red Hat installations be more efficient in a Dell environment, based on Dell’s expertise at the hardware and platform level.
Dell doesn’t have a single OpenStack cloud box or rack, but rather offers templates that allow customers to order a customizable and integrated OpenStack infrastructure.
“Invariably, given all of the options and variables in OpenStack, customers have needs that are not met with a single preconfigured scenario,” Doncaster said.
Balakrishnan said Red Hat finds the Dell partnership to be unique given that it was the first to OEM Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the early days of Linux and, similarly, Red Hat OSP three years ago.
“In addition, Intel-Dell-Red Hat are also partnered to drive innovation in OpenStack as well as drive market success for the jointly engineered solution,” he said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.