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28 September 2012, 10:42

OpenStack's Folsom released

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OpenStack has released Folsom 2012.2, the organisation's sixth release of its Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud platform. The enhancements in Folsom come from over 330 contributors. The organisation is dedicated to creating software for public and private cloud systems and has nearly 200 member companies from across the industry, including AMD, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat and VMware. It recently became a foundation with founder Rackspace handing control over to the newly independent group.

The new release launches two additional components, Block storage (code-named "Cinder") and Virtual Networking ("Quantum") as part of the core system, which includes enhanced versions of Compute ("Nova"), Object Storage ("Swift"), Dashboard ("Horizon"), Identity ("Keystone") and Image Service ("Glance"). The "Cinder" block storage system has been created from a sub component of the Compute project, Nova-Volume, to become a full component of the system offering block and volume storage, and will be developed by a dedicated team.

The Quantum networking component allows users of OpenStack to create and automate networking between the various virtual network interfaces of the virtual machines deployed. This allows administrators to create networks that reflect workflow or policies and can, for example, be used to isolate traffic between cloud users.

Nova's improvements include eliminating the need for DHCP with a simpler way to configure large pools of virtual machines using a "config drive" and a host aggregation facility to map workloads to the best possible pool so that an HPC job, for example, could be allocated to a cluster of CPUs with associated GPUs. Hyper-V support was revived to sit alongside existing Nova support for Xen, KVM, LXC and VMware ESX, after Microsoft committed to assist the project. Folsom's Nova is also now able to support Trusted Computing and can use the hardware to verify systems in the cloud. The Object Storage layer Swift, which stores data in a style similar to Amazon's S3 service, now supports gathering real time metrics about the storage cluster and can make use of SSDs for metadata storage for situations with high write-performance requirements.

OpenStack's Image Service, Glance, which manages images for the virtual machines, has been reworked to improve performance and security with a new API, new client library and new replication options. The Dashboard, Horizon, is now in its second release and its web interface for managing OpenStack has been updated with improved Compute instance launching, resource management and project management. The developers have also improved cross-browser support, public/private image uploading and network management. Improved support for PKI authentication was the main enhancement for OpenStack's Identity component.

Full details of all the changes and upgrade notes are available in the release notes. OpenStack Folsom 2012.2 is available under an Apache 2 licence from the project's pages (also available as direct links to be directly downloaded). The release notes also include pointers to how to obtain packaged versions of Folsom for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 12.10 and Fedora 17, Fedora 18 and via EPEL 6.


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