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OpenStack Havana: easilly build and deploy applications in the Cloud

OpenStack, the open source cloud computing project that offers cloud infrastructure 'as a service', made a new release available last week: Havana.

The new version offers almost 400 new features for software development, data management and active scaling of application infrastructure. New services like OpenStack Metering and Orchestration, combined with improvement of existing services like worldwide clusters for Object Storage, make OpenStack ideal for application developers and enterprise IT.

Highlights OpenStack Havana
OpenStack Orchestration

OpenStack Heat is OpenStack's orchestration module. It automates the allocation and scaling of resources for applications. With the Havana release, this functionality has passed the incubator phase and is now part of the official project. This allows developers to have the software determine upgrading disk space or processing power for example.

International clusters

Another novelty is the possibility to build worldwide clusters for Object Storage using OpenStack Swift.  The implied ability to replicate and deliver data worldwide can dramatically improve performance and availability.

Better specified authentication

OpenStack's authentication service Keystone has been improved and made more specific.  This has resulted in  a much more granular and elaborate structure for managing rights and privileges for creating a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This yields greater freedom in creating a set of policy rules for the end user.

Support for new virtualisation platforms

Nova, the software that controls the virtualisation in OpenStack, supports two new virtualisation platforms in the new release: Docker (completely new) and HyperV 2012R2 (a new version of Microsoft’s virtualisation platform). The quota are no longer dictated by the selected solution, but can instead be controlled flexibly from within the configuration. Moreover, encrypted storage is now supported.

Software Defined Networking

Neutron is the virtual network service for OpenStack. Software Defined Networking is under rapid development and there are now three 'as as service' features available for Neutron: Firewall as as Service, VPN as a service and Load Balancer as a service.  Although the latter isn't completely new, it is regarded as such since it has been revised thoroughly. 

Easier migration of hard disks

Cinder is the software that provides block storage management: the administration of virtual server storage. A new feature for Cinder is the option to migrate volumes. An example of a situation where this functionality is used would be the decommissioning of a physical storage machine: volumes can be migrated to another node in a single operation and you're good to go.

Warning tresholds and alerting  

Havana also sees the metering service for OpenStack, Ceilometer, pass the incubator phase.  In the new release, this service can issue alerts upon passing predefined tresholds for parameters like data usage and CPU minutes used. Moreover, Ceilometer can now process data from many more different sources. 

Meanwhile, according to research by amongst others competitor Eucalyptus and OpenStack contributor RedHat, the OpenStack Community keeps growing at a fast pace.  This is a good indicator for success. The greater the community, the greater the acceptance as OpenStack as standard operating system for the cloud. With this release, another important step towards maturity of the Cloud has been taken.

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