What’s new in OpenStack Liberty? Open source cloud platform adds container support, changes governance model

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Image: OpenStack Foundation

Following the launch of Kilo in April, OpenStack's Liberty release is now available to download. Here are some of the main features being added to the open source cloud management software

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The 12th version of OpenStack's open source cloud software is now available, with a focus on improving support for containers and easing large scale deployments. 

The latest release, dubbed Liberty, has seen a change to the way that development projects are organised, adopting what has been called the ‘big tent’ approach. This allows for a wider range of new components to be opened up to users. At the same time, there will be greater clarity over which components are mature enough for wider use, according to the OpenStack Foundation.

Gone is the more selective ‘integrated release’ model seen in previous versions, meaning that there are more new projects included in Liberty than other releases. However, not some members of the OpenStack community have highlighted concerns with the new arrangement.

But alongside the appearance of new projects such as container platform Magnum there are a number of improvements the ‘core’ compute, storage and networking features aimed at both service providers and the big target for OpenStack, traditional enterprises.

OpenStack Liberty new features: Nova compute

As OpenStack users become more comfortable with the technology, the size of deployments in production are growing.  (See also: Yahoo to manage ‘hundreds of thousands of servers’ using OpenStack)

The Liberty release aims to further improve stability and performance of the software for these larger deployments with introduction of Cells v2 for OpenStack’s server virtualisation component, Nova.

Cells has been around since the Grizzly release, offering a method of managing different Nova modules through one API.

However the code was difficult to maintain and major features were missing, with the Liberty update addressing some of these issues, such as making it easier to deploy across different geographies.

Other compute updates include a focus on enhanced database upgrade performance, new bare metal drivers for Ironic and improvements to the Nova scheduler interface to simplify writing and customising scheduling algorithms.

OpenStack Liberty new features: Network and storage

Liberty sees a number of additions to the Neutron networking component, which is better able to handle network function virtualisation demands.

There are also enhancements to load balancing as a service (LBaaS) and new Quality of Service (QoS) APIs – which will be expanded in future releases – for limiting bandwidth and creating policies per network and per  port.

Role based access control (RBAC) will improve security for end-user tenants, providing separation on the same network resources, and a new project, Astara, has also been added to support network orchestartion.

Storage upgrades include performance enhancements in Swift for building and expanding object storage clusters, while Cinder’s block storage can now enable multiple services to run simultaneously to increase availability. Non-disruptive backups are also allowed at volume.

OpenStack Liberty new features: Container support        

Interest in container support with OpenStack continues to grow, and has been addressed in Liberty. For example, the first full release of the Magnum aims to make deployment of open source container management tools such as Kubernetes, Docker and Mesos easier, while container networking is handled by Neutron and new project Kuryr.

Meanwhile Kolla project allows containerised OpenStack environments of up to 100 nodes.

Read also: BMW chooses OpenStack for private cloud over commercial vendors due to lock-in risk

Read also: OpenStack ‘more costly’ than VMware and Microsoft for private clouds

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