The open source CloudStack project is out this week with its first major release since becoming a top level Apache Software Foundation project. The new release provides new tools that enable more scalable cloud deployments.
The CloudStack 4.1 release is the first since the project's graduation from the Apache incubator in March of this year. The first CloudStack release as an Apache incubator project came in November 2012 with the 4.0 release. The Apache CloudStack 4.0 release was built on the Cloud.com technology that Citrix had acquired in July of 2010.
Joe Brockmeier, PMC Member Apache CloudStack, explained to Datamation that CloudStack's release cycle is a time-based approach, as opposed to being strictly feature driven.
Among the new features in the CloudStack 4.1 release is Region Support, which is similar to a capability currently offered by Amazon AWS.
"This is about making CloudStack more flexible for people that are running geographically distributed clouds," Brockmeier said.
Another key feature that gets a boost is Auto Scaling. According to CloudStack's documentation, "Auto Scaling allows you to scale up or scale down back-end services or application virtual machines(guest VMs) based on various conditions you define and thereby ensure optimum use of virtual resources."
The Auto Scaling feature in CloudStack 4.1 will work with Citrix's NetScaler load balancer. Brockmeier stressed that the technology is not specific to Citrix, as the Apache project is always trying to be open and inclusive. He expects that over time, other load balancing solutions from mulitple vendors will be plugging into the feature as well via an open interface.
Security gets a boost in CloudStack 4.1 with egress firewall rules for guest networks.
"Basically we're talking about setting up firewalls for any guest traffic coming from virtual machines that is going out to the public network," Brockmeier said. "That's where you are thinking about what you want to allow out of virtual machines instances as opposed to what traffic do you want to allow to reach them."
From an access control perspective, Brockmeier noted that today CloudStack has three core classes of users. There is the root domain, which has control of the entire cloud, then there are sub-domains and domain users. Going a step further, CloudStack also provides Single-Sign-On capabilities with LDAP and ActiveDirectory. Moving forward, additional options for more granular Role Based Access Control are likely to land in CloudStack.
With the CloudStack 4.1 release now generally available, the focus of attention will turn to development of CloudStack 4.2.
While it is still early in the process, a number of features may be included in the next release of CloudStack, including support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. The egress rules for firewall will be supported on the Juniper SRX security appliance and IP address reservation capabilties are also expected to be part of CloudStack 4.2.
The current plan is for the CloudStack 4.2 release to become generally available in the August, September timeframe.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.