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The OpenStack Folsom release is now available, providing users of the open source cloud stack platform with new compute, storage and networking innovations.
Folsom is the second OpenStack release in 2012, following the Essex release, which debuted in February. Folsom is also the first release of OpenStack made under the auspices of the newly minted OpenStack Foundation.
The OpenStack Foundation now has the support of some of the largest IT companies in the world, including: IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco and AT&T as well as the three largest Linux vendors, Ubuntu, SUSE and Red Hat.
"Folsom is a huge release," Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat told Datamation. "Every release is always better in the land of open source in terms of features and stability."
OpenStack is not just one large homogenous project, but rather a grouping of multiple sub-projects. At the core is the Nova compute project, which has been further stabilized and improved for the Folsom release.
"Nova was one of the net new pieces when OpenStack launched," Stevens said. "Nova has had a lot of active development on it and now OpenStack developers have been putting Nova in the hands of end users. And they are getting things done."
Stevens noted that Nova is now being used in production and there has been a lot of deployments among what he termed as 'smart end-users'. In the Folsom release, Stevens doesn't see any large architectural shift with Nova, rather just the benefits of time and effort by developers.
When the OpenStack project first launched it was all about compute with the Nova compute project and the Swift storage project. In the Folsom release that is expanding with the official inclusion of the Quantum networking project.
Quantum first appeared as a technical preview in the OpenStack Diablo release back in September of 2011. A core component of Quantum is the vSwitch virtual switch as well as components that enable a Software Defined Networking deployment for an OpenStack cloud.
Stevens explained that Quantum follows the overall OpenStack approach of being a framework for services plugins. He noted that while Quantum works with vSwitch, it also works with centralized controllers as well, from multiple vendors including Cisco and NTT.
"The holy grail is that when you lay out your compute and storage you need to be able to enable the network layer efficiently as well so you can build arbitrary domains for wherever you place your virtual machines," Stevens said. "Quantum has that architecture to allow the IP connectivity to follow wherever you place virtual machines in an automated fashion."
The Folsom release also introduces the new Cinder block storage component to OpenStack.
Steven noted that OpenStack started out with an object-based storage system with the Swift project. In his view, the OpenStack Swift system is great for storing and retrieving large blobs of data, however it's not as efficient for use as the core data storage system for rapidly changing data. "Cinder solves a huge gap and provides robust block storage," Stevens said.