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OpenStack 'Grizzly' control freak puffs up clouds of vastness

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Clouds of hot air? Piffle - Rackspace is using it in production

Rackspace has been using the Nova Compute Cells feature in production on its Cloud Servers public cloud since August, and it was not cooked enough to make it into the Folsom release, but now it is ready for Grizzly. Bryce said that as Grizzly currently stands, it can scale to thousands of server nodes in standalone mode, and with cells it can easily scale to tens of thousands of nodes.

Another contributor to increased scalability with the Grizzly release of OpenStack is a new NoDB (as in no database) data layer, which is an architectural change to the way the Nova controller works: the update takes some of the dependencies out between hosts and the Nova controller and to push more of the work down into the hosts. The upshot is that there is a lot less chatter between the servers and the controller, which means Nova can manage more nodes.

Bryce said that with the Grizzly release, a lot of work has been done to get all of the x86 hypervisors on par when used in conjunction with OpenStack. Red Hat's KVM and Citrix Systems' Xeon hypervisors had a lot of work done on them from the get-go alongside OpenStack, and VMware had done a reasonable amount of work with its ESXi hypervisor to make it OpenStack friendly. With the Grizzly release, a lot of work has been done to bring Microsoft's Hyper-V up to speed.

"For the most part, all of the hypervisors are very close in terms of feature sets for basic virtualization, snapshotting, and other commonly used features," said Bryce, referring to how they relate to OpenStack, not how they are used in the wild.

Interestingly, OpenStack does not expect companies to deploy multiple hypervisors on their clouds, and in fact, what Bryce says happens most of the time is that a company picks one hypervisor and goes with it.

The Grizzly controller also has some enhancements for bare-metal server provisioning and the ability to hot add and remove networking devices from servers under its thumb.

OpenStack networking has five new networking plugins for Big Switch, Hyper-V, PlumGrid, Brocade, and Midonet networking stacks, which adds to the existing support for VMware Open vSwitch and Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switches as well as Linux Bridge and OpenFlow controllers from VMware, Ryu, and NEC.

Grizzly has a new framework to offering load balancing as a service across clusters and is able to distribute L3/L4 network traffic and DHCP services across multiple servers in a cluster. The storage part of the control freak now has ten more block storage drivers, including ones for Ceph/RBD, Coraid, EMC, HP, Huawei, IBM, NetApp, Red Hat/Gluster, SolidFire, and Zadara file systems or arrays.

With Grizzly out the door, all efforts will now turn to the future "Havana" release, which is slated for October of this year. The OpenStack Summit kicks off in two weeks in Portland, Oregon, where the OpenStackers will converge to hammer out what features to add to the control freak.

Two incubator projects during the Grizzly development cycle are expected to become two new sub-projects for OpenStack during the Havana cycle, according to Bryce. The first is called Heat, and it is a template-based orchestration engine for OpenStack. The second is called Ceilometer, and it is a metering and monitoring tool that collects information to pump into billing systems. ®

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