OpenStack Essex Adds Dashboard and Identity

Essex, the fifth version of the OpenStack cloud operating system released today, also marks the first full release of two new projects, Dashboard and Identity.

Colleen Miller

April 5, 2012

3 Min Read
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With the release of its fifth version of its open source cloud operating system, titled “Essex,” the OpenStack community leaped forward today. Essex adds about 150 new features, including Dashboard and Identity projects, to the OpenStack cloud OS that has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Touted as "community-oriented," the Essex release was written by more than 200 developers from 55 different companies bringing their individual expertise to the project.

Started by Rackspace and NASA in 2010, OpenStack is open source software for building clouds. Created to drive industry standards, end cloud lock-in and speed cloud adoption, OpenStack is a common, open platform for both public and private clouds.

The Essex development cycle included an earlier feature freeze and an extensive testing phase before release. This resulted in greater stability and reliability, according to a statement from OpenStack. Essex will also be included in the next Ubuntu 12.04 long term support release.

Essex adds new features and better project integration across the three pillars of compute, storage and networking, said the statement. Essex’s additional features include the following updates:

  • OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova) – Focus on stability and integration with Dashboard and Identity, including enhancements to feature parity among the tier one hypervisors -- making it a seamless user experience across each hypervisor -- improved authorization and live migration with multi-host networking. There were also contributions to support high-performance computing and additional block storage options, including support for Nexenta, SolidFire, and NetApp storage solutions.

  • OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift) – Significant new features to improve compliance and data security with the ability to expire objects according to document retention policies, more protections against corruption and degradation of data, and sophisticated disaster recovery improvements. Also new capabilities important to service providers including the ability to upload data directly from an authenticated web page and the ability to restrict the maximum number of containers per account.

  • OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon) – The first full release of OpenStack Dashboard provides administrators and users the ability to access, provision and automate cloud-based resources through a self-service portal. The extensible design makes it easy to plug in and expose third party products and services, such as monitoring.

  • OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone) – The first full release of OpenStack Identity unifies all core projects of the cloud operating system with a common authentication system. The technology provides authorization for multiple log-in credentials, including username/password, token-based and AWS-style logins./

  • OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance) – The Image Service received several key updates to improve usability, authorization and image protection.

"The Essex release shows tremendous evolution and improvement of the most critical components of OpenStack,” said Josh McKenty, Founder & CEO, Piston Cloud Computing. “Most notably, the Keystone authentication and authorization service, which was extensively revamped to enable easier and more collaborative development. The community also really rallied around improving the level of integration between the various OpenStack sub-projects. Finally, major enhancements to the modularity of core OpenStack projects (including Horizon) will make it possible for rapid development of tightly integrated plugins without impacting the project as a whole."

“The Essex release represents an exciting time for both OpenStack users and for NetApp as it marks a significant step forward in the flexibility of the platform and our first contribution to the community,” said Jeff O’Neal, Senior Director, Solutions Integration Group, NetApp. “With NetApp technology integrated into OpenStack Compute, users will be able to build on a storage platform that delivers a unique array of storage efficiency technologies, data replication features, fault tolerance and high availability to help reduce costs and enable users to get the most out of their private and public cloud architectures.”

Looking ahead, Project Quantum, led by Nicira, Cisco, Citrix, Midokura and Rackspace, was incubated during the Essex release, and is anticipated to be in the “Folsom” release expected Fall 2012. Quantum, a plug-in based service that manages common network administrative tasks, from creating ports and routes to configuring VLANs, aims to provide an automated framework for managing data center network activities.

Below is a video released to show the new features of OpenStack Essex.

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