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Red Hat Previews OpenStack Folsom Enterprise Cloud Release

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted November 21, 2012


Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat is updating its cloud OpenStack cloud platform distribution in a new preview release.

Red Hat's first OpenStack preview was based on the OpenStack Essex release and is now being rebased to the Folsom release.

Folsom was released by the upstream OpenStack community in September and includes new block storage and cloud networking capabilities. OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder cloud platform project with participation from many tech industry leaders, including HP, IBM, Dell and Intel.

Andy Cathrow, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat, explained to ServerWatch that the new Red Hat Enterprise OpenStack update is still just a preview release. He stressed that the product is not yet a full Red Hat-supported product and there is still work that will be done to provide additional stability and enterprise hardening.

"This is upstream Folsom with some bug fixes and packaging," Cathrow said.

OpenStack - RoundedOne of the key new components in the preview release is the Quantum networking project, which enables a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) construct for OpenStack. Cathrow noted that there are still lots of things that Red Hat needs to do to get Quantum ready for enterprise consumption.

"Quantum works, but there are a lot of balancing acts that customers need to do," Cathrow said.

For example, Quantum has open vSwitch support, which is an virtual switch that is in the mainline Linux kernel. However, it doesn't mesh as well as it could with SELinux, which provides access controls for Linux components.

There are also some concerns about how Quantum works with the libvirt virtualization component, which Red Hat wants to improve.

"We're still finalizing what we think we can get done in time for our full release," Cathrow said "There are some architectural issues we need to address, but it's certainly getting better."

Essex to Folsom Migration

Moving from the Red Hat OpenStack Preview based on Essex to the new update based on Folsom will require a bit of effort.

With a typical Red Hat software release, there are traditional Linux updating tools leveraging Yum and RPM technologies. With the Folsom update, those tools are not quite ready at this time.

"From Essex to Folsom, it will not be a straight Yum update," Cathrow said. "But from the moment we have a GA (Generally Available) version based on Folsom, from that point forward we'll have the regular update cycle that we have with Red Hat Enterprise Linux."

Once the Red Hat OpenStack Enterprise release is generally available, the update to the OpenStack Grizzly release set for 2013 will be a lot easier, according to Cathrow.

"That's part of the work we have to get done in our Folsom update — to make sure we have the right level of features," Cathrow said. "The Essex release preview for us was about allowing customers to get some experience with OpenStack, while the Folsom release is where full deployments will begin."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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