Server NewsOpenStack Cactus Advances Open Source Cloud Computing

OpenStack Cactus Advances Open Source Cloud Computing

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The open source OpenStack cloud project is out with a new release this week codenamed ‘Cactus.’

OpenStack expands with new API to create extensions.

The Cactus release follows the Bexar release which debuted in February. In the new Cactus release, OpenStack is now taking the Glance image creation service, which debuted in Bexar and renaming it the OpenStack Image Service.

OpenStack started out as a joint effort of NASA and Rackspace in July 2010.

Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the Project Policy Board for OpenStack told that Glance is now production ready with the new Image Service. He added that the Cactus release includes bug fixes, performance improvements and security enhancements for Glance that have all been rolled up under the Image Service name.

The Cactus release also begins the process of opening up OpenStack to an even broader ecosystem with a new API.

“The new API has extensions,” Bryce said. “So within the API namespace there is actually a reserved area for things that are not part of the core OpenStack software.”

Bryce added that with OpenStack you can provision virtual machines, make snapshots and handle storage. However, if a developer wants to do some kind of advanced networking or talk to a piece of hardware that isn’t part of the core OpenStack, it’s now possible with the API.

“You can write the functionality as a module that includes an API extension,” Bryce said. “When you deploy your version of OpenStack you can release that as a part of the OpenStack API that is running on top of your environment.”

Bryce said it is his hope that the new API will help to foster innovation and enable more people to benefit from OpenStack. As well, he noted that over time features that appear first in modules could end up in the core OpenStack release.

The Cactus release also includes an enhanced authentication system for its cloud storage component.

“This is a completely re-written distributed authentication system,” Bryce said. “This is meant to be a production ready stand-alone authentication system.”

Bryce noted that the authentication system uses the same distributed data storage system to store the authentication data as the underlying OpenStack cloud storage system. As such, the authentication system is very scalable and fits well with the storage system.

Authentication is an area of focus for OpenStack moving forward as well. Currently, the authentication components for the compute and storage components of OpenStack are separate.

“That is one of the high-priority items that will get knocked out in the next couple of releases,” Bryce said “When that happens, connectors with LDAP will start to work in both projects, and it will make authentication a lot easier to integrate for all the organizations that are using the software.”

The next release of OpenStack is codenamed ‘Diablo.’ It is scheduled for a July 2011 release.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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