The project team behind the OpenStack internal cloud operating system announced yesterday a second public release, code-named Bexar (pronounced “bear”). This release is the first to include “Glance,” a new virtual machine image registry and delivery service.
OpenStack is primarily supported by Rackspace, a hosting and cloud provider. But with the release of Bexar, the project announced that the coalition of affiliated and contributing companies has now reached 50. That list includes companies like Cisco (which just joined up), Dell and NTT.
OpenStack is now made up of three parts. The object storage portion of this data center operating system is named “Swift,” and this release increases the maximum size for stored files beyond 5GB. Swift also added an Amazon S3-like compatibility middleware layer, which is designed to allow applications hosted in Amazon Web Services’ cloud to use the OpenStack storage system without modification.
The OpenStack compute portion of the project is named “Nova,” and it is descended from code originally written at NASA. Devin Carlen, a Web systems architect at NASA, said that the project has grown considerably since the initial NASA code donation, and the project is still evolving dramatically.
Many of the decisions being made now, he said, are being made with a focus on flexibility. For example, Nova is built to accommodate various methods of accessing storage, rather than just supporting Internet Small Computing Interface (an Internet protocol-based storage network standard) directly. This allows for flexibility as standards emerge over the coming years, he said.
Many of the additions to Nova in this release are focused on the management and recovery of running virtual machines. Bexar also includes support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor for the first time.
But the new, third leg of OpenStack is the Glance registry and delivery service. Because clouds require entire virtual machine images to run an application, many developers are finding themselves with another step after build, where their applications are embedded into an ISO file or some other type of disk image. Glance is a set of APIs that allow developers and administrators to upload and manage their virtual machine images to the OpenStack cloud.
Vishvananda Ishaya, software engineer at OpenStack implementation consulting firm Anso Labs, said that Glance will be able to translate machine images from one standard to another, and he added that this was important because there has not yet emerged a single standard for these disk images. He said that Glance should gain further machine image capabilities, but that the problems posed by storing and version-controlling these images are difficult to solve.