OpenStack Gets Real With Essex

Today Rackspace is proud to join with the rest of the OpenStack community in releasing the fifth version of the project, named “Essex.”  In just 18 months OpenStack has matured from a “developer preview” to a project that is powering public and private clouds worldwide including at Rackspace (more on that in the next few weeks).  And while Essex introduces a host of new features, we are most excited about the big step it takes forward in terms of stability, usability, scalability and overall integration amongst the various OpenStack services.

Essex also marks a significant expansion in community participation.  When the project launched in 2010, only two organizations – NASA and Rackspace – contributed to its development.  With the Essex release, more than 200 developers from 55 different companies contributed.  More evidence that this isn’t simply an open source software project, but an actual movement!

Here is a quick look at some of the new capabilities highlighted in this release:

• OpenStack Compute (“Nova”) now has enhanced feature parity amongst hypervisors, live migration with multi host-networking, better support for high performance computing (HPC) and support for additional block storage solutions.

• OpenStack Storage (“Swift”) brings compliance and data security enhancements, increased protection from data corruption, more sophisticated disaster recovery capability and various enhancements for service providers.

• Essex also introduced two new projects – OpenStack Dashboard (“Horizon”) and OpenStack Identity (“Keystone”).  Dashboard is a control panel for both adminstrators and users that provides plug-in support for additional applications such as monitoring.  Identity provides a unified authentication and identity management capability for all of the OpenStack services.

We now start the march to the “Folsom” release this fall.  A key component that is expected to be included in Folsom is project “Quantum.” which begins to deliver the capability for a truly virtualized network.  It is currently being incubated by the community and while not a part of this release, it is available to anyone who wants to use it today.  Rackspace is currently running Quantum as part of its private beta of our next generation cloud based on OpenStack.

Beginning on April 16, the OpenStack technical community will get together at the OpenStack Design Summit to begin plotting out the plans for Folsom and beyond.  We expect more than 400 developers and key contributors from throughout the world to attend.  That will be followed by the OpenStack Conference starting on April 19 where more than 800 attendees are expected to hear users share their stories; the project’s technology leaders discuss the community’s vision; and the many and varied OpenStack ecosystem companies discuss the solutions they are bringing to market for their customers.  Most importantly, the community will continue to get together under one roof and get to simply debate and bond.

I would like to thank the many individuals and companies who made this release happen.  The developers, architects, product managers, marketers, technical writers and anyone else who devoted their time and energy to our cause are the reason OpenStack exists.  Our project is a remarkable showcase of collaboration with which I am very proud to be associated.

Jim Curry was a Senior Consultant with Rackspace. He joined the company in 2006 to run corporate development efforts, which included new business incubation, venture investing activities, and mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisitions of, Slicehost, Jungle Disk and Cloudkick. Three years later, Jim led the founding of the OpenStack project on behalf of Rackspace and was responsible for developing the community until its transition to the OpenStack Foundation in 2012. Jim has previously held executive positions with several technology startups, including Bowstreet and Tivoli, which have since been acquired by IBM. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and an MBA from Harvard University. Jim and his wife Laurie have a son and twins, a boy and a girl. Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimcurry and on his blog at:


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