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If you like open source in your cloud, you have to be happy that the OpenStack Foundation has just released the latest version of its popular open-source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud, Grizzly.


OpenStack, the so-called Linux of cloud computing, was founded by NASA and Rackspace software developers. Today, it's supported by numerous companies and organizations. With Grizzly, Rackspace no longer dominates code changes. Red Hat, IBM, Nebula, and HP are also now major contributors.


While OpenStack lacks a strong single leader, a la Linux's Linus Torvalds, the Foundation has been successful in keeping to its six-month release cycle. Grizzly comes after September 2012's Folsom release, which was widely regarded as the first production-grade version.


So without further ado, let's see what this latest version has brought us.

The core OpenStack Compute program - aka Nova, the cloud computing fabric controller - is said to be able to handle production operations at greater scale, with "Cells" to manage distributed clusters and the "NoDB" host architecture to reduce reliance on a central database.


In addition, Nova now has greater support for multiple hypervisors. These now include ESX, KVM, Xen and Hyper-V. It can also now handle bare-metal provisioning and shared storage protocols and has the ability to hot add or remove network devices.


Object Storage can now use quotas to automatically control the growth of object storage environments.  The operator can also now perform bulk object operations. This makes it easier to deploy and manage large clusters and provides an improved experience for end users. With cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), Grizzly enables browser connections directly to the back-end storage environment, improving the performance and scalability of Web-integrated object storage clusters.


In conjunction with this, OpenStack Block Storage now enables you to manage heterogeneous storage environments from a centralized access point.  You can use a new scheduler to allow cloud end users to allocate storage based on workload. This functionality supports a diverse selection of back-end storage devices, including Ceph/RBD, Coraid, EMC, HP, Huawei, IBM, NetApp, Red Hat/Gluster, SolidFire and Zadara.


OpenStack also has better networking and software defined networking (SDN) support. A new load-balancing-as-a-service (LBaaS) framework and application programming interface (API) lays the foundation for further networking stack support.


Networking performance will also be improved with a change in how OpenStack handles identity. With this release it now uses a new token format based on standard public-key infrastructure (PKI). This, OpenStack states, will provide major performance improvements and allow off-line token authentication by clients without requiring additional Identity service calls.


OpenStack Identity also delivers more organized management of multi-tenant environments with support for groups, impersonation, role-based access controls (RBAC), and greater capability to delegate administrative tasks.


Last, but not least, OpenStack Dashboard is reported to have an improved user experience and greater multilingual support, and exposes new features across OpenStack clouds, like Networking and LBaaS. Another plus in its favor is that the Grizzly Dashboard is also backwards-compatible with Folsom. This will enable users to manage both Folsom and Grizzly-based clouds from a single interface.


It all sounds good. The real proof will come in your office and data center when you deploy Grizzly in test environments to see if its practice can live up to its promise. Let's hope it does.


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