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OpenStack “Essex” Release Delivers Pluggable Cloud Operating System to Power Global Clouds

Fifth software release leverages power of community-driven development to extend on-demand compute, storage and networking capabilities; development process matures to help ensure platform quality and reliability

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – April 5, 2012 - OpenStack®, the open source cloud operating system, today released “Essex”, the fifth version of its community-driven software, with a focus on quality, usability and extensibility across enterprise, service provider and high performance computing (HPC) deployments. OpenStack Essex allows users across the globe to leverage pools of on-demand, self-managed compute, storage and networking resources to build efficient, automated private and public cloud infrastructures.

"We have observed the Open Source model and Linux change the IT world by growing a community of individuals and companies building successful businesses on top of Open Source projects. These have facilitated the maturing of the technology and the creation of vibrant ecosystems. OpenStack is now going through this cycle -- just much faster with all the experience on how to run successful Open Source projects and the industry coming aboard much more quickly than with Linux," said Phil Zamani, SVP of the Digital Business Unit Cloud Services at Deutsche Telekom. "Essex is a very important milestone, as it marks a point where OpenStack has become complete and mature enough to be a solid foundation for large-scale projects on top of it. This will grow the momentum of OpenStack in the market. We will base the rollout of our Business Marketplace SaaS Cloud program on Essex."

Illustrating the power of community-driven software development, the Essex release was written by over 200 developers from 55 different companies bringing their unique domain expertise.  Essex delivers user-requested features for improved automation, integration across projects, as well as central management and provisioning by leveraging OpenStack's pluggable architecture. To help increase stability and reliability, the Essex development cycle included an earlier feature freeze and an extensive testing phase before release, and Essex will also be included in the next Ubuntu 12.04 long term support release.

"OpenStack Essex sets the pace for open source cloud infrastructure, and we're delighted to include it in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The combination makes a robust platform for utility computing with tremendous momentum among early adopters and large scale deployments,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Founder and VP, Product Strategy, Canonical. “OpenStack and Ubuntu are the key ingredients in multiple new public clouds. To accelerate the deployment of private and public clouds, we have made significant joint investments in deployment, tooling and automated testing in this release, making it easier to deploy, scale and manage clouds with the latest OpenStack on the latest enterprise release of Ubuntu."

New Features in OpenStack Core Projects
There have been more than 100,000 downloads from openstack.org with production cloud environments deployed around the globe. Essex adds new features and better project integration across the three pillars of compute, storage and networking. Essex also marks the first full release of two new projects, Dashboard and Identity, which provide additional infrastructure and support across the three pillars. With a focus on quality, usability and extensibility across the projects, Essex adds about 150 new features including the following updates:

  • OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova) – Focus on stability and integration with Dashboard and Identity, including enhancements to feature parity among the tier one hypervisors -- making it a seamless user experience across each hypervisor -- improved authorization and live migration with multi-host networking. There were also contributions to support high-performance computing and additional block storage options, including support for Nexenta, SolidFire, and NetApp storage solutions.
  • OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift) – Significant new features to improve compliance and data security with the ability to expire objects according to document retention policies, more  protections against corruption and degradation of data, and sophisticated disaster recovery improvements. Also new capabilities important to service providers including the ability to upload data directly from an authenticated web page and the ability to restrict the maximum number of containers per account.
  • OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon) – The first full release of OpenStack Dashboard provides administrators and users the ability to access, provision and automate cloud-based resources through a self-service portal. The extensible design makes it easy to plug in and expose third party products and services, such as monitoring.
  • OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone) – The first full release of OpenStack Identity unifies all core projects of the cloud operating system with a common authentication system. The technology provides authorization for multiple log-in credentials, including username/password, token-based and AWS-style logins.
  • OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance) – The Image Service received several key updates to improve usability, authorization and image protection.


“The Essex release represents an exciting time for both OpenStack users and for NetApp as it marks a significant step forward in the flexibility of the platform and our first contribution to the community. With NetApp technology integrated into OpenStack Compute, users will be able to build on a storage platform that delivers a unique array of storage efficiency technologies, data replication features, fault tolerance, and high availability to help reduce costs and enable users to get the most out of their private and public cloud architectures. We're thrilled to take part in the OpenStack maturation process and help build a wave of production deployments combining OpenStack and NetApp,” Jeff O’Neal, Senior Director, Solutions Integration Group, NetApp.

New Networking Automation and Capabilities Added with Quantum
Project Quantum was incubated during the Essex release and aims to provide an automated framework for managing data center network activities. Quantum is a plug-in based service that manages common network administrative tasks, from creating ports and routes to configuring VLANs. Many users have been deploying OpenStack clouds with the Quantum networking service during the incubation phase, and Quantum is expected to become a core part of OpenStack in the “Folsom” release expected Fall 2012.

OpenStack Spring 2012 Design Summit & Conference
The spring 2012 OpenStack Design Summit & Conference is taking place April 16 – 20 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. More than 400 OpenStack developers and key contributors are expected to attend the Design Summit to determine the roadmap for the “Folsom” release, while the Conference should draw a broader audience of users and the technology ecosystem to discuss the state of the project. Conference keynote presentations will be given by HP, Canonical, Nebula and Rackspace, and the event will feature presentations from OpenStack users including Deutsche Telekom, San Diego Supercomputer Center, eBay’s X.commerce, Department of Energy Magellan and NeCTAR. See the Conference agenda and register for the event here.

Contributor Support for OpenStack Essex
Quotes from organizations who made OpenStack Essex possible by contributing code and helping deploy OpenStack-powered clouds:

“As a Cloud based Infrastructure & Security Platform for service providers globally, ClearPath Networks requires both very high reliability and resiliency.  Our developers and system engineers are delighted with the quality and stability that the new Essex release provides and we will run both our next generation orchestration platform and cloud gateways on OpenStack Essex for our global service provider customers.” -- Peter K. Lee, VP Software & Infrastructure Engineering, ClearPath Networks, Inc.

"Cloudscaling has successfully deployed OpenStack in production multiple times.  It is the only open source solution that meets our strict requirements on building large-scale production-grade infrastructure clouds.  Our confidence in OpenStack has grown as the developer community has grown and large deployment successes continue to launch. The project's rapid innovation track positions it for future success as the de-facto open cloud solution choice of serious enterprises and service providers alike." -- Randy Bias, Co-Founder & CTO, Cloudscaling

“OpenStack fosters the creation of cloud standards, removes proprietary lock-in for customers, and creates a large ecosystem. As a result, we’ve enabled a number of our customers with the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution.  The new features and increased efficiency in OpenStack Essex allow us to meet even more customer needs, leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open source community.” -- said Mark Linebaugh, VP of Enterprise Solutions, Dell

We've been working with OpenStack for about 15 months and we're pleased to see how the AUTHORS file keeps growing with every release. The number of people contributing code is a fine indicator of good health, supported by the excellent management of the elected technical leaders and the best development practices that translate into lots of fixed bugs, improvements and new functionalities. We're confident that we made the right decision committing resources to include OpenStack in our business strategy. -- Juan J. Martinez, Lead OpenStack Developer, Memset

“The diversity of contributors, from the smallest start-ups to the largest companies, is what will keep OpenStack at the forefront of innovation in providing the next generation of computing platforms.” -- Chris C. Kemp, Co-Founder of OpenStack and CEO of cloud systems company Nebula, Inc

"As a company that owes our genesis to the innovation and openness of the developer community, Nexenta Systems is proud to contribute our continued resources and unique storage expertise to the development of OpenStack Compute (Nova). By including support for Nexenta's enterprise-grade OpenStorage solutions in the latest OpenStack Essex release, we are continuing to advance a production-quality option for everyday businesses to build private and public clouds." --  Evan Powell, CEO, Nexenta Systems

"The Essex and Folsom releases of Quantum deliver the full range of networking capabilities to OpenStack, removing the final barrier to cloud, the network. We are privileged to technically lead, heavily contribute, and collaborate with a vibrant and growing OpenStack community on Quantum."  -- Dan Wendlandt, Director of Product Management, Nicira, and Project Technical Lead, OpenStack Quantum

"The Essex release shows tremendous evolution and improvement of the most critical components of OpenStack. Most notably, the Keystone authentication and authorization service, which was extensively revamped to enable easier and more collaborative development. The community also really rallied around improving the level of integration between the various OpenStack sub-projects. Finally, major enhancements to the modularity of core OpenStack projects (including Horizon) will make it possible for rapid development of tightly integrated plugins without impacting the project as a whole." -- Josh McKenty, Founder & CEO, Piston Cloud Computing

"The Essex code release is a major milestone for OpenStack.  With Essex, the code is at a mature place and can be used to power public and private clouds across the globe.  Many of the elements in the Essex code release such as compute, storage and networking are being used throughout Rackspace's cloud offerings. In addition, the Rackspace Cloud Builders team is deploying OpenStack clouds in data centers across the world using core components of Essex.  Deployments of OpenStack have taken off, and we look forward to the upcoming OpenStack Design Summit to see how companies are using Essex, and innovating on OpenStack." -- Jesse Andrews, Director of Rackspace Cloud Builders, Rackspace

“With the Essex release, we continue to see OpenStack maturing; the recent quality and usability enhancements are essential for cloud service providers evaluating or deploying OpenStack-based clouds. Here at SolidFire, we have made great progress within the core Nova project, including the integration of our high-performance block storage system as a supported Nova volume storage option within Essex. We are looking forward to helping drive further enhancements into the Folsom release and beyond.” -- Dave Wright, CEO and Founder, SolidFire

"Our customers have expressed increasing interest in deploying an OpenStack-based private cloud. The user and architectural advancements in Essex demonstrate the power of community-driven development, and make enterprise deployment a practical reality - delivering the control and management that organizations require to meet their compliance and security requirements.” -- Michael Miller, VP of Global Alliances & Marketing, SUSE

 "Morphlabs is excited about the OpenStack release of Essex. We believe that this release positions OpenStack to become the foundation for next generation dynamic cloud infrastructure.  We are building a fully-converged private platform around Essex, leveraging best-of-breed cloud building blocks to deliver a high-performance, flexible solution. This release marks a major a proof point of OpenStack’s commitment to open community development and pluggable APIs, which benefits the entire cloud ecosystem." -- Winston Damarillo, CEO, Morphlabs

Supporting Resources
For the latest news and information, follow OpenStack on the web at:

  • OpenStack User Stories
  • OpenStack Wiki
  • OpenStack Blog
  • OpenStack Community
  • Twitter

About OpenStack®
OpenStack is open source software for building clouds. Created to drive industry standards, end cloud lock-in and speed cloud adoption, OpenStack is a common, open platform for both public and private clouds with the support of over 150 industry leading companies, more than 2,600 global project participants and 100,000+ downloads. The open source cloud operating system enables businesses to manage compute, storage and networking resources via a self-service portal and APIs on standard hardware at massive scale. For more information and to join the community, visit www.OpenStack.org.

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