Latest Tips for Using OpenStack

We’ve seen a lot of development activity in the last couple of weeks for the OpenStack Compute project. It’s a flurry of activity, though no snow flurries appear on the horizon here in Texas. It’s tough to keep up with such an active development community, so I thought I’d write up a blog post with some highlights. Hopefully you won’t think these are early release notes, but there are enough changes afoot that I wanted to get a head start.

Shiny New Bytes for OpenStack Compute

Ah, OpenStack Compute, the land of the free software cloud and the home of the brave cloud pioneers. We’ve seen many improvements lately. The previous preview release of Compute (also known as Nova) had a config file for each service. The latest and greatest code base has consolidated all configuration information into a single nova.conf file. This consolidation makes configuration much simpler, and you don’t have to wonder which config file “won” in a head-to-head matchup.

The install script for developers that Vish Ishaya composed has been folded into the source code base itself in the contrib directory. I was able to walk through it myself, as narrated in this screencast.

We’ve also had a Racker, Wayne Walls, test and contribute an installation script for OpenStack that is available in the contrib directory as well. With it, you can install a cloud controller on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with prompts for creating the configuration needed for the database, network, and so on, ready for production environments. I’ve walked through it and it is handy.

New Tricks for OpenStack Object Storage

For OpenStack Object Storage, a freshly-landed new feature removes limits on object size – you can retrieve objects larger than 5 GB now. On upload, you still upload in smaller-than-5 GB chunks, but the system “glues” them together to make larger objects for download. You can still use chunks if it makes more sense for your system, and download them in parallel if you don’t want to stream a ton of data in one chunk. This large object support is available in the trunk only, not as a package yet, so we’ll keep testing and cooking it in order to prepare it for the Bexar release in February. There’s a great story of how this feature came into being at The Story of an OpenStack Feature at Programmer Thoughts, John Dickinson’s blog.

Exciting times for OpenStack!



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