Ushering in the OpenStack Essex Release

As some of you may have noticed, the OpenStack community published its latest six-month release, codenamed Essex, this week[1]. As shown in the release notes, there’s a massive amount of change that comes in this release.

Some of that change is quite visible. For example, the dashboard project, code-named Horizon, was entirely overhauled and became a core OpenStack project in the Essex release cycle. The new Horizon is pretty stunning[2], if I may say so myself. Other visible awesomeness comes from Anne Gentle and the dozens of contributors who worked on the new API documentation site. It’s an excellent, and well-needed, resource for the community of developers who want to build applications on OpenStack clouds.

Other innovations weren’t so visible, but were just as impactful. The Swift development team added the ability for objects to expire, the ability to post objects via HTML forms with the “tempurl” functionality, and integration with the authentication mechanism in the OpenStack Identity API 2.0.

Under Vishvananda Ishaya‘s continued leadership, contributors to the OpenStack Compute project, code-named Nova, focused on a number of things in the past six months. Notably, on the feature front, floating IP pools and role-based access control were added. A variety of internal subsystems were dramatically refactored, including de-coupling the network service from Nova itself — something critical to scaling the network service with the Quantum and Melange incubated projects — as well as separating the volume endpoint into its own service. In addition, the remote procedure call subsystem was streamlined (again) and the way API extensions are handled in source code was cleaned up substantially. On the performance front, there were numerous bug fixes, but one that stands out is the overhaul of the metadata service that Vish completed. This one patch dramatically improves performance of the metadata service used by things like cloud-init when setting up new launched instances. You can see the entire list of 53 blueprints implemented and 765 bugs fixed in Nova in the Essex release here. Pretty impressive.

Over in the OpenStack Image Service project, code-named Glance, we focused on performance and stability in this cycle. With a fresh infusion of contributors like Reynolds Chin, Eoghan Glynn and Stuart McLaren, the Glance project made some dramatic improvements. Notably, Reynolds Chin added a visual progressbar to the Glance CLI tool when uploading images, Stuart McLaren submitted patches that enabled a significant improvement in throughput by starting the Glance API and registry services on multiple operating system processes. Eoghan Glynn fixed a massive amount of bugs and added new functionality revolving around external images and having Glance’s API server automatically copy an image from an external datastore. Brian Waldon, Glance’s new PTL (congrats, Sir Glancelot!), added RBAC support and did the heavy lifting of converting Glance’s image identifiers to a UUID format. Check here for the complete list of 11 blueprints implemented and 185 bugs fixed in Glance in the Essex cycle.

The Keystone codebase was entirely rewritten, causing some late cycle turmoil, but the team of contributors working on Keystone is dedicated to improving its stability and functionality in the Folsom release series. The new Keystone design should enable better extensibility and I’m confident the new PTL, Joe Heck, will work actively with contributing organizations to see Keystone make terrific improvements in coming months.

I’m sure there’s lots of names and stuff I’ve neglected to mention and I’ll apologize for that now! :) Here’s to a great design summit a week from now and a productive and cooperative Folsom release series. Thank you to all the OpenStack contributors. You are what makes OpenStack so special.

[1] In the OpenStack community — as in the Ubuntu community — we publish major releases every six months. We don’t hold up releases for a specific feature; if the feature isn’t completed, it simply goes into the next release when it is code-complete. In my opinion, this is one of the strengths of the OpenStack release model: it is predictable.

[2] What’s more, we can’t wait to introduce the goodness of the Horizon Essex dashboard into TryStack. We aim to get this done before the summit, but more on that in a later blog post.