OpenStack spins up 700 test clouds a day -- on donated HP and Rackspace time

With the release of Grizzly this week, OpenStack is sharing some details about growth and its processes

I talked to Mark Collier, COO for the OpenStack Foundation, to hear about the release of Grizzly, which the organization is announcing today. While I did learn about the latest features, it was some of the other tidbits that I found more interesting.

For instance, Rackspace and HP are donating time on their OpenStack clouds for the foundation to test new features. “We have a sophisticated system so that every time a new contribution comes in, it’s tested. We spin up a whole cloud to test it. So we’re creating 700 clouds a day as a community to test the code and make sure it doesn’t break anything,” Collier said.

grizzly_0.jpgSource: Nomadic Lass, via Flickr

You read that right – 700 clouds each day. These are OpenStack clouds running on HP and Rackspace’s OpenStack clouds.

Collier also told me that IBM, Red Hat and Rackspace are the top three contributors to OpenStack – not necessarily in that order. With IBM and Red Hat, leaders in open source software, at the head, OpenStack has some real muscle behind it.

Grizzly has 480 contributors on it – a jump of 45 percent over the previous version.

Microsoft apparently doesn’t want to be left out of the OpenStack party either. With Grizzly, Microsoft’s HyperV hypervisor is finally properly supported.

“There are a number of large customers particularly in the financial services industry that are interested in HyperV,” said Collier.

You may recall that support for HyperV was dropped from OpenStack a while back because the support was pretty week. “What happened was they were very early on to dabble in supporting OpenStack with HyperV,” Collier said. “Then they let that lapse and it was pulled from the project.”

Microsoft ultimately hired an engineer to work on the HyperV integration, which reappeared in the Folsom release of OpenStack. With Grizzly, it’s a much more complete support for HyperV, Collier said. “Now it’s really a first class citizen,” he said.

As for Grizzly, updates include:

NoDB: Grizzly eliminates a database dependency in OpenStack. That means a database failure won’t take down a cloud service.

Load balancers: Grizzly supports HAProxy, an open source load balancer, and Collier expects that other load balancing solutions will now build plugins so that OpenStack users can have their choice.

Intelligent scheduler: This new feature lets users assign storage based on the workload. That means users can allocate storage for low-priority apps on lower cost hardware or shift high-priority apps on more fault tolerant gear.

OpenStack said there are 230 new features, including an updated dashboard.

I expect to hear more about Grizzly as well as the next version, known as Havanna, at the OpenStack Summit in a couple weeks.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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