Red Hat Promises Ease of Use in New RHEL OpenStack Platform 7

Red Hat on Wednesday announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7.

Platform 7’s availability follows by three months the latest release of OpenStack. Key to its new features are improved deployment and management tools that simplify installation. The new feature set eases day-to-day management tasks, and establishes the underpinnings for orchestrated live system updates and subsequent release upgrades.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 is based on the OpenStack community’s Kilo release.

Platform 7 is a co-engineered solution that integrates Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat’s OpenStack technology to form a production-ready cloud platform, according to Red Hat OpenStack General Manager Radhesh Balakrishnan.

This combination addresses the critical dependencies OpenStack has on Linux and provides a highly scalable, fault-tolerant platform for building private or public clouds. Red Hat’s OpenStack Platform is deployed worldwide in key verticals including the public sector, financial services, telecommunications and education.

“High availability components are fully supported now. All sorts of components are added in there with a large degree of confidence,” said Markus Rex, CEO of ownCloud.

“That is why, from my perspective, this is important. That is why this makes a difference,” he told LinuxInsider.

Turning Point

Red Hat first launched its OpenStack Platform in 2013. This new release is Red Hat’s fifth iteration.

Its main highlight is the inclusion of the TripleO configuration director, said Red Hat’s Balakrishnan. This is an early-stage project in the upstream ecosystem that is not yet part of the official trunk version. As a result, new installations will check for setup errors on their own, and provide a number of additional provisioning options.

“Built from the combination of multiple technologies, the director adds additional Red Hat innovations for installation, monitoring and high availability,” Balakrishnan told LinuxInsider.

Additional advantages include greater security granularity, as well as control over network traffic ports for telecommunications providers, which greatly enhances the network flexibility and redundancy delivered via new Neutron features, he noted.

Challenging Innovations

The interesting piece about this latest OpenStack Platform release is that features have been added that were not available with the same degree of trust in other products, said ownCloud’s Rex.

“I think it is a good thing. This is really complicated technology. It is not something that you can play around with on your own. With somebody like Red Hat standing behind it, you can go into some really large productions. This is something that is ready now to go into very serious work without concerns,” he said.

Successfully implementing an OpenStack cloud involves much more than choosing an OpenStack distribution, observed Mike Ford, director of technical services at Midokura.

“We think that RHEL OSP7 will significantly ease the OpenStack adoption path for cloud operators because of its ecosystem of certified hardware, storage and networking solutions, he told LinuxInsider.

For example, OSP director simplifies production deployment, making a previously complicated technology accessible to a broader user base. This will drive OpenStack adoption across the enterprise, said Ford.

Driving Features

The push for new features centered around the need to simplify complicated installations. Many enterprise users found challenges around initial deployment, as well as ongoing daily operations, acknowledged Red Hat’s Balakrishnan.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack director was developed to provide a more seamless installation mechanism. It makes it easier to solve cloud operators’ day-to-day management and resource orchestration challenges.

“We found that customers faced several difficulties in production use with regards to upgrades and updates. At best, most were using a complex home-grown solution consisting of scripts and manual tasks. At worst, customers would simply avoid it altogether,” Balakrishnan said.

Platform 7’s focus on daily operations management and the importance of establishing a simplified and automated means to make future live system upgrades and avoid downtime became a primary driver, he noted.

What’s Inside

In addition to simplified deployment and director management, Platform 7 includes several new features aimed at accelerating the adoption of OpenStack.

It introduces compute host node high availability through integrated, automated monitoring and failover services from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This new capability monitors host nodes, and it includes the ability to automatically evacuate virtual machines from hosts, restarting workloads on alternate available hosts.

Greater security control for telco customers brings greater granularity and control over network traffic ports at the virtual machine level. It allows customers to maintain a tightened security level over the greater OpenStack cloud, and it allows virtualized network function traffic through each virtual machine as necessary.

Network flexibility from Neutron networking offers greater flexibility and improved network redundancy. Network operators can benefit from several IPv6 enhancements, including the ability to support direct network routing between tenants and the external gateway. In addition, Platform 7 expands high availability for Neutron routers, and improves the monitoring and reporting of the router to help network operators maintain uptime.

Incremental backup lets storage administrators take advantage of faster block storage backups and reduced capacity needs, and provides support for snapshot-based backups. With added support for NFS and POSIX file system types, it significantly reduces the amount of storage and time required, by backing up only the incremental changes since the last full state backup.

What’s Next

Red Hat plans to add more features and functionality to the next release. The company is constantly considering new projects and features in development within the upstream community, noted Balakrishnan.

“While specific features and functionality for upcoming releases are still being investigated, Red Hat is heavily involved in the advancement of container technologies and management technologies, such as Kubernetes,” he said.

A key concern is the need for integrated solutions. Thus, Red Hat is responding strategically, said Balakrishnan, with certified and integrated solution offerings around PaaS, OpenStack, containers, management and much more.

Jack M. Germain has been writing about computer technology since the early days of the Apple II and the PC. He still has his original IBM PC-Jr and a few other legacy DOS and Windows boxes. He left shareware programs behind for the open source world of the Linux desktop. He runs several versions of Windows and Linux OSes and often cannot decide whether to grab his tablet, netbook or Android smartphone instead of using his desktop or laptop gear. You can connect with him onGoogle+.

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