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OpenStack Xena Brings New Power to Open-Source Cloud Platform

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The Open Infrastructure Foundation on Oct. 6 released OpenStack Xena, the 24th major milestone of the open-source cloud platform.


Xena is the second major release of OpenStack in 2021—OpenStack Wallaby was released in April.


OpenStack got its start in 2010 as a joint effort from NASA and Rackspace, and over the past decade has grown in terms of participation and capabilities. For the Xena release, more than 125 organizations contributed code, with Red Hat, Microsoft, Facebook, AT&T and Huawei among the big contributors.


“A big theme overall from Xena is around increasing the performance at scale for a number of different projects,” Jonathan Bryce, CEO and executive director of the Open Infrastructure Foundation, said during a media briefing.


OpenStack Xena Continues to Scale Cloud Deployment


Users who are increasingly using more OpenStack resources are driving the need for improved scale and performance, according to Bryce.


“Certain things that work really well when you have 100 or 500 servers don’t work as well when you have 10,000 or 50,000 servers, and that’s the scale that some of these production environments are at now,” he said.


Today, OpenStack technologies are used in both public and private clouds, according to Mark Collier, chief operating officer of the Open Infrastructure Foundation. In fact, OpenStack is in 170 data centers for public cloud around the world, he said.


New Features in OpenStack Xena Cloud


Some key areas of development in the OpenStack Xena release, according to Thierry Carrez, vice president of engineering at the Open Infrastructure Foundation, were enabling hardware features and supporting edge use cases.


Among the new hardware features are improvements in the OpenStack Cinder block storage service. Carrez said that in Xena, new support has been added for a capability known as multi-attach, which enables users to attach the same block storage device to multiple virtual machines. The Ironic service, which provides bare metal compute capabilities, benefits from what Carrez referred to as substantial API response time improvements that help accelerate large deployments.


The Neutron networking service is also getting boost in OpenStack Xena with support for equal-cost multi-path routing (ECMP). ECMP is a networking approach that can improve network resilience by sending data packets to the same destination via multiple paths.


“ECMP routes are routes that go to the same destination, but with different paths,” Carrez said.


Another area of scalability improvement is found in the Manila shared file system service. The Manila network driver in OpenStack Xena will now support petabyte-scale file systems, Carrez said. Manila also benefits from a new type of replication that lets users access the replicas as read-only servers. The primary write server is still available to update, but reading the data can now be accessed on multiple availability zones. The replication feature can now help with disaster recovery and improve overall performance, he said.


Xena is the last scheduled major release for OpenStack in 2021, with OpenStack Yoga currently estimated to be released in March 2022.

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