OpenStack Adds IPv6 to Cloud Stack

OpenStack is gearing up for 2011 with a new release codenamed Bexar that will include new IPv6 and large object storage support.

The OpenStack cloud platform was first announced in July of 2010 as a joint effort of NASA and Rackspace, The effort expanded to over 35 technology vendors with the first official release in October of 2010. [login]

Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the OpenStack project oversight committee and co-founder of the Rackspace Cloud, told that OpenStack has experienced a lot of growth over the last several months with over 40 participating technology vendors at this point. Bryce noted that the Bexar release is focused on solidifying the code base, making it more stable and including more next generation features.

One of the big features being improved in the Bexar release is IPv6 support. OpenStack includes both a compute and a storage component. The IPv6 support in Bexar is a dual-stack (IPv4/IPv6) implementation for the cloud compute component of OpenStack.

“You don’t end up with as many IPs when you deploy storage,” Bryce said. “With compute, the issue is that when you have 100,000 instances running, that means we’ve got at least 100,000 IPs, so for compute you consume IP space a lot faster.”

Bryce explained that OpenStack provides both a NAT for private addresses as well as a flat networking mode in which native IP addresses are used.

“Going forward there is a larger effort underway that will rollout over the next couple of releases to abstract all the networking support out even more to make it really flexible,” Bryce said. “It will be able to tie directly into networking gear so you can build out very robust and configurable networks that are managed by the system.”

The capacity of an OpenStack cloud is also growing with the Bexar release. Bryce noted that Bexar will have large object support on the storage side.

“The initial OpenStack release supported file sizes of up to 5 GB,” Bryce said. “The Bexar release has support for theoretically unlimited file sizes – it obviously depends on how much hardware you have – but you can store objects of any size that you have the hardware to handle,”

Bryce added that Bexar removes the 5 GB limit for storage by way of a file chunking system. A user could save terabyte sized files and the system also enables users to upload smaller sized files in parallel and then access them as a single file.

“So even if you don’t have a really large file and just want to be able to increase the upload rate you could split a 5 GB file into 200 MB chunks and then stream them up simultaneously,” Bryce said. “The chunks get stitched together on the other side – that’s a pretty big feature and one that removes an upper limit to the scalability of the system.”

The OpenStack Bexar release is currently scheduled for a February 3rd release.

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