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OpenStack Mitaka Release Finally Makes Open Source Cloud OS Easy

Mitaka, the latest release of the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform, is now out. For the first time, lots of people are praising the platform for being easy to use. Is this a sign that OpenStack -- after years of development but slow adoption -- is finally entering production data centers in a big way?

Christopher Tozzi

April 12, 2016

2 Min Read
OpenStack Mitaka Release Finally Makes Open Source Cloud OS Easy

Mitaka, the latest release of the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform, is now out. For the first time, lots of people are praising the platform for being easy to use. Is this a sign that OpenStack — after years of development but slow adoption — is finally entering production data centers in a big way?

OpenStack, which originated as an effort by Rackspace and NASA in 2010 to create a platform for building cloud infrastructure, has garnered lots of attention over the past six years. The publicity was well deserved, since OpenStack is the only major open source do-it-yourself IaaS solution.

But it has only been with the Mitaka release, which debuted April 7, that strong consensus appears to be building within the open source community regarding OpenStack’s readiness for real-world deployments. That confidence reflects a number of upgrades in the new release, including:

  • The introduction of an OpenStack client, which lets admins control all of the OpenStack services through a single interface. This is a basic usability enhancement that makes it much easier to administer an OpenStack cloud.

  • Simplified setup of Nova and Keystone, the parts of OpenStack that handle compute resources and identity management, respectively.

  • Support for “intent-based” configuration, a key selling-point for telecom users.

To be sure, some large organizations have already been using OpenStack for a long time. But the Mitaka release seems poised to lower the adoption barrier much further.

That’s good news for companies that want an easier way to build their own clouds, rather than relying on public cloud services. The updates could also modify the game a bit for OpenStack vendors, like Mirantis and Red Hat, which offer their own distributions of the cloud-computing platform. As OpenStack itself becomes easier to use, demand is likely to decrease for value-added OpenStack distributions, in which enhanced usability has been a chief selling point. If OpenStack has become simple enough to use in raw form, there is less need for hand-holding by third-party distributors (although many organizations may still be happy to have the enterprise support that these vendors provide).

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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