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Open Source CloudStack 3.0 Is Coming

The project was originally developed by Cloud.com and is now sponsored by Citrix

Over the last year I have been working on the CloudStack Open Source Cloud Computing project. This month we are getting ready to launch CloudStack 3.0 which really raises the bar for cloud computing platforms.  So what is CloudStack? It is an infrastructure-as-a-service(IaaS) platform that orchestrates virtualized servers into an elastic compute environment. The project was originally developed by Cloud.com and is now sponsored by Citrix since they acquired Cloud.com in July of 2011.

CloudStack - Open Source Cloud Computing

The new dashboard from the CloudStack 3.0 beta

CloudStack provides multiple methods for interacting with the CloudStack compute platform. Users can request resources through a rich menu-driven web interface. Operations personnel can use an enhanced version of the web interface or interact with CloudStack’s RESTful API or command line interface (CLI). The new 3.0 UI takes things up a notch making it very intuitive for users to administer their own cloud computing so administrators can delegate infrastructure provisioning and focus on more high value tasks than spinning up servers.

Another thing that I think sets CloudStack apart is it’s networking-as-a-service capabilities. CloudStack administrator can create any number of custom network offerings in addition to the default network offerings provided by CloudStack.  These offerings can be attached to the virtualized machines deployed by Cloudstack. Cloudstack allows user to choose the type of network architecture that best fits their needs.  Out-of-the-box support includes the Basic Network, or flat network mode or advanced networking VLAN support and integration of network elements including external firewalls and load balancers. Administrators can offer different classes of service on a single multi-tenant physical network with a combination of networking offerings that include DHCP, Source Network Address Translation (NAT), Gateway, Load Balancing, Firewall, VPN, Port Forwarding.

You can get the details on the beta of CloudStack 3.0 from the CloudStack open source project and the GA version should be available in the upcoming weeks.

What’s New in CloudStack 3.0

For those of you who are familiar with CloudStack here’s a list of features that will be included in CloudStack 3.0.

  • Organize Users and Resources by Projects – users can group themselves into projects so they can collaborate and share virtual resources. CloudStack tracks usage per project as well as per user, so the usage can be billed to either a user account or a project.
  • Support for Citrix Netscaler – Citrix NetScaler(MPX, VPX, SDX) is now supported as an external network element for load balancing in zones that use advanced networking (also called advanced zones). Set up an external load balancer when you want to provide load balancing through means other than CloudStack’s provided virtual router.
  • Sticky Session Policies for External Load Balancers – Sticky sessions are used in Web-based applications to ensure continued availability of information across the multiple requests in a user’s session. For example, if a shopper is filling a cart, you need to remember what has been purchased so far. The concept of“stickiness” is also referred to as persistence, or maintaining state.
  • LDAP User Authentication – you can use an external LDAP server such as Microsoft Active Directory or ApacheDS for end-user authentication. Just map CloudStack accounts to the corresponding LDAP accounts using a query filter.
  • VM  Storage Migration - CloudStack administrator can move a virtual machine’s root disk volume or any additional data disk from one storage pool to another in the same zone.
  • OpenStack Swift for Secondary Storage - In previous versions of CloudStack, NFS storage is supported for secondary storage. In CloudStack 3.0, OpenStack Object Storage (Swift, http://swift.openstack.org) is also supported for secondary storage.
  • Password and Key Encryption – CloudStack stores several sensitive passwords and secret keys that are used to provide security. Starting in CloudStack 3.0, these values are always automatically encrypted. (Database Secret Key, Database Password
  • Security Group Egress Rules - In addition to ingress rules that control incoming network traffic to VMs in a given security group, starting in CloudStack 3.0 you can also define egress rules to control outgoing network traffic.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

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