OpenStack has released the fifth version, called Essex, of its open source cloud operating system

OpenStack Releases Essex Version of Open Source Cloud Operating System

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Open source cloud operating system OpenStack announced on Thursday that it has released its fifth version, Essex, which combines expertise from about 200 developers, and adds about 150 new features.

This release follows OpenStack’s fourth version Diablo, which was released in September 2011.

The timing of the OpenStack Essex release comes a few days after Citrix announced that it was abandoning its OpenStack contribution Project Olympus, and that it would contribute its open source cloud platform CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation. Citrix says OpenStack was not far enough in the technical maturation process to be able to work with CloudStack.

While there are not many web hosts offering OpenStack-based clouds, technology providers like Dell, NetApp and OpenStack-founder Rackspace are active contributors to the open source project. Recently, Dell talked about its OpenStack participation with the WHIR in a webinar, though it focused its presentation on OpenStack Diablo. A report by GigaOm on Thursday says IBM and Red Hat will officially announce their support of OpenStack in the next two weeks.

According to OpenStack, Essex marks the first full release of two new projects, Dashboard and Identity, which it says provide additional infrastructure and support across compute, storage and networking.

OpenStack Dashboard, codename Horizon, providers users the ability provision and automate cloud-based resources through a self-service portal. It makes it easy to plug in third-party products and services like monitoring. Identity, codename Keystone, unifies core projects with a common authentication system. It provides authorization for multiple log-in credentials, token-based and AWS-style logins.

Other updated fetaures include OpenStack compute, which improves authorization and live migration with multi-host networking, Openstack Object Storage, which improves compliance and data security, and OpenStack Image Service, which made several updates to improve usability, authorization and image protection.

There have been more than 10,000 downloads from, according to the press release.

“The Essex release represents an exciting time for both OpenStack users and for NetApp as it marks a significant step forward in the flexibility of the platform and our first contribution to the community. With NetApp technology integrated into OpenStack Compute, users will be able to build on a storage platform that delivers a unique array of storage efficiency technologies, data replication features , fault tolerance, and high availability to help reduce costs and enable users to get the most out of their private and public cloud architectures. We’re thrilled to take part in the OpenStack maturation process and help build a wave of production deployments combining OpenStack and NetApp,” Jeff O’Neal, senior director,solutions integration group, NetApp, said in a statement.

Talk back: Do you think the new OpenStack release positions the open source cloud operating system better against CloudStack? What do you like about Essex, and what do you want to see in future releases? Let us know your thoughts in a comment.

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