Citrix generated quite a stir in the OpenStack community last April when it revealed plans to abandon OpenStack in favor of developing CloudStack under an Apache license. However, CloudStack's future soon grew hazy, as it was tough to predict whether developers would follow along or if the platform would die of neglect.
Critics who anticipated the latter may want to reconsider. The Apache CloudStack Project this week unveiled the 4.0.0 incubating release of CloudStack, boasting such features as Amazon API support, inter-VLAN routing, and local storage support for data volumes.
Among the noteworthy additions to this version of CloudStack is the support for Amazon Web Services APIs, including enhanced support for the Elastic Compute Cloud API. In prior releases, users had to install a separate component called CloudBridge and the Management Server, according to Citrix; the new version is installed automatically along with CloudStack and is designed to run in a more closely integrated fashion.
Also new is an inter-VLAN routing capability, which enables users to set up virtual private clouds holding multitier applications deployed on disparate VLANs. Virtual machines can be deployed on different tiers, such as Web, Application, or Database. The VLANs, meanwhile, are connected to a virtual router, which facilities communication among the VMs. This feature is supported on XenServer and VMware hypervisors.
"In effect, you can segment VMs by means of VLANs into different networks that can host multitier applications," according to the CloudStack documentation. "Such segmentation by means of VLANs logically separate application VMs for higher security and lower broadcasts, while remaining physically connected to the same device."
Additionally, CloudStack users can create data volumes on local storage. These local data volumes can be attached to virtual machines, detached, re-attached, and deleted, just like other types of data volume. In earlier releases of CloudStack, only the root disk could be placed in local storage. The local storage capability is geared toward deployments where persistence and high availability aren't required, according to the CloudStack Project. Benefits include reduced disk I/O latency and lower costs thanks to less expensive local disks.
Other new features to Version 4.0.0 incubating include:
- A site-to-site VPN connection for establishing secure connections between an enterprise data center and a cloud infrastructure, allowing users to access guest VMs via a VPN connection to the virtual router
- The ability for users to securely access VM consoles on the XenServer hypervisor, either using SSH or the View Console option in the Management Server
- The ability to upload an existing volume to a VM, useful for, say, uploading data from a local file system and attaching it to a VM
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