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VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0 turns up the heat

The latest version of VMware Integrated OpenStack makes it clear that VMware takes OpenStack development and implementation seriously.

VMware Integrated OpenStack is an OpenStack distribution for those who want to manage a private cloud on top of a vSphere infrastructure. In this article, you'll learn which OpenStack services are available in the new release of VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0, and how working with VIO makes OpenStack implementation easier.

Implementation of VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0 (VIO) happens as a virtual appliance, which is offered to customers of VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus without additional charges. After importing the appliance, you'll be ready to use OpenStack formats on top of a VMware vSphere infrastructure. To get started with these OpenStack services, you'll first need to know exactly what is included.

In OpenStack, the dashboard project is used for managing VMs. Most tasks that you'll need to manage the VIO environment are integrated in VMware vSphere Web Client.

The OpenStack services themselves run on Linux virtual machines that are important with the OpenStack Appliance. As a user of VIO, you'll hardly ever work on these VMs directly, as all significant management tasks are provided through the Web Client interface.

OpenStack services in VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0

First and foremost is Nova -- the core of OpenStack and the layer that talks to the hypervisor about VM placement. Nova does not replace the hypervisor but integrates with most hypervisors on the market. In VIO, Nova only talks to vSphere ESXi; other hypervisor platforms cannot be integrated in VIO.

To deploy instances of VMs in VIO, we need images. These images are provided by the OpenStack Glance image service. This service allows users to work with different image formats to provide an optimal level of flexibility. Glance also allows administrators to work with images that are downloaded from the Internet, or custom build images that are created to match in-company needs.

Implementation of VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0 happens as a virtual appliance, which is offered to customers of VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus without additional charges.

When spinning off an instance in OpenStack, its storage is ephemeral by nature. Cinder, or OpenStack Block Storage, is provided for users that need to store data within a VM. This service enables users to create consistent block storage that is associated to the VM. Typically, Cinder volumes appear in VMs as an additional hard drive. Both Cinder and Glance OpenStack services use the VMware VMDK Driver, which facilitates integration with the block storage features that are provided by VMware vSphere environments.

The default OpenStack service Neutron is used to take care of networking. This service is responsible for creating a software-defined networking environment and uses the default NSX driver to talk to an NSX controller in the vSphere world, which allows for connection to vSphere virtual distributed switches.

Introduced in the latest version of VIO, Heat is an OpenStack component that provides application templates, which make it easy to deploy virtual appliances as well as large amounts of instances in an OpenStack environment.

VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0 is based on the OpenStack Kilo release, which was launched in April 2015. Since Kilo's release, the OpenStack community has moved on to OpenStack Liberty, which launched in October 2015, but there are no compelling reasons for an OpenStack version such as VIO to follow the OpenStack release cycle so closely.

A number of new features have been added to VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.0, including automated upgrades, Load Balancing as a Service and Auto Scaling support based on OpenStack Heat. Additionally, VIO 2.0 offers automated conversion of non-VMware image formats such as Qcow2, Raw, VDI and VHD.

VIO was released just over a year ago, but with the recent launch of version 2.0 VMware has made it clear it takes OpenStack development seriously, and it is listening to requests for new features from current users of OpenStack.

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