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VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5 brings a bevy of new features

Granular support for scheduling and a focus on automation are just two new features in VIO 2.5.

It wasn't too long ago that VMware Integrated OpenStack was announced at VMworld 2014, the company's new infrastructure as a service cloud offering that extends to vSphere Enterprise for a better integration between virtual machines and private cloud. VMware has now announced the next version -- VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5 -- and this article provides an overview of the changes expected in the release.

VMware Integrated OpenStack is based on the upstream OpenStack release cycle, which has a new release every six months. The OpenStack Foundation has decided to deliver new versions so frequently to keep up with the high pace of the changes in all of the products related to OpenStack.

According to VMware, customers won't have to wait for a new release of their OpenStack implementation every six months. VMware has decided to have the versions that end in .0, such as 2.0, used to update the code base to the latest release from the OpenStack Foundation. Versions that end in .5 -- such as the newest version, VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5 -- are used to introduce new features. So, in VIO 2.0 the codebase was updated from the Icehouse to the Kilo release, and VIO 3.0 will see an update from Kilo to Mitaka.

There aren't any new OpenStack projects integrated in VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5. The focus in this version is on a better integration with the existing VMware products, to make the extension from a vSphere environment to an OpenStack environment more natural. To start with, VIO will now be available not only for vSphere Enterprise Plus customers, but for other vSphere standard customers as well, provided that they have purchased the VMware's software-defined networking offering, NSX.

Customers will miss typical vSphere features that are available only in vSphere Enterprise Plus, such as Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), but it's likely those customers didn't need those features anyway. By offering VIO to more customers, VMware hopes to attract different types of customers that don't come from a typical virtualization background, like those that are working with digital productions.

The OpenStack Foundation has decided to deliver new versions so frequently to keep up with the high pace of the changes in all of the products related to OpenStack.

Another focus in VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5 is automation. This clearly is not competing with the automation provided with VMware vRealize. Instead, the focus is on automation of simpler and more granular tasks that are related to existing workloads, like cloning and moving workloads, and an easy interface to create templates. To implement this automation, VMware is using the same API interface for vSphere as well as VIO, which makes it easy for the Nova clone command to talk to the vSphere layer to clone a VM and import it in VIO. At a lower level, integration of the API sets has been an important design goal of VIO 2.5, because it provides a uniform framework which makes developing tooling much easier.

Resource pools that already exist in vSphere environments are now included with VIO, as well as granular support for scheduling and applying affinity and anti-affinity rules. Support for applying affinity and anti-affinity rules as well as scheduling allows VIO to integrate better with DRS -- which already supports these features -- on the vSphere platform. As a result, it will be easier to run specific workloads on specific hosts in VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5.

Also new is the introduction of an All in One deployment, which allows customers to run a proof of concept where all OpenStack components are running on one VM, instead of the seven VMs that are currently required to run a minimal VIO environment. By introducing this option, VMware hopes to make it easier for customers to get familiar with the technology. It's important to remember though that some typical features, such as High Availability, are not available in the All in One setup.

It's apparent that VMware wants to leverage the features of underlying products with the new features in VIO 2.5. Existing VMware products are providing feature-rich hypervisors, advanced automation tools, a well-developed management interface and some specific storage offerings. By putting VIO on top of that, VMware has a strong offering that makes it ready to compete with other OpenStack distributions. Expect VMware Integrated OpenStack 2.5 to be released sometime in mid-May 2016.

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