Icehouse: New OpenStack cloud arrives

Icehouse, the newest version of the leading open source cloud OpenStack, is now ready for users.

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Containers Answer The Right Question

Russell Pavlicek from the Xen project asks "Are Containers the Right Answer to the Wrong Question? on the Citrix Open@Citrix blog. While Russell brings up many good points, including both Mirage OS and OSv, I believe his article misses the mark about where and how Linux containers are changing the way we do IT. Its true that containers are more limited than full blown virtual machines, but the real magic is about process and management.

The operating system of a server is both essential and completely besides the point. The choice of operating system can have a major affect on the structure and management of your application, so it is absolutely necessary to consider the OS family, flavor, and version carefully when planning deployment. But the client never sees the operating system. The web application that they interact with never (or at least, shouldn’t) give an indication of the operating system powering it. So, in that way, the OS doesn’t matter, it simply needs to be there and it needs to work flawlessly.

Since Linux containers share the same kernel as the host, it is impossible to run Windows. Or FreeBSD. Or NetBSD. Or another version of the Linux kernel. Or another Linux distribution which requires a different kernel. All of those scenarios are best handled by a real hypervisor.

Paylicek’s argument is true, and if you need to test multiple operating systems and kernel versions than a hypervisor is the way to go. However, you might want to ask yourself the five whys about your process. Paylicek illustrates some of the reasons containers are the way of the future in the next paragraph:

However, some of the most vocal container advocates insist that these problems relating to containers are really application problems in disguise. Issues about kernel support and security are the results of improper application design, they claim. When we raise the bar on applications so that they are based solely on access to application servers, then the objections to containers will melt away — and so will hypervisors, for the most part.

Exactly. Containers are a way to move forward in application design, system deployment, and, critically, versioning. When you have a virtualized environment through a traditional hypervisior, of course you can have lots of very small virtual machines that are very efficient. You can even argue that the complex infrastructure to support the virtual machines is necessary and not that difficult to support. What makes containers more intriguing to me is that if I have a single server with 100 application containers running on it, I still only have a single server. If I have a single server with 100 virtual machines, I have 101 servers that need to be managed, and each one is it’s own special little snowflake. In a containerized application, especially using something like Docker, the entire container is part of the application, and is managed as part of the application, not as an independent operating system. The entire container is versioned, tested, and deployed as a whole. A failure in the container is a failure of the entire application.

This change of mindset has the capability to drastically reduce the manual intervention needed to run a modern datacenter. Now, does this mean that there will be no place for hypervisors like Xen or VMware? No, of course not. There are still thousands of uses for virtualizing the entire operating system, but that’s not to say that there’s not plenty of room for both technologies in the market. 

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Digital Deal: Up to 50 percent off EA/Origin games

Origin is launching its Gigabytes of Deals sale today. Users can save up to 50 percent on top-selling titles, including the Battlefield 4 Bundle, Sim City, The Sims 3, and more.

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Six Clicks: Linux Mint tips and tricks

Want to get the most out of Linux Mint, one of the most popular of the Linux desktops? Then read on!

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OpenStack Deployments Spread Out as the Icehouse Release Arrives

This week, there is a slew of news about major OpenStack deployments going on at enterprises. Red Hat announced that a number of notable organizations, including The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Midokura, are building out OpenStack deployments based on its platform. And, The Wall Street Journal has been covering some smaller companies, such as DigitalFilm Tree, doing deployments. Meanwhile, Icehouse, the next major release of OpenStack is arriving.

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a biomedical research institution focused on genomic medicine, has created an on-premise cloud with on-demand compute and self-service functionality. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and OpenStack are powering the deployment. Midokura, a global company focused on network virtualization, has built a private internal cloud based on Red Hat’s OpenStack platform. And, PayPal and a number of other companies are expanding their OpenStack plans.

“Having an open source cloud platform where even the average customer can feel like they’re in control of their data is a tremendous advantage,” said Guillaume Aubuchon, DigitalFilm Tree’s chief technology officer, in a Wall Street Journal interview. “It’s the world as served by cloud.”  All of the deployments being covered this week represent evidence that OpenStack is moving from the hype stage to becoming mission-critical platform technology for businesses large and small.

At the same time, the next generation Icehouse release of the cloud computing platform is upon us. The OpenStack Foundation is officially debuting the next major milestone release today, and has provided a list of cloud feature updates and enhancements. As Network World notes:

"There are more than 350 new features in Icehouse that were created by contributions from 1153 individuals, which is a 25% increase from the last Havana release. More than 2975 bugs were fixed in the release."

With Icehouse, managers of OpenStack deployments can upgrade their infrastructure on the fly, without clouds and services having to be shut down. There are also new state management features, which allow for things like optimizing virtual machines and coordinating components without disrupting cloud services. And, Icehouse introduces a new database-as-a-service feature, focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove.

Rackspace has made available a video on the development of Icehouse, and we previously covered it here

There is no doubt that OpenStack’s momentum is really picking up. "We’ve seen OpenStack move from an enterprise promise to enterprise reality, said Radhesh Balakrishnan, General Manager, Virtualization and OpenStack, at Red Hat this week.

 

The OpenStack Foundation is set to officially debut its next major milestone release, dubbed "Icehouse," on April 17, providing a long list of cloud feature updates and enhancements. – See more at: http://ift.tt/1jNwXcG

 

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In Intel, Android Has Gained a Mighty Friend

For a couple of years now, efforts to usher in devices that can run both Microsoft’s Windows platform and Android have been  in the works. We’ve written about BlueStacks Player, which runs a virtualized instance of Android that can be used alongside Windows. And we’ve covered Hybrid PCs, which run both operating systems.Now, this trend is set to pick up momentum, as Intel warms up to Android, and puts in place plans to produce chips and platform technology for new generation Android tablets.

Many people think of Intel as permanently married to Microsoft and its operating systems, but Intel has actually become a big player on everything from Apple devices to Windows/Android hybrid computers. Computerworld has quoted Intel CEO Brian Krzanich as saying that its processors will be used in 40 million tablets this year, and 80% to 90% of those will be running Google’s Android OS. "Our mix of OSes reflects pretty much what you see in the marketplace," Krzanich said on Intel’s earnings call.

Of course, Intel has already been providing processors for Hybrid PCs that run Windows 8.1 and Android.  The fact is, we’ve seen the Android app ecosystem expand at phenomenal rates, and there are lots of apps for the platform that can translate to types of hardware devices other than smartphones. The real thing to note here, though, is that Intel swings a mighty big stick when it comes to making hardware devices successful, because of its dominance in the CPU arena. Its endorsement of Android will give the operating system legs for years to come.

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How To Get Information About Your Hardware With hwinfo Utility

There are many tools that are built to get information about hardware components and one of them is the hwinfo command-line linux utility. It is used to probe the system for the present hardware and…

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