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Open Source Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff

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OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) Adds Storage Policies for Enterprise Users and Cloud Operators

OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) today released new capabilities called Storage Policies, the most significant feature update since the project’s inception. Storage policies allow enterprise deployers and application developers more control over how they want to store, replicate and access data across different backends and geographical regions, as well as the ability for public cloud providers to offer several tiers of storage services.

OpenStack software is used by hundreds of companies to build public, private and hybrid clouds, and the new Object Storage capabilities reflect enterprise maturity and feedback from a growing user community. The new features are available now from the open source repository and technology providers in the OpenStack ecosystem, and will be integrated into the next full release of the OpenStack software, Juno, coming October 2014.

OpenStack Object Storage has become an increasingly popular cloud storage platform because of its durable, massively scalable, high concurrency object storage engine, purpose-built to support modern applications and web development. It offers resources geared to the needs of enterprises by offloading the hard problems of storage for application developers, freeing them to make their apps better, rather than dealing with the nuances of storage. OpenStack Object Storage offers a shared pool of storage with a flat name space, operating atop commodity storage hardware without lock-in. It offers rolling upgrades to new versions, automatic hardware failure handling and smooth capacity adjustments without client downtime.

New Feature: Storage Policies

Requested by enterprise users and cloud operators, storage policies allow application developers to choose the storage hardware on which their data resides. Additional capabilities include specifying how data is stored across storage clusters and data centers in different geographical regions. Users can also control replication policies that can improve the economy of different types of storage without compromising availability. Finally, storage policies add modularity and extensibility to the object storage system, allowing for new capabilities such as Erasure Coding expected later this year.

With storage policies, users can match their storage configuration to their application use case. For instance, users might prefer spinning media for one application and SSD for another. Some applications might require triple data replication, while others need only 2x replication. And, some applications might need to specify use of storage clusters in a particular geographic location to meet data sovereignty and related regulatory requirements.

Storage policies have been in development for a year, and are the product of broad collaboration across the OpenStack community. More than three dozen developers at 15 companies contributed to the version of Swift integrated into the current Icehouse release cycle of OpenStack. There are also several independent developers who contributed. Lead contributing companies (by lines of code) include SwiftStack, Intel, Red Hat / eNovance, IBM, Rackspace, HP, independent developers, EasyStack, SoftLayer and Dell (source: Stackalytics).

Supporting Quotes

“This is the most important upgrade to Swift since the project was open sourced at the outset of the OpenStack project. Users now have the granularity of control over their Swift clusters that they need in order to more precisely match the needs of their apps to the configuration of their storage. This drives improved economics while still delivering the performance users expect of object storage in OpenStack.”

John Dickinson
program technical lead for the Swift program
director of technology at SwiftStack

“An entirely new set of usage models are needed for today’s rapidly evolving storage demands, and storage policies help deliver the intelligence required. Intel is an active member of the Swift community working with companies like SwiftStack and Red Hat to help deliver Swift v2.0. We aim to build on these successes with the Erasure Code support including optimizations for Intel® architecture.”

Bev Crair
general manager of the Storage Division at Intel

“We must deliver to our customers a sense of trust, as they entrust us with the safe keeping of their creativity. With these enhancements to Swift security policy, we are allowed to build on that trust and encourage our entertainment clients to utilize Swift in exciting new ways. As always, reflected in this release is the OpenStack community listening to the needs of the OpenStack consumer and also the superb nature of an open community, in which, the consumer is the contributor.”

Guillaume Aubuchon
CTO, DigitalFilm Tree

“Users and operators in the OpenStack community are making a big impact on the development priorities of each new release. You can hear their voices reflected in features like storage policies in Object Storage and rolling upgrades in OpenStack Compute. These critical refinements represent an increasing focus on software enhancements that make OpenStack more powerful for enterprise users and cloud operators.”

Jonathan Bryce
executive director of the OpenStack Foundation

*** For more on storage policies in the new Swift, watch the presentation from OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, “The Biggest Thing in OpenStack Swift Since it was Open-sourced: Storage Policies.” ***

About OpenStack®

OpenStack is open source software for building clouds. OpenStack-powered clouds enable businesses to rapidly roll out new products, add new features, and improve internal systems while preventing technology lock-in. It is the only open source cloud platform supported by every IT industry leader. The world’s largest brands rely on OpenStack to run their businesses every day, reducing costs and accelerating time to market.

OpenStack is backed by an independent Foundation and global community with more than 15,900 individual members and 347 supporting organizations across 137 countries. For more information on vendors supporting the new Swift as well as other programs within the OpenStack project, please visit the OpenStack Marketplace. This interactive resource will help you make an informed decision, whether you're building a cloud, looking to use one by the hour, looking for training, or pursuing a hybrid model.

OpenStack Summit in Paris November 3-7

For the first time, the OpenStack Summit is coming to Europe. The Summit will be held November 3-7 at Palais des congrès de Paris. Early-bird registration, call for papers and sponsorship information can be found at the OpenStack Summit Paris website.

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