Network Functions Featured Article

Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 Takes on One Major Issue: Ease of Use

July 14, 2016

Understanding network functions virtualization (NFV) can be a challenge in its own right, but actually trying to put it to work can be even more of a problem. That's a point that Mirantis has heard more than once from its customer base, and as such, has made a move to make its OpenStack release easier to operate. OpenStack 9.0 shows off a lot of the changes, which should make more businesses interested in harnessing the power of OpenStack and NFV in general.

OpenStack has a lot to offer, in both function and challenge presented. Its open-source construction, its rapid change and a general lack of skills in OpenStack make working with it a real challenge, but a challenge that can offer quite a bit of value to the successful user. So with even enterprise IT teams hard pressed to manage the system, improving usability might seem like a fairly easy response to make.

The biggest point addressed is the need to make changes in the earliest post-deployment stage. While most deployments start with installation and configuration, it doesn't take long before a need for change emerges before the system can even be properly monitored, problems diagnosed, and updates and upgrades staged. With the new version, a set of certain plug ins are added after deployment, without needing to redeploy the cloud as a whole, making it easier to make changes and modify the system.

Plus, OpenStack 9.0 can also export the settings in OpenStack's management project known as Fuel to configuration management tools to modify accordingly, and the system actually keeps track of tasks already undergone to help keep track of deployment-related tasks, making things like rolling updates proceed that much more effectively.

The new system even allows deployments to be stopped midway through and restarted later, allowing networking issues or hardware failures to be addressed and the deployment continued right at the point of the failed component. Previously, users had to restart the whole deployment process.

Already we've seen several changes, and there are several others that are adding a net positive effect in terms of ease of use. This is great news for anyone who's putting OpenStack to work; where before, it was a valuable proposition if the difficulties involved could be surmounted, now it's still a valuable proposition and the difficulties involved have fallen through the floor. That's excellent news for anyone planning to use OpenStack, and Mirantis may have made itself the name to beat with this improvement.

Anyone would be interested in a machine that does anything, but if the machine comes in a box that can't be opened, what good is it? Ease of use is almost as vital as functionality, and Mirantis has shown us the value inherent in making a powerful system easier to use.

Edited by Alicia Young

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