OpenNebula 4.0 guns for the vCloud crowd

OpenNebula, the increasingly enterprise-focused open-source cloud stack, has hit its fourth major release. Sponsor company C12G has also announced the first OpenNebula conference, which will take place in Berlin in September, a week after GigaOM’s own Structure:Europe shindig in London.

OpenNebula 4.0, codenamed Eagle, is important for several reasons. Firstly, it includes a complete redesign of the Sunstone cloud management interface and a bunch of new operations for managing virtual machines, such as system and disk snapshotting, capacity resizing and IPv6 support. Ceph is now supported, too.

Drop-in vCloud replacement

Perhaps most important, though, is OpenNebula 4.0’s enhanced support for VMware(s vmw) users. It’s more a case of testing and certification than new functionality as such, but, as OpenNebula Project director Ignacio Llorente told me, “now OpenNebula fits perfectly on a VMware-based data center:”

“A thorough plan was carried out to make life ‘easier’ to VMware technology savvy administrators at the time of using OpenNebula. The workflow of the day-to-day routine tasks that cloud administrators were supposed to undergo was revisited, and the common actions were polished to conform with the philosophy of VMware based infrastructures. One example: the ability to upload VMware disks using the Sunstone Web UI was tested, slightly changed and properly documented.

“Moreover, the documentation of VMware underwent an exhaustive revamp, to comply with VMware terminology and to close the gap between the two technologies. The most noticeable outcome of this is the storage model of an OpenNebula cloud based on VMware hypervisors. This storage model resembles that of the infrastructures using pure VMware tech. VMware administrators would appreciate the description in the documentation of the VMFS and NFS Datastores, which leverages the use of the Disk/LUN and Network File System storage types respectively in VMware.”

Thing is, while OpenNebula has traditionally been seen as a European, more mature counterpart to the AWS(s amzn)-aping likes of OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus, these days it’s pitching itself more to enterprise users as an open-source alternative to vCloud that comes with lower costs and support for multiple hypervisors. Llorente said that, while most of the OpenNebula community is using KVM or Xen (drivers for which are also improved in the new version, incidentally), 70 percent of customers are using OpenNebula on VMware.

According to Llorente, this means the OpenNebula and OpenStack/CloudStack cloud models can happily coexist – and for evidence of this, he points to the fact that OpenStackers Dell(s dell) and Cisco(s csco) are happy OpenNebula users. Other users, by the way, range from CERN, Fermilab, the European Space Agency and NASA to BlackBerry(s bbry), China Mobile, Telefonica(s tef) and Akamai(s akam).

First OpenNebula Global Conference

The first OpenNebula Global Conference will take place in Berlin from September 24th through the 26th, the project announced in a blog post yesterday. According to Llorente, the aim is to “have a more technical conference” than the more vendor-ish OpenStack Summit.

“We’re trying to have a meeting point where the community users and developers, also partners and customers, can discuss issues about their deployments and the future roadmap,” he said. “China Mobile and BlackBerry have developed enhancements, so we would like to show them. It’s more a community event than a commercial event… we would prefer technical proposals to commercial proposals.”

Speaking of the community, Llorente added that the main focus for OpenNebula 4.2 would be the incorporation of the recently open-sourced OpenNebulaApps with enhancements such as automatic elasticity. These improvements are being funded by OpenNebula customers through the Fund a Feature program that kicked off in February, he said.

And on the subject of conferences, as mentioned above, we will be hosting our Structure:Europe event in London on 18-19 September. If you can’t wait until then to discuss these issues with those in the know, our Structure event will take place on 19-20 June in San Francisco — the panel on OpenStack in the enterprise should be particularly pertinent.