OpenStack Kilo release

Pitching the Tent

Billing: The Eternal Construction Site

If you use OpenStack in a production environment, you will probably want to bill your customers for the service you provide. To do this, you need a reliable and powerful billing module, which is precisely what OpenStack has lacked for years. Following the public confession by Julien Danjou as the first author of Ceilometer last year [4], it looks like Ceilometer is on the right track.

Very few changes will be made to the Ceilometer architecture in the new Kilo version. Across the board, introduction of Gnocchi as a time-based database will take some time to achieve. If you prefer not to wait, you should take a closer look at the competitor products StackTach [5] or Monasca [6], which offer at least some of the required features.

Spring Cleaning at Horizon

The end user's point of contact with an OpenStack cloud will typically be Horizon, the OpenStack web interface (dashboard). In recent years, very little has been done for Horizon's appearance, and the tool is starting to look a little dated (Figure 3). Kilo resolves this by introducing a totally new wallpaper for Horizon's start instance dialog. The aim was not just to freshen Horizon's look but also to make it much more efficient to use (Figure 4).

Figure 3: The legacy dialog for starting instances in Horizon really did look a little outmoded.
Figure 4: The new Launch Instance dialog is far more elegant and functional.

Graphical interfaces may be a question of taste, but the Horizon revamp between Juno and Kilo is an undeniable improvement. All told, Horizon feels much more elegant thanks to the new Launch Instance dialog.

For vendors like Canonical or HP, Horizon has some other pleasant surprises. A separate theme interface as of Kilo gives administrators the option of implementing themes directly and in an orderly fashion in Horizon. Although themes were available prior to Kilo, the process required the administrator to overwrite the default theme with a local theme using a Python override. Kilo comes with its own interface for this so that you can, for example, use multiple themes and even lets users choose from various themes in a drop-down menu.

Conclusions

Kilo is not one of those OpenStack versions that impresses with trailblazing new features. The Big Tent discussion raged stubbornly throughout major parts of the release work, and thus consumed much time – although the effects of Big Tent will not genuinely be felt in Kilo. We won't know until a later release whether this initiative actually pays dividends for the project, or just causes more chaos.

From a technology standpoint, the changes in OpenStack Kilo are not exactly epochal, but this makes them all the more understandable. Kilo is a meaningful update of Juno – and one without major destructive potential.

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