Deltacloud 1.0

15 June 2012

The upcoming release of Deltacloud 1.0 is a huge milestone for the project: even though no sausages were hurt in its making, it is still chockful of the broadest blend of the finest IaaS API ingredients. The changes and improvements are too numerous to list in detail, but it is worth highlighting some of them. TL;DR: the release candidate is available now.

EC2 frontend

With this release, Deltacloud moves another step towards being a universal cloud IaaS API proxy: when we started adding support for DMTF CIMI as an alternative to the ‘classic’ Deltacloud API, it became apparent that adding additional frontends could be done with very little efforts. The new EC2 frontend proves that this is even possible for API’s that are not RESTful. With that, Deltacloud allows clients that only know the EC2 API to talk to various backends, including OpenStack, vSphere, and oVirt.

The EC2 frontend supports the most commonly needed operations, in particular those necessary for finding an image, launching an instance off of it and managing that instance’s lifecycle. In addition, managing SSH key pairs is also supported. We hope to grow the coverage of the API in future releases to the point where the EC2 frontend is good enough to support the majority of uses.

The debate around the ‘right’ cloud IaaS API is heated and continues, especially around standards, and we still see the right answer to this debate in a properly standardized, broadly supported, and openly governed API such as DMTF’s CIMI — yet it is undeniable that EC2 is the front runner in this space, and that large investments into EC2’s API exist; it is Deltacloud’s mission to alleviate the resulting lockin, and the addition of the EC2 frontend allows users to experiment with different backend technologies while migrating off the EC2 API on their own pace.

One issue that the EC2 frontend brings to the forefront is just how unsuitable that API is for fronting different backend implementations: IaaS API’s that are designed for this purpose provide extensive capabilities for client discovery of various features. EC2 on the other hand provides no way for providers to advertise their deviation from EC2’s feature set, and no possibilities for clients to discover them.

CIMI frontend

We continue our quest to support the fledgling CIMI standard as broadly and as faithfully as possible. With this release, we introduce support for the CIMI networking API; for now only for the Mock driver, but we are looking to expand backend support for networking as clouds add the needed features for them.

Besides the core CIMI API, which is purely a RESTful XML and JSON API, work also continues on the simple human-consumable HTML interface for it; we’ve learned from designing the Deltacloud API and helping others using that API, that a web application that stays close to the API, but is easy to use for humans is an invaluable tool. With this release, that application can now talk to OpenStack, RHEV-M/oVirt, and EC2 via Deltacloud’s CIMI proxy.

Operational and code enhancements

With three frontends, it’s become even more urgent that the three frontends can be run from the same server instance to reduce the number of daemons that need to be babysat. Thanks to an extensive revamp of the guts of Deltacloud to turn it into a modular Sinatra app it is now possible to expose all three frontends (or only one or two) from the same server.

We now also base our RESTful routes and controllers on sinatra-rabbit — only fitting since sinatra-rabbit started life as the DSL we used inside Deltacloud for our RESTful routing and our controllers.

A lot of work has gone into rationalizing the HTTP status codes that Deltacloud returns, especially when errors occur; in the process, we learned quite a bit about just how fickle and moody vSphere can be.

Other drivers have seen major updates, not least of which the OpenStack driver, which now works against the OpenStack v2.0 API; in particular, it works against the HP cloud — with the EC2 frontend, Deltacloud provides a capable EC2 proxy for OpenStack. We’ve also added a driver for the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform, which was mostly written by Dies Köper of Fujitsu.

The release candidate for version 1.0.0 is out now, packages for, Fedora and other distributions will appear as soon as the release has passed the vote on the mailing list.

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