Mirantis OpenStack Express 2.0 Debuts

This week, Mirantis debuted the 2.0 version of Mirantis OpenStack Express (MOX), our OpenStack Private-Cloud-as-a-Service, first introduced in June. The accelerated release cadence: from 1.0 ‒ which was based on OpenStack Havana ‒ to 1.5 a few weeks later, and now to Icehouse-based 2.0, catches MOX up with core OpenStack release cycles, and gets it in step with major releases of Mirantis OpenStack, the flagship distro on which MOX is based.

Ron Pagani, Jr., Mirantis OpenStack Express Product Manager, put it this way: “OpenStack is evolving faster than ever. By design, we can leverage MOX’s minimal, bare-metal, Private-Cloud-as-a-Service architecture and Fuel deployment to keep the service in pretty close sync with Community OpenStack, and with the Mirantis OpenStack private cloud experience.”

That’s important, since OpenStack’s rapid pace of innovation is a powerful motivator ‒ both for committed users who look to OpenStack to realize visions of greater agility, and for new converts looking for the perfect time to jump on board (which is always “right now”). Clearly, “jumping on board” is a great use-case for Mirantis OpenStack Express. For many customers, MOX is a pure speed play: they want a private, production-grade OpenStack cloud right now, while waving away the complexity, capital investment and delays of building it themselves. But they also want today’s OpenStack — which is what MOX 2.0 delivers: complete with the latest fixes, host OS/guest OS and hypervisor options, migration tools, iterations of special projects, and with upstream support: both by a community that’s mission-driven to kick out two releases every year, and backed by Mirantis own deep bench of OpenStack and MOS/Fuel-focused development and integration expertise and support capacity.

New Features in MOX 2.0

Short release cycles, of course, change any ‘new version intro’ from revolutionary to evolutionary. Many of MOX 2.0’s new features are under the hood: they include the latest Icehouse upgrades, feature stabilization, bugfixes and improved configurational hardening. But there’s also plenty of change that’s apparent ‒ starting from the first moment you browse to http://express.mirantis.com. Here’s a rundown:

  • Icehouse Improvements: With the upgrade to Icehouse come:

    • Improvements to the Horizon interface (better left-hand menus, etc.)

    • Support for Heat service orchestration and auto-scaling

    • Upgrades to Neutron networking, block storage, and Nova-compute

    • Plus, over 345 more improvements and innumerable bugfixes.

  • Murano Baked In: Mirantis OpenStack Express 2.0 comes with the OpenStack Special Project Murano, baked in. Murano is an application catalog/Platform-as-a-service system for rapid (even self-) service of web application execution environments, developer environments, etc. Apps are compiled into packages, defined by YAML scripts, and can be managed via the Murano menus in Horizon: added to environments and deployed to prepared server images, of which several examples (Ubuntu and Cirros) are provided, along with a range of basic app packages to get you started. Beyond the obvious use-cases, developers can use Murano in MOX to experiment with prototyping self-service application packages before deploying to production systems.

  • Flexible High Availability: Choosing high availability for initial cloud deployment no longer compels allocating three controllers (for active-active-standby) from the start. Mirantis Openstack Express 2.0 can install HA software (e.g., HAproxy, RabbitMQ, etc.) on even a single controller, so you can obtain full HA functionality later by scaling to three or more, without having to delete and redeploy your cloud.

  • Pre-Loaded Boot Images: Whether  you consider it a ‘fit and finish’ feature or acknowledge the time savings, Mirantis OpenStack Express 2.0 comes with a range of preconfigured standard boot images for latest-model Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, including several with a pre-installed Murano agent, making it possible to demonstrate Murano, end-to-end, with just a few clicks. There’s also a provided image with a pre-installed Sahara agent (Project Sahara, formerly called Savanna, is OpenStack Hadoop-as-a-Service for dynamic Big Data analysis)  though Sahara itself must be deployed to a new cluster manually or (preferably) via the Fuel Wizard tab for Special OpenStack Projects.

  • Faster Access to Tools: Once you’re in the system, you can see that the OpenStack Express toplevel web dashboards have been redesigned to provide critical info at a glance (e.g., total servers, geographic location of your data center, network info, etc.), and facilitate access to tools, secured by a new SSL proxy setup. Links to the open source Fuel deployment system (Project Fuel was initiated by Mirantis to automate Mirantis OpenStack deployment, management and scaling, and is used in MOX to configure and deploy new clouds on your servers, manage, reconfigure, rescale and/or retire them) and to the Horizon console for each of your live clusters are offered, along with reminders of user/pass credentials. Also offered is the public IP address and SSH login (with user/pass) for your Fuel Master Node, which can be used to retrieve an already-in-place private key and node-name list that lets  you leapfrog to your Controller, Nova, and other nodes as root, to access and change configuration files and make direct use of OpenStack command-line scripts.

  • Time to Value – Now Measured in Seconds: Getting to a working cloud with Mirantis OpenStack Express is even faster than before. New users are now greeted with a minimal sign-up form, and can log into their cloud data center moments later to begin their free, one-week trial. .OpenStack Express also accepts activation codes in lieu of payment methods. These can be requested from Mirantis customer advocacy team to extend a trial or broaden an evaluation (explore different configurations in parallel, etc.)

Existing MOX users’ clouds will (of course) not be disturbed by the upgrade, and will continue to work and be accessible via the original MOX/Havana Horizon interface.

To learn more, visit https://express.mirantis.com or attend one of our upcoming live MOX demos!

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