Is it you, CloudStack? 4.14 unites new and old infra with Kubernetes and VM ingestion support

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Apache CloudStack 4.14 is now available for download, with a freshly dusted UI, a backup and recovery framework, and most importantly, some enhancements that open the project for Kubernetes and older infrastructure, making it more future-proof.

The infrastructure as a service platform has been around for a while already, having joined the Apache Incubator in 2012 and graduating to top-level status the following year. Since then, its promise of compute orchestration, network-as-a-service capabilities, user and account management, and resource accounting, convinced companies like BT, Apple, Autodesk, Citrix Systems, Disney, Nokia, and SAP to join the CloudStack user base.

To make sure the years don’t show on the project’s “first-class” user interface, the CloudStack team recently started to rework the latter with the result now available as a preview feature. “This presents a new, ‘enterprise feel’ user experience and is earmarked to replace the current UI,” said the project’s VP, Sven Vogel, in the announcement. “We are encouraging all Cloudstack users to explore the Technical Preview and give feedback to the community.” 

However, the most interesting changes of the release only get apparent during a more thorough look at the platform. CloudStack for example is now able to discover, on-board, and import virtual machines. Along with this addition are two new APIs – listUnmanagedInstances and importUnmanagedInstances – which list all unmanaged virtual machines for a given cluster and provide import functionality. 

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For now, VM ingestion only works for VMware, though its foundation allows for a future extension to support KVM and XenServer as well. Another VM related feature that made its way into the CloudStack 4.14 release is a backup and recovery framework for backing up guest VMs, “in case they suffer a hardware or software issue with their instances or the underlying infrastructure.”

Those unencumbered by legacy components will surely be interested to learn that the CloudStack team also added a Kubernetes Service plugin to give “operators the ability to deliver CaaS or K8aaS style services with no change to underlying infrastructure or business process.” Once enabled by an admin in the global settings, the plugin allows users to run containerised services on Kubernetes clusters. 

The additions seem like a good call to keep the platform going. After all, it could prevent those investigating containerisation, which many are doing, to leave the platform for something more cutting edge, while also taking better care of those who can’t leave their old setups behind.

According to the release notes, CloudStack 4.14 is planned as an LTS release, meaning it will receive fixes for twenty months. Additional details can be found in the project’s documentation.

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