The Essex release has a strong focus on cloud stability as a result of a release cycle change to allow for more quality assurance time. The OpenStack Diablo release came out in September 2011 after a six-month release cycle. With Essex, it was again a six-month release cycle, but the QA time was tripled and the feature freeze was moved to to six weeks before the release to allow extra time for stabilizing.
“We really expanded the QA cycle out in Essex to make thing solid and stable, coming out of this release cycle,” Jonathan Bryce, chairman of the Project Policy Board for OpenStack told InternetNews.com. “As result, people have been much happier with the state of where things are.”
Among the key innovations in the Essex release is the Horizon OpenStack Dashboard, which provides both administrator and self-service user functionality. The Essex release marks the first full integration of the Dashboard into the OpenStack project.
“As an administrator, you can log in and get the overall picture of your cloud and see the resources that are available and what has been provisioned,” Bryce said. “Users can log into Dashboard to provision their own virtual machines, networking and block storage devices.”
The Dashboard is also connected to the OpenStack Keystone Identity service which in the Essex release becomes the default identity engine for OpenStack. Keystone now provides authentication across the core OpenStack components.