Hot on the heels of the latest iteration of OpenStack hitting general availability, Akanda Inc. is releasing an upgrade to its complementary network orchestration service that promises to greatly improve the efficiency and reliability of production deployments. Backing up that lofty claim is a case study from one of the oldest names in the public cloud.
What is now known as Project Astara started its life a few years ago at DreamHost after its engineers found commercial network virtualization technologies inadequate for their latest undertaking: A managed OpenStack service accessible enough for everyday developers. Channeling the experience gained from building Ceph, a storage engine for the framework that was spun out a few months prior, the company created its own network orchestration stack to meet the requirements of the new offering, and thus Astara was born.
Its creators followed in the footsteps of their peers from the storage department around the same time the latter sold their commercial distribution of Ceph to Red Hat Inc. for $175 million and have been working to make the project more viable for use by traditional enterprises ever since. The latest Liberty release of Astara, touted as the biggest since launch, represents a major step foward towards that goal.
The centralized orchestration capabilities that set the engine apart from the competition have been enhanced to provision network resources much quicker, preparing the necessary infrastructure beforehand to reduce the wait. Astara now applies that concept to backup too, allowing organizations to have their secondary machines ready to take over the reins from the production deployment on a moment’s notice to cut downtime after outages.
Complementing that functionality is the addition of compatibility with NGINX and the NGINX Plus commercial distribution, which in turn matches Astara’s high-availability support to ensure the load balancing component of an organization’s orchestration infrastructure can withstand failures as well. It’s joined by integration with Cumulus Networks Inc.’s namesake overlay that fills in yet another piece of the management puzzle, rounding out the upgrade.