OpenStack Developers Ditch ‘Buggy’ Microsoft Hyper-V Support

The OpenStack open source cloud project will push Microsoft’s Hyper-V out of its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) framework, blaming poor support from Microsoft.  OpenStack Cloud-building software.

OpenStack, launched in 2010, aims to offer open surce cloud services. Its code review team decided to drop Hyper-V yesterday and a patch has already been developed and approved to remove existing code.  Hyper-V can now only be available within OpenStack as a plug-in – if Microsoft chooses to commit resources to developing it.

Borderline functional

The issue blew up last Friday in a forum comment by Thierry Carrez, an OpenStack release manager, who suggested that Hyper-V support code should be removed from the next release of the framework. On the OpenStack Launchpad developer forum , Carrez described the Hyper-V support as being “broken and unmaintained”.

OpenStack has three elements: Nova, the compute module; Glance, the image service; and Swift controlling object storage. All three modules have now been “feature frozen” ready for the final debugging and testing as part of Essex, the next release of OpenStack due in March.

Carrez is overseeing the Essex project and suggested now was the time to remove the deadwood from the code.

“Just as Nova enters feature freeze, it sounds like a good moment to consider removing deprecated, known-buggy-and-unmaintained or useless feature code from the Essex tree, “ he wrote.

In reply, Ken Pepple, director of cloud development at Internap Network Services, wrote: “”Hyper-V support is missing support for even the most basic functions – volumes, Glance, several network managers, etc. We investigated it for our service, but found it only borderline functional.”

Having its code removed from OpenStack will be inconvenient for Microsoft. Several of its partners, notably Dell and HP, actively support the OpenStack project which is now in use at service providers including Internap.

Windows servers are often a key part of a cloud infrastructure and several competing hypervisors are compatible with the operating system – the lack of connecting code could damage Microsoft’s contender, Hyper-V, which already faces massive competition from VMware, Citrix and others.

It is also a time when the Openstack initiative is gathering momentum and is set to finally break its ties with founders NASA and Rackspace Hosting to become the OpenStack Foundation sometime this year.

On hearing OpenStack’s intentions, Microsoft took notice and a company statement was issued: “Microsoft is committed to working with the community to resolve the current issues with Hyper-V and OpenStack.”

The only way into Essex

With under two months to the release date, Microsoft would have had little time to update the code and the open source development team were concerned that any changes Microsoft made would break other systems and delay the release. The only way into Essex would have meant some serious V-jazzling of the code.

In Carrez’s thread on the forum, he later revealed stronger feelings about Microsoft support, “Note that Hyper-V support, if fixed, can still reappear as an externally-maintained plugin or branch… This is not a technology choice, this is about maintainability in the core project. Since random developers can’t fix it, I don’t think it belongs to core code, especially as history proved that nobody really maintains it and keeps it up to date with new features. “

He is referring to the fact that initial enthusiasm from Microsoft to support the project in October 2010, three or four months after its launch, appears to have waned. Microsoft appointed to supply and maintain the code but apparently little or nothing has been done to maintain or improve the code since the OpenStack Bexar release in April, 2011.

“I prefer to remove [Hyper-V support] rather than shipping it broken (or in an unknown state),” Carrez said.

Why Microsoft became so distracted possibly has to do with Citrix’s acquisition of Cloud .com in July, 2011. Citrix XenServer hypervisor is a direct competitor of Hyper-V so perhaps the ownership change of was seen as a threat.

As the developers were writing the removal code, Microsoft made a last-ditch attempt to buy time. The change documentation covering the approval process records core reviewer Joshua McKenty issuing a “do not submit” message to the developers. The reason was given as: “I’m on the phone with Microsoft right now, can we hold for a week and give them a chance to commit some resources for E4 [OpenStack Release 4 (Essex)]?”

A little later he approved the submitted code, commenting, “Ah, never mind. They really don’t care.”

Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

View Comments

  • Anything Microsoft is bad. They only are trying to further their own interests. They should never, ever be allowed to touch the Linux kernel. If they do, they should be sued, just like they try to do against Linux.

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