OpenStack has put out its eighth release of the open source platform for building cloud infrastructure, dubbed Havana, which it hopes will bring some heat to the technology.

The community of developers behind it says there are nearly 400 new features in the release, including orchestration and storage encryption.

Havana adds:

–Application-driven capabilities – OpenStack Orchestration, a template-driven service for describing and automating the deployment of compute, storage and networking resources for an application. In a news release OpenStack says the new global clusters feature for Object Storage enables organizations to cut costs and improve performance by replicating and delivering data around the world.  The new QoS capability across Block Storage drivers allows users to guarantee performance requirements for an application.  Docker support was also added to speed application deployment using containers;

–Improved operability – More functions have been exposed through the dashboard and the interfaces has been improved. Metering gives users a single source of usage data across OpenStack services for activities like enterprise chargebacks and feeding systems monitoring tools;

–More enterprise features – OpenStack continues to mature and support enterprise-driven features such as end-to-end encryption across all Block Storage drivers, SSL support across all service APIs, new VPN and Firewall-as-a-Service capabilities, and support for rolling upgrades and boot from volume, which provides the foundation for live migration.

“This is a very rich set of capabilities,” said Wayne Pauley, an industry analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. “I think this makes it (OpenStack) very useful from an enterprise point of view.”

Docker gives OpenStack VMware-like ability to move virtual workloads, he said, while metering lets IT departments offer IT-as-a-service. The storage changes will bring together various object stores so they can be seen as one.

While OpenStack still not as mature a product as some commercial offerings, he added, it has sufficient features now that enterprises can run workloads on it.

Click here to see a video demo of the new services

OpenStack competes against commercial cloud products like VMware’s vCloud Suite, Citrix CloudPlatform and Microsoft’s Windows Server/Systems Center. Linux distribution companies like Red Hat and Canonical also take OpenStack to make bundles that will run on their implementation of the open source operating system. A company called Mirantis, which builds OpenStack clouds for enterprises, has just released its own distribution

“If software development, managing data or running application infrastructure is strategic to your business, OpenStack is the platform that will accelerate time to value,”  Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, said in a news release. ”We’ve seen more users contribute directly to the Havana release than ever before. It means users are empowered and driving the direction of OpenStack based on their real-world use cases and implementations.”

OpenStack is backed by a number of leading IT companies including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Dell, and Linux distribution companies like Red Hat and Canonical. Given the interest in the platform, a number of tech companies make their products compatible with OpenStack.

Among the organizations using it is BestBuy U.S., on its new Web site. Others mentioned at the OpenStack Summit last April include U.S. cable operator Comcast, and the U.S. National Security Agency.

Asked what would make OpenStack a mature product, Pauley said it still isn’t clear how the suite will work in a hybrid environment. He also said its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities are rudimentary and it doesn’t have mobile endpoint management capabilities.

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