Even with the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the globe, the open source OpenStack cloud platform project was able to continue its unbroken 10-year string of new releases on May 13 with the launch of OpenStack Ussuri.
For those keeping count, OpenStack Ussuri is the 21st release of OpenStack since the platform debuted in July 2010, initially as a joint effort between Rackspace and NASA. The new release is the first in 2020 and follows OpenStack Train, which was released in October 2019.
As a mature and stable platform, OpenStack tends get new releases that advance incremental features, which is the case with Ussuri as well. OpenStack as a platform comprises multiple projects, including Nova compute, Ironic bare metal server management, Neutron networking and Keystone identity—among others that benefit from a series of advancements in the new update.
"Our 10-year history of working as a distributed team has been a really good experience that comes in handy now for just continuing to be productive and making progress," Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, told ITPro Today.
Nova Improves Compute Cells, Accelerator Support
Among the major enhancements in the Ussuri update to the open source cloud platform are a series of improvements to the Nova compute project. Within Nova there is a capability known as Cells that enables multiple Nova compute nodes to be aggregated and managed intelligently by a single Nova API. Two enhancements to Cells are cold migration and resizing support for Nova.
Because Cells may or may not share a common high-speed network backplane, there's a need to support cold migration, Bryce said. With cold migration, workloads can move from one Nova Cell deployment to another, but not in a real-time approach.
"You may be migrating a workload between physical locations where you just can't depend on a live migration working," he said.
Nova also benefits from tighter integration with the OpenStack Cyborg project that provides a management framework for different types of acceleration technologies including GPUs and ASICs, as well as storage and networking acceleration.
"You can now present those accelerators as devices within the virtual machines that Nova is managing," Bryce said. "What is new with this is a more holistic view of your fleet of accelerators and better and more powerful tools for management."
Increased utilization is driving the need to better integrate accelerators. Bryce said he's starting to see where OpenStack users are putting hundreds or even thousands of accelerators into their overall environments and, as such, they need a real management system for those assets.
Data Center Life Cycle Improvements
A number of features spread across multiple OpenStack Ussuri projects improve data center life cycle management. In some cases, Bryce said, there are OpenStack cloud deployments that have been in production for almost a decade.
"If you're running a cloud for that long, you're going to have a lot of transitions with your servers, network gear and storage devices across the data center," he said. "The capabilities we've added allow a cloud operator to basically handle all of that gracefully and within the system."
Stateless Security Comes to OpenStack
Also improved are stateless security groups, which are now supported with the Neutron networking project component of the open source cloud platform.
With stateless security groups, rather than organizing security groups around stateful workloads that are always running, more shorter-lived workloads and connections can also be grouped into a security policy.
"A lot of times, people think about stateless security for containers because you have so many more connections potentially, though the new feature in Neutron is not specifically for containers," Bryce said. "It definitely increases the performance and scale of security groups that are managed with Neutron."
Overall, OpenStack is looking beyond just providing a cloud platform to helping to enable a new era of intelligent open infrastructure.
"I think, if I were to summarize where we see the next few years, it's with an intelligent open infrastructure where the fabric is smarter," Mark Collier, chief operating officer at the OpenStack Foundation, told ITPro Today. "It has more self-healing capabilities as well as being more aware of unique hardware architectures, and of course the job is never done when it comes to security, so there will be continued investment to secure workloads."