OpenStack Rocky Boosts Cloud Deployment on Bare Metal

The OpenStack Foundation is out with its 18th release, highlighting a fast forward feature that not all operators will actually end up using.

OpenStack Rocky map

The OpenStack Foundation announced the general availability of its Rocky release on Aug. 30, providing new capabilities for both private and public cloud operators.

Among the highlights of the OpenStack Rocky release are improvements to the "Ironic" project's bare metal provisioning service as well as enhancements that enable organizations to migrate to newer versions of OpenStack faster.

The so-called "Fast Forward Upgrades" capability enables operators to advance more than one OpenStack update at a time. Typically OpenStack clouds had to be updated from one version to the next sequential version. With an update cycle of every six months, that wasn't always easy or practical for large cloud operators.

Rocky is the 18th release of the OpenStack platform since it was first launched in 2010 by NASA and Rackspace. The Rocky update is the second OpenStack update for 2018 and follows the Queens milestone that became available on Feb. 28. OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder effort and while the OpenStack Foundation itself has chosen to highlight fast forward upgrades as a key feature for Rocky, not all OpenStack distribution vendors are endorsing the new feature.

"Fast forward updates are not really that interesting to us as SUSE already has non-disruptive upgrades,"  T. R. Bosworth, senior product manager, SUSE OpenStack Cloud, told eWEEK. "One of the prerequisites to the Fast Forward upgrade is to take the control plane down, which our customers cannot tolerate."

Boswoth also noted that Fast Forward upgrades rely on the OpenStack TripleO project, which SUSE does not use for deployments. The TripleO project is an effort backed and originally developed by SUSE rival Red Hat.

"For Red Hat, our customers want to balance stability and the need to accelerate the pace of innovation, and with Rocky we are getting improvements in fast forward upgrades as well as bare metal support," Anandeep Pannu, Senior Principal Product Manager at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "The Rocky cycle builds on capabilities released in Queens for fast forward upgrades as part of the TripleO project, including more testing and validations, hardening the procedure, and reducing the upgrade time frames."

Improvements in the OpenStack Ironic service

Among the improvements in the Ironic bare metal service for OpenStack are user-managed BIOS settings. The BIOS (basic input output system) is essential to bare metal hardware functionality and can now be controlled from within the Ironic system, providing operators with more capabilities to get the most out of hardware.

An increasingly common approach for high-performance workloads is to not use disks, but rather to deploy the entire workload in-memory to maximize performance. With the new RAM Disk deployment interface in Ironic, operators can now make use of diskless, in-memory hardware deployments for OpenStack cloud workloads.

Security is also getting some attention in the new OpenStack update. OpenStack Rocky also has added a key security capability to the Glance image service. Application images stored in Glance can now be protected with a secure cryptographic hash to be to verify integrity of an image. 

The Rocky release also marks the 1.0 debut of the new OpenStack Qinling project, which is a Function-as-a-Service, also referred to as a "Serverless" framework. Qinling makes use of the Kubernetes container orchestration system for containers that run on OpenStack clouds to enable the serverless application deployment.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.