24th OpenStack Release Supports New Hardware Features, Adds Improved Integration

OpenStack is a well-known infrastructure platform for deployments of diverse architectures, including bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs), and containers. The 24th release of OpenStack, the Xena release, includes support for new hardware features, improved integration among components, and reduction of technical debt to maintain OpenStack’s stable and reliable core.

hoto Kendall Nelson, upstream developer advocate for OpenStack at the OpenInfra Foundation
“The OpenStack community continues to rank among the most actively developed open-source projects in the world, with over 130 changes merged per day on average,” said Kendall Nelson, upstream developer advocate for OpenStack at the OpenInfra Foundation.

The latest version of OpenStack arrives at a time when the OpenStack project is deployed in production more widely than ever. In the last 18 months, more than a hundred additional OpenStack clouds have been constructed, bringing to over 25,000,000 cores the total number of OpenStack cores. Organizations with deployments ranging from hundreds of cores to six million cores have logged considerable growth, according to the soon to be published 2021 OpenStack User Survey. This study will be released during the OpenInfra Live event held in November.

The enhancements delivered in the Xena release would underscore OpenStack’s highly flexible project integration capabilities. A key example is the integration of Cyborg, Neutron and Nova. In Xena, Nova merged a patch series that adds support for creating Nova servers with Neutron ports that are actually backed by PCI devices (SmartNICs) managed by Cyborg. This new feature would provide the same user experience of offloading network-related workload to a PCI device, but proposes a different operator experience by offering use of an external management service (Cyborg) to ease the configuration.

Additionally, Nova’s libvirt virt driver now supports any PCI devices, not just virtual GPUs, that are using the VFIO-mdev virtualization framework, such as network adapters or compute accelerators.

Xena delivers numerous other examples of integration among projects, including the following:

  • Blazar has added OpenStackClient support to python-blazarclient, allowing users to interact with Blazar using OpenStack reservation commands, which provides users with a similar command-line interface as when interacting with other OpenStack projects
  • Glance has added support for unified quotas using Keystone limits
  • OpenStack-Ansible, the most popular deployment tool (selected by 47% of OpenStack User Survey respondents), has added a role for Freezer deployment
  • Manila has significantly increased feature parity between the manila-client shell utility and the unified OpenStackClient, enhancing usability of the Shared File Systems API

Support for Advanced Hardware Features

Another prominent theme among Xena enhancements is support for advanced hardware features; Nova’s support for SmartNICs (as described above) leads a list of examples, including the following:

  • In Cinder, many current backend storage drivers now have added support for features exceeding the required driver functions, such as multiattach and the ability to take advantage of backend optimizations
  • Ironic delivers substantial API improvements in node list retrieval performance, support for boot_mode and secure_boot state visibility on a bare metal node, as well as the capability to set these states as API actions.
  • Production usage of Kolla among OpenStack User Survey respondents has increased from 17% in 2020 to 28% in 2021. In the Xena cycle, the Kolla team added integration with Hashicorp Vault for control plane secrets.
  • In Neutron, ECMP routes are now supported. Multiple routes with the same destination address are now consolidated into a single ECMP route.
  • In Manila, the NetApp driver has added support for petabyte scale file systems as well as support for ‘readable’ replication of shares alongside ‘DR’ (disaster recovery) style replication. Users can mount read-only copies of their shares provisioned across availability zones while still having read/write access to the primary share.

In addition, the Xena cycle was the occasion to buy back some technical debt accumulated during the previous releases of the platform. Notable examples would include:

  • Cinder – Cinder has removed the long-deprecated Block Storage API version 2.
  • Cyborg – Cyborg offers refactoring documentation structure including API docs, user guide and contributor guide.
  • Horizon – Horizon and all Horizon plugins now support nodejs14, which is the current LTS version of nodejs.
  • Neutron – Neutron has added a new quota driver—DbQuotaNoLockDriver. This driver does not create a unique lock per (resource, project_id). Such locks could lead to a database deadlock state if the number of server requests exceeds the number of resolved resource creations.
  • OpenStack-Ansible – OpenStack-Ansible now uses ceph-ansible 6.0 (Pacific), and the Ansible version has been updated to the ansible-core 2.11.

“Twenty-four releases in and we are still seeing a growing, vibrant, global community contributing to OpenStack,” said Kendall Nelson, upstream developer advocate for OpenStack at the OpenInfra Foundation. “The OpenStack community continues to rank among the most actively developed open-source projects in the world, with over 130 changes merged per day on average. OpenStack Xena showcases how successful community collaboration keeps the software robust and efficient, drives innovation to support emerging use cases, and continually delivers interoperability across projects and platforms.”

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