OpenStack Community Releases ‘Rocky’ Addressing Bare Metal Cloud Requirements

The OpenStack community has announced the release of Rocky – the 18th version of this OpenStack open source cloud infrastructure software. Among the dozens of enhancements provided in Rocky, two key highlights include: refinements to Ironic (the bare metal provisioning service) and fast forward upgrades.

OpenStack is an infrastructure platform designed for deployments of diverse hardware architectures, such as bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and containers. Next to Ironic refinements and fast forward upgrade, there are also several emerging projects and features designed to meet new user requirements for hardware accelerators, high availability configurations, serverless capabilities, and edge and internet of things (IoT) use cases.

The vast majority of enterprises would be running both VMs and containers to support emerging use cases like edge computing, network functions virtualization (NFV) and artificial intelligence (AI) /machine learning. Enterprises are starting to deploy containers directly on bare metal in addition to VMs, stated the OpenStack Foundation.

OpenStack Ironic

OpenStack bare metal clouds, powered by Ironic, would lay a foundation for this hybrid environment. OpenStack Ironic is bringing more sophisticated management and automation capabilities to bare metal infrastructure, and as a driver for Nova, allows for multi tenancy. This means that users can manage physical infrastructure the same way they are used to when managing VMs, especially with new Ironic features landed in Rocky:

  • User-managed BIOS settings – BIOS (basic input output system) performs hardware initialization and has many configuration options that support a variety of use cases when customized. Options can help users gain performance, configure power management options, or enable technologies like SR-IOV or DPDK. Ironic now lets users manage BIOS settings, supporting use cases like NFV and giving users more flexibility.
  • Conductor groups – In Ironic, the ‘conductor’ is what uses drivers to execute operations on the hardware. Ironic has introduced the ‘conductor_group’ property, which can be used to restrict what nodes a particular conductor (or conductors) have control over. This allows users to isolate nodes based on physical location, reducing network hops for increased security and performance.
  • RAM Disk deployment interface – A new interface in Ironic for diskless deployments. This is seen in large-scale and high performance computing (HPC) use cases when operators desire fully ephemeral instances for rapidly standing up a large-scale environment.

“OpenStack Ironic provides bare metal cloud services, bringing the automation and speed of provisioning normally associated with virtual machines to physical servers,” said Julia Kreger, principal software engineer at Red Hat and OpenStack Ironic project team lead. “This powerful foundation lets you run VMs and containers in one infrastructure platform, and that’s what operators are looking for.”

Additional highlights of OpenStack Rocky include:

  • Cyborg provides lifecycle management for accelerators like GPUs, FPGA, DPDK and SSDs. In Rocky, Cyborg introduces a new REST API for FPGAs – an accelerator seen in machine learning, image recognition and other HPC use cases – letting users dynamically change the functions loaded on an FPGA device.
  • Qinling is introduced in Rocky. Qinling (“CHEEN – LEENG”), a function-as-a-service (FaaS) project, delivers serverless capabilities on top of OpenStack clouds, allowing users to run functions on OpenStack clouds without managing servers, VMs or containers, while still connecting to other OpenStack services like Keystone.
  • Masakari, which supports high availability by providing automatic recovery from failures, expands its monitoring capabilities to include internal failures in an instance, such as a hung OS, data corruption or a scheduling failure.
  • Octavia, the load balancing project, adds support for UDP (user datagram protocol), bringing load balancing to edge and IoT use cases. UDP is the transport layer frequently seen in voice, video and other real-time applications.
  • Magnum, a project that makes container orchestration engines and their resources first-class resources in OpenStack, has become a Certified Kubernetes installer in the Rocky cycle. Passing these conformance tests would give users confidence that Magnum interacts with Kubernetes as it is expected to.
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