OpenStack addresses new demands for infrastructure driven by use cases including AI, machine learning, NFV and edge computing

The OpenStack community released Rocky, the 18th version of the widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software. The software now powers more than 75 public cloud data centers and thousands of private clouds at a scale of more than 10 million compute cores.

OpenStack is an infrastructure platform ideally suited to deployments of diverse hardware architectures—bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and containers.

Among the dozens of enhancements provided in Rocky, two updates includes refinements to Ironic (the bare metal provisioning service) and fast forward upgrades. 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 are 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.

OpenStack bare metal clouds, powered by Ironic, lay the foundation for this hybrid environment. Ironic is one of the fastest growing OpenStack projects.

OpenStack Ironic is bringing improved management and automation capabilities to bare metal infrastructure, and as a driver for Nova, allows for multi tenancy. That means users can manage physical infrastructure in the same way they are used to managing VMs, especially with new Ironic features landed in Rocky.

The 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.

With reference to the 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.

The RAM Disk deployment 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.”

“At Oath, OpenStack manages hundreds of thousands of bare metal compute resources in our data centers. We have made significant changes to our supply chain process using OpenStack, fulfilling common bare metal quota requests within minutes,” said James Penick, IaaS Architect at Oath. “We’re looking forward to deploying the Rocky release to take advantage of its numerous enhancements such as BIOS management, which will further streamline how we maintain, manage and deploy our infrastructure.”

The Fast Forward Upgrade (FFU) feature from the TripleO project is ready for prime time, all set to help users overcome upgrade hurdles and get on newer releases of OpenStack faster. The recent releases of OpenStack delivered a wealth of features to support the evolution in cloud use cases, but users on older versions miss out on these innovations.

Now FFU lets a TripleO user on Release “N” quickly speed through intermediary releases to get on Release “N+3” (the current iteration of FFU being the Newton release to Queens), gaining access to the ease-of-operations enhancements and novel developments like vGPU support present in Queens.


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