The OpenStack community has just made available the fifteenth release of OpenStack, codenamed Ocata. With Ocata, OpenStack delivers a release with increased focus on stability and maturity at a point in time when companies are getting very comfortable with placement of workloads across public and private clouds, and also realizing significant cost savings from private cloud-based applications compared to classical IT solutions. These improvements are quite timely as OpenStack enjoyed a twenty percent increase in production deployments over the previous year.

OpenStack Focuses on Being a Unifying Platform, NFV Support, and Cross-Community Collaboration

In the Ocata release, OpenStack put strong emphasis on strengthening its role as a unifying platform, improved NFV support, and increased outreach efforts in the area of cross-community collaboration.

Unifying Platform
OpenStack continues to serve as a single platform that can orchestrate bare metal, containers and virtual machines on a single network. These features allow users to optimize their applications while avoiding the creation of more silos in their datacenter and also gives service providers a greater breadth of capabilities. IBMers contributed to these efforts, particularly in the bare metal project (Ironic) where we added support for composable driver interfaces that allow for easier driver creation and underlying component selection. In addition, IBMers contributed to volume connection and storage substrate for booting bare metal hardware from storage systems such as the OpenStack Block Storage Service (Cinder).

NFV Support
OpenStack continues to get increased adoption in the telecommunications industry and it has responded by continuing to improve its Network Function Virtualization (NFV) support. In the Ocata release, OpenStack made significant improvements to command line interfaces to on board Network Services Descriptors (NSDs) using the TOSCA Simple Profile for NFV. This new capability creates multiple related Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) using a single TOSCA template. As part of this effort, IBM continued to lead the development of the OpenStack Heat-Translator and TOSCA-Parser projects to ensure OpenStack’s NFV project (Tacker) is able to enable NFV deployments based upon TOSCA workloads to OpenStack Clouds. As we have been informed by Sridhar Ramaswamy of Brocade, the Tacker PTL for the Ocata, “TOSCA-Parser and Heat-Translator are the heart that keeps Tacker alive!”

Cross-Community Collaboration
The OpenStack Community is keenly aware of the benefits and synergies that are possible between OpenStack and several other popular cloud related open source projects. In the Ocata release OpenStack continued to provide improved integration with projects such as Kubernetes, Docker, Mesos, Cloud Foundry, OPNFV and many others. For example, OpenStack’s container project (Magnum) now supports Mesos DC/OS and Kubernetes as cluster types. Moreover, its Docker container enablement project (Fuxi) now allows OpenStack block storage and shared filesystem services to be used as a unified persistence storage providers for Docker container, virtual machine, and baremetal.

Ocata Release Themes: Stability, Manageability, User Experience, and Interoperability

The main themes of the Ocata release are stability, manageability, user experience, and interoperability. IBM was proud to be a strong contributor to this release. IBM ranked #4 out of 198 companies with over 2,000 commits, almost 10,000 reviews, 273,000 lines of code, and over 340 defects fixed. We also had three contributors who were among the top ten contributors to Ocata. The following sections highlight many of the new features of Ocata added by the community and we also describe some key contributions by IBMers.

Stability Enhancements
With a shorter than normal release cycle, the Ocata release took the opportunity to focus on improving the stability of OpenStack. IBM contributors made significant contributions to these efforts in several projects. In the OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) project, IBMers contributed to Cinder’s desire to delivery a stability release focused on improving quality. For example, IBMers initiated and led the newly formed Cinder Testing Working Group. As a result of this effort new functional and QA tests were delivered that improved the testing of bootable volumes, snapshot management, retyping and migration, and volume backup. For the OpenStack Compute project (Nova), IBMers improved the reliability of OpenStack Nova on zKVM by delivering and maintaining a continuous integration system for testing that type of environment. This was in addition to our efforts to release a virtualization driver for running OpenStack Nova with the PR/SM hypervisor of IBM z systems and IBM LinuxOne machines.”

Manageability Enhancements
The OpenStack community made numerous Manageability enhancements in the Ocata release. OpenStack’s project for containerized deployment of its control plane (Kolla) recently added Kubernetes support. OpenStack’s Block Storage project (Cinder) added active/active high availability interfaces. Furthermore, IBMers contributed to improving the management of OpenStack by implementing OpenStack’s placement engine and API as well as adding rolling upgrade support to OpenStack’s Image Service (Glance). IBMers also added support to OpenStack’s Identity Management Service (Keystone) that allows expired tokens to be validated. This new capability ensures that long running operations in OpenStack don’t fail due to timeouts.

User Experience Enhancements
Overall user experience has made important strides in the Ocata release. Support was added to OpenStack’s dashboard (Horizon) for keystone-to-keystone federation and also to security and access user interfaces. Additionally, support has been added to OpenStack’s Identity Management Service (Keystone) that performs federated identity automatic provisioning whereby Keystone automatically creates a new project and assigns a federated user role upon succesful authentication. IBMers contributed to improving OpenStack’s User Experience by providing new community images in OpenStack’s Image Service (Glance) that give end users an easy way to share images with all other users in a cloud and also provide visibility changes that make it much more clear who has access to an image. Furthermore, IBMers delivered a “nova-status upgrade check” command line interface and integrated it into OpenStack’s upgrade continuous integration jobs. This tool provides operators a mechanism with which they can check the readiness of their Nova deployment prior to upgrading to Ocata.

Interoperability Enhancements
Interoperability continues to be a critical focus area for OpenStack and there have been lots of improvements in this area. The OpenStack RefStack project, which provides a toolset for testing interoperability between OpenStack clouds, has added several new features in the latest release. In Ocata, IBMers led the RefStack effort and added to RefStack the ability to mark and identify test results used for trademark validation by the OpenStack Foundation. In addition, user interface improvements that provided more detailed test result tables as well as the ability to create product versions were also completed.

During the Ocata release, IBMer’s continued to lead the OpenStack Interoperability Challenge. The goal of this cross-community effort is to demonstrate interoperability of OpenStack cloud environments through the deployment and execution of several sample enterprise workloads across multiple vendor’s OpenStack clouds. Building upon the momentum generated at the keynote presentation at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona, the Interoperability Challenge Team decided to move forward with a second phase of the challenge. For the second phase, the Interoperability Challenge team has moved on to testing new workloads such as Kubernetes and NFV applications. For an update on these activities you will have to wait until the OpenStack Summit Boston.


OpenStack Interoperability Challenge Barcelona Summit Keynote
OpenStack Interoperability Challenge Barcelona Summit Keynote


Join Us at OpenStack Summit Boston

As I write this articIBM-Sponsors-Boston-Summitle I am attending the OpenStack Project Team Gathering where the OpenStack development community is working on priorities for the upcoming release cycle. There are lots of exciting things happening and if you want to learn more I encourage you to attend the next OpenStack Summit in Boston, May 8-11. Please come join us.

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