OpenStack Pike release bites hard on microservices and scale

Project tries to move on to lifecycle management rather than initial setup

With the release of OpenStack Pike, the OpenStack Foundation has focussed on making the foundational software-defined networking environment look more digestible and better-suited to the world of microservices that's grown up around it.

Speaking to The Register about the release, OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce says users have grown accustomed to thinking of OpenStack as a single creature.

If that were true once, it is no longer: OpenStack is “made up of a number of different services providing access to compute, storage, networking, bare metal, data centre functions”, he explained.

In parallel with OpenStack's development, Bryce added, technologies like Kubernetes, Docker, OpenFlow and TensorFlow have emerged and matured, and Bryce said users want to tie-in their OpenStack environments with those kinds of technologies.

Hence the “composability” that the foundation has given prominence in the Pike release: it's a way to make it easier to use those services.

The Ironic bare metal service is easier to integrate with Cinder block storage and Neutron networking. Cinder can now be broken out as a standalone storage service for virtual machines, bare metal systems, or Docker/Kubernetes containers.

Ironic now plugs directly into Neutron networking, which the foundation says is important for multi-tenant cloud offerings.

Cinder block storage is enhanced with a “revert to snapshot” feature for better data recovery; and storage volumes can be expanded without admins having to shut down VMs.

The second “big theme” Bryce said influenced Pike reflects a more mature attitude to deployment. “The focus has shifted from 'how do you install OpenStack to build your initial cloud?' to 'how do you run your cloud over its lifetime?'”

Users are now more concerned with lifecycle issues – “how you scale it out, upgrade it, manage failures – things that happen in the lifecycle of a cloud”.

Treating OpenStack as a collection of microservices, Bryce said, lets users create their cloud more efficiently; and when it comes time to upgrade, the microservice model lets the admin run rolling updates with A/B testing.

The two key tools for wrangling OpenStack containers are Kolla and Helm.

Kolla became more popular among developers contributing to the Pike release, with 19 per cent more contributors compared to the OpenStack Octata release. Helm (a package management utility for Kubernetes) now ranks as a “complete lifecycle technology for OpenStack services”, Bryce said.

Goodbye, Python 2

The OpenStack development community also has its eye on the coming deprecation of the Python 2.x language series. While that's still some way off (it's due in 2020), there's a lot of code to replace.

Bryce praised the ability of OpenStack's thousands of developers to get Pike ready for Python 3.5, telling El Reg “users know they're not going to have a massive technical debt, running processes that depend on a deprecated language."

“That's most important to users in regulated industries, they have to prove what they're doing is secure, manageable, and using the proper standards.”

Other high points of the Pike release include enhancements to Nova Cells v2; the rollout of etcd v3 as OpenStack's distributed lock management solution; and its Swift object storage now supports globally distributed erasure codes, to allow individual regions to function if a multi-region network is down, and to ensure failures in one region can recover using a remote region.

Bryce noted that Cells v2 is an ongoing work-in-progress, because big clouds aren't static. The continuing challenge for OpenStack's largest users are how to scale clouds to very large sizes – “hundreds or thousands of physical servers”.

“The questions change with every release cycle”, he explained.

“Cells v2 is a fundamental re-architecture of how you scale a virtualization environment.

“You can never build a single, massive virtualized environment that will be as big as everybody needs, so you need to scale it in reasonable chunks.”

And not everyone looks at those chunks the same way – for one network it might be about how many IP addresses are in the environment, for another it's about physical machines, for another it's the number of VMs.

The idea in Cells v2, Bryce said, is that the user can segment their virtual environments, and each segment is aware of the others so they can “talk to each other intelligently”.

“That's been in progress for about a year and a half, and there's probably … years to come.”

Pike's focus, Bryce said, is to expose functionality for horizontal scaling: “Every OpenStack Nova instance starts from the beginning as a Nova Cell, and you have the ability to add additional Nova cells into that environment, scaling horizontally and balancing across it”.

That's been a huge effort in the OpenStack community, he said. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022