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OpenStack Yoga stretches to support DPUs, more storage

Open Infrastructure Foundation boasts of growth, but observers note this is mostly existing users scaling up

OpenStack's 25th release brings the usual crop of new features to the open-source cloud platform, including support for DPUs, better integration with Prometheus and Kubernetes, and a handy un-delete feature for file system shares.

Available today, Yoga marks 12 years of development of the OpenStack framework, and while it may not have lived up to the early hype, the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OIF) was keen to talk up its success.

OpenStack now accounts for about 25 million CPU cores in production, OIF claims, up from the 15 million reported just last year. There have also been more than 100 new clouds added, with OpenStack used at more than 180 public cloud datacenters and in nine out of 10 telcos, according to the Open Infrastructure Foundation.

However, it appears that much of the increase in CPU cores is actually coming from existing OpenStack users. Seven organisations alone now account for over 1 million cores each, while China Mobile has apparently passed 6 million cores to power its 5G mobile network.

This seems to imply that OpenStack is growing through existing users scaling up their deployments more than new customers coming to the platform.

"OpenStack did have a wave of adoption a few years ago, but on the whole now seems to be more in maintenance mode than gaining more users," said Andrew Buss, Research Director for European Enterprise Infrastructure at IDC.

"The lack of further traction was due to OpenStack having an overly complicated initial installation, as well as often an overly cumbersome upgrade process from version to version."

According to Buss, many enterprises appear to be adopting more integrated cloud stacks, such as Microsoft's Azure Stack, Google Anthos, and VMware Cloud. Azure Stack and Anthos effectively provide a managed on-premises extension of the public cloud, which requires less maintenance effort and makes a hybrid cloud scenario simpler.

Among the new capabilities added in Yoga is support for SmartNICs or DPUs (data processing units), which continue to appear in some datacenters as an offload engine to take the burden of network handling away from the host system, especially in software-defined networks.

This was added into the Neutron network module with support for a remote-managed vNIC, allowing it to directly create network ports on SmartNICs such as those from Nvidia. The Nova compute module also adds support for network back-ends that use SmartNICs to offload control plane functions from the host server.

Neutron has a new feature called Local IP. This provides a virtual IP address that can be shared across virtual machines running within one single host node, and bypasses much of the network stack in order to cut latency, according to Thierry Carrez, Vice President of Engineering at the OpenStack Foundation.

"It's particularly adapted to high efficiency, high performance scenarios where you really need to squeeze every single bit per second of performance that you can," Carrez said. The feature is aimed at boosting performance of the network data plane for large-scale clouds, or those with high network throughput demands.

Cinder, OpenStack's block storage service, now has direct support for more storage systems, including Lightbits' LightOS NVMe-over-TCP platform, Toyou's NetStor Fibre Channel products and NEC Storage V series Fibre Channel and iSCSI support.

In the Manila file system service, file system shares can now be soft deleted into a recycle bin, where they will remain for a configurable period of time before finally being purged from the system. Up until then, shares can still be viewed and restored if necessary.

OpenStack integration with the Prometheus open-source monitoring tool was, as of this latest release, improved by the addition of listeners that expose a Prometheus exporter endpoint in the Octavia load balancing service. Kolla, which provides support for OpenStack services to be deployed in containers, adds support for deploying the Prometheus Libvirt exporter.

In other notable changes, the Ironic bare metal provisioning service has now switched its default deployment boot mode from BIOS to UEFI. In this release, binary images have been deprecated for Kolla, and users are advised to migrate to source-based images as support for binary images will be removed in the next OpenStack release.

One interesting snippet from the Open Infrastructure Foundation is that the BBC was apparently the seventh largest contributor of code for the new OpenStack Yoga release.

Meanwhile, OpenStack's Open Infrastructure Summit shindig also returns as an in-person gathering this year after being an online-only event for the past two years because of the pandemic.

The summit will be held at the Berlin Congress Center on June 7-9, but looks set to be a pale shadow of its former self. The Open Infra Foundation is expecting about 1,000 attendees compared with over 7,500 who attended the event in Austin, Texas in 2016. ®

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